Gil Shaham-Comments&Opinions

October 10, 2004 at 05:13 AM · I've decided to dedicate this discussion to Gil Shaham, who I feel deserves some space of his own on this board. I first learned of him when I listened to the 4 Vivaldi Seasons CD that he performed along with Orpheus. He is the only violinist I have known who can sweep me off my feet with his style of play time and time again. I sense that he has much respect and demand on the violin. He never ceases to amaze me with the brilliantly colorful portrayal of all the music he plays.

Maybe it's just me, but I think there's a special synergy between Gil and the "Countess Polignac" Stradivarius he posesses. Based on only the cover of that CD, it looks as though he uses Dominats with the typical Gold Label E (or is it a Larsen E), but I'm not sure. Does anyone know for sure? I'm interested in what you have to say, opinions and facts alike.

Replies (100)

October 10, 2004 at 10:31 AM · He is amazing and his Saint Saens 3 recording is outstanding. So articulate, so perfect, such a sweet tone...

October 10, 2004 at 03:28 PM · Gil Shaham is a great guy, and very friendly.

He has such a beautiful tone and is so articulate; although, he does put a tad too much emotion into his playing.

When I met him, he said he does use dominants. I am positive that he uses a gold label E..

His Strad does have an odd history. When I met him, he told me that rumor said that one of Ben Franklin's mistresses owned the violin for a short period.. Too me, this rises questions on which one of Ben Franklin's mistresses owned the Strad!! hehe

October 10, 2004 at 07:27 PM · "although, he does put a tad too much emotion into his playing."

what? how do you do that?

i think he is a great player, a couple of his recordings i dont like, but his sibelius..wow, absolutely phenomonal

October 10, 2004 at 08:03 PM · Speaking of, I just saw a concert of him play the Brahms with the Berlin Phil a few days ago. He did really awesome. Before that, I haven't heard much of his stuff and I was really impressed. Then my friend let me borrow his Sibelius/Tchaikovsky CD and I really like the way he plays them both. Sometimes his shifts don't work but that's OK. Over all, he's one of my favorites and I like him better than Vengerov, Midori, Chang, etc.

October 10, 2004 at 08:36 PM · I recently saw his video of the Carmen Fantasy and I was really blown away. His playing is really and truly great!

October 10, 2004 at 11:01 PM · Gil Shaham has been discussed many times, in his own seperate topic, but I don't mind praising him all the time. He is a wonderful violinist, and I once said his Brahms was surprisingly good, meaning that I expected it to be good, but it was even better than good. It was great. He is one of my favourite violinist, who almost never forces his tone, and plays with lots of passion. His phrasing always makes sense, and is interesting and engaging. The only recording I don't like of his is the Mendelssohn Concerto.

October 11, 2004 at 05:12 AM · My favorite Shaham recording is "American Scenes," with Andre Previn. It's so fun; a twist on the usual repertoire (includes Previn's sonata for violin/piano, Gershwin preludes, Copland something), lyrical, and memorable.

October 11, 2004 at 05:15 AM · I love Shaham's playing! It is so inspiring. I think the reason why I like it is because it is so clean, articulate, and musical. I especially like his Prokofiev CD.

October 11, 2004 at 11:54 PM · I have one of his cds "Devil's Dance" and I think it's great, especially the Danse Macabre. He plays with such force and emotion, almost as if he's witnessing what he's playing. It's wonderful.

Sara

October 12, 2004 at 09:51 PM · Anybody know when he began the violin?

October 13, 2004 at 10:24 AM · I believe he started on the violin aged 7. That would have been around 1978.

Incidentally, he put out a very good Faure CD last year under his new label, Canary Classics. He is about to release a Prokofiev CD under the same label.

Lets not forget his sister Orli is an excellent pianist in her own right and she accompanies him in this new CD I believe.

A good interview with Gil and Orli Shaham and some playing here:

http://www.npr.org/programs/pt/4a/shahams.html

And I should add I have to agree about other people's comments regarding the synergy with his particular instrument. He certainly does produce a very unique sound with it.

January 16, 2005 at 05:15 AM · I think he had an interview with The Strad magazine end of last year. It was once published in the classicalmusicworld website, but not anymore. Anyone happen to know the link of that article? Thx!

January 16, 2005 at 05:52 AM · I think he's one of the 10 best players in the world today. A distinct personality, and a wonderful violinist.

January 16, 2005 at 06:17 AM · I think he's great. His Copland duo recordings with Previn are nothing short of inspiring.

January 16, 2005 at 04:52 PM · His playing is so clean and elegant. He was my first favorite player. When I was in ninth grade all my friends had crushes on Justin Timberlake (or whoever the pop icon at the time was... I never really kept track). Anyway, my celebrity crush was Gil Shaham. I went to see him play with the Cleveland Orchestra and then talked to him afterwards. My hands were shaking and I told him that his playing was an inspiration to me and he said, "You're so sweet" and touched my right arm. The next day I was practicing and I had so much more control in my bow arm. It was The Gil Shaham Miracle.

Jenna

January 16, 2005 at 05:09 PM · i totally love his sound, very expressive and eloquent vibrato

at times he can be lacking attack but he is one of my favorite players

cds i liked

sibelius/tchaik (wow)

korngold concerto

kabalevsky concerto

barberconcerto

devils dance

dvorak sonatas

paganini sonatas

prokofiev concertos / solo sonata

cds i didnt like

paganini/saint saens

wieniawski concertos

bland

bruch/mendelssohn

brahms concerto - havent made my mind up about the double yet

January 16, 2005 at 05:55 PM · I went to hear Gil Shaham play several years ago at the Dorothy Chandler, and the next day I was able to observe a masterclass led by him at the Colburn Schol in LA (California). Wonderful personality! Very friendly, inspiring, had a lot of good comments for the students who played for him... And I'll never forget how (during his own performance) when he hit an especially energetic spot in the music, he literally began to "dance" around the stage (he was playing with only a pianist, so he had room!) He was so vibrant and commanding in his performance! =)

January 16, 2005 at 07:49 PM · Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this thread. I had thought that Shaham's playing was sloppy and schmaltzy, but I'll listen to him some more and reconsider.

January 16, 2005 at 08:44 PM · scott please name a better recording of the wieniawski 1

January 16, 2005 at 09:20 PM · rabin

January 16, 2005 at 10:09 PM · yes, i've heard rabins recording and it is inferior imo

I thought i said to name a BETTER recording ;)

January 16, 2005 at 10:10 PM · inferior relative to shaham's i mean

January 16, 2005 at 10:13 PM · i disagree strongly

thats ok though everyone should have their own opinion

January 16, 2005 at 11:45 PM · Also Perlman in Wieniawski 1 is as good as Rabin, I think.

January 17, 2005 at 02:52 AM · Greetings,

Midori`s is exceptional if you listen to it a lot. It is more er, feminine, but has a lot to offer,

Cheers,

Buri

January 17, 2005 at 03:56 AM · I agree, Midori has a sensous way of playing it that is refreshing.

Gitlis has a fun version to :)

January 17, 2005 at 04:05 AM · Great violinist. His carmen fantasy (Sarasate) live recording is amazing

February 8, 2005 at 05:59 AM · I have just seen Gil Shaham playing Dvorak. It was a wonderful concert!! I have to say he's my favourite violinist. Gil Shaham is not only a great player, but also a *great* person. I am sure everyone would agree with me how nice, genuine and sincere he is. He was signing autograph after the concert, and he would take his time to ask people how they they're doing. I was really nervous and just gave him the CD cover for him to sign. he signed and initiated conversation with me! What a nice guy. I told him I never went to any classical music concerts until I accidentally heard him played 3 years ago (this is the truth). He was very surprise and asked if I also became a violinist :) So we chatted for 5 minutes!

In case anyone is interested, he told me he has recorded the "Butterfly Lover's concerto" and the CD will be released in a few months. I simply cannot wait to get that! It'll be interesting to see him play this traditional chinese piece.

Btw, does anyone know where you can find his touring schedule? I am hoping he will have an official website that has updated news and touring information, so we wouldn't miss any of his performances =)

February 8, 2005 at 05:35 PM · I have heard him a couple of times in the past year, once at Blossom with Cleveland Orch playing Dvorak's Romance and the Butterfly Lovers' concerto, and once at Severance Hall playing Berg Violin Concerto. He is really one of my favorite players, especially because of his phenomenal sound. I highly recommend his recording of Prokofiev 2nd sonata.

February 8, 2005 at 05:31 PM · I have heard him several times. His Four Seasons is wonderful. I have also heard him do an excellent concert of Mozart and Prokofiev sonatas with his sister. The Mozart is particularly impressive because much of the Mozart done today is fairly pedestrian (I am not all that impressed with Hahn's Mozart and wish she would wait before recording it). He is clearly one of the best today.

February 8, 2005 at 10:12 PM · I love Gil's playing. It is really refined and seamless. His Schubert album is particularly nice, although he plays everything wonderfully. His Tartini is about as good as they get. I saw him play Brahms with the TSO once. Probably the nicest tone of any violinist I have heard. He's one of those "elegant," always-tasteful players, like a young Kremer or Grumiaux.

February 8, 2005 at 10:17 PM · I think there is a shaham/brahms concerto with abbado dvd out there, it was reviewed in last months strad if i rememver correctly

ive never seen it for sale yet though

February 8, 2005 at 10:20 PM · oops here it is

February 8, 2005 at 11:44 PM · Hey Scott 68, when did you say that Oistrakh/Brahms vid was coming out? I'm getting antsy!

-Other Scott

February 9, 2005 at 03:02 AM · Scott Hawthorn, I thought the Oistrakh Brahms video was out? I watched some video of some kind of Oistrakh playing Brahms concerto the other day, but maybe we're talking about something else.

Scott 68, I love that dvd of Shaham playing Brahms. It's so great.

It was interesting to watch Oistrakh play Brahms concerto and then Gil Shaham. They are both such wonderful players in totally different ways.

February 9, 2005 at 03:28 PM · It's been out in Europe since last year, apparently. There is one available in the U.S. that includes only one movement. Scott 68 had announced in another thread that it would be made available sometime in February. Sorry to veer off-topic here.

February 9, 2005 at 04:57 PM · Scott,

Oh yeah, now I recall that my friend whose dvd it was got it in England. I hope it comes out soon here!

February 9, 2005 at 05:29 PM · There's a nice interview with both Gil and Orli here:

http://www.iclassics.com/featureArticle?contentId=3218

February 10, 2005 at 03:47 PM · The oistrakh came out feb 1 in the usa get it here

and the shaham you can get here

February 10, 2005 at 11:12 PM · I heard Gil play the Dvorak With the Dayton OH. Phil. 8-10 years ago, and as usual was totally swept away by his grasp of how to really make music.

After intermission, when the orchestra came back on stage for Beethoven's 5th, I spied Gil taking last chair 2nd violin section for a little sight reading practice (utterly without fanfare).

How common is it for a soloist to play with the orchestra after his solo is complete? (I've heard of one or two other cases.)

February 10, 2005 at 11:27 PM · Hilary Hahn does it. Also, I was once at a concert where a pianist named Jan Jirichek gave a terrific performance of Beethoven's Emperor Concerto. After intermisiion, he reappeared in the trumpet section and proceeded to play trumpet in the last piece.

February 11, 2005 at 01:31 AM · Greetings,

DuPre did it a lot,

Cheers,

Buri

February 11, 2005 at 02:23 AM · Really? Do you remember where you read/heard that about du Pre?

April 30, 2005 at 11:37 PM · I read this discussion a long time ago, and now I'm bringing it back to life. I absolutely love Gil Shaham's Wieniawski/Sarasate CD, and recently I got his Sibelius/Tchaikovsky CD. But, um, I was just wondering... does he ever sound to anyone else like he's... less in tune in the Sibelius than, say Heifetz or ... well, anyone? I think some of his runs sound a little off. Am I wrong? His tone is lush and great and I like the interpretation but some notes just seem out of tune. Perhaps I just need to work on my ear. Did anyone else get this feeling? Gil Shaham is probably one of my favorite violinists, but this CD was kind of a shaker.

- Wenhao Sun

May 2, 2005 at 03:21 AM · I love Gil Shaham and I'm happy to see this conversation resurface.

I'm actually not terribly familiar with his Sibelius CD. I dont' know how is intonation is on that particular CD, but what I love about him is that I don't really care to listen to the specifics like that with him. I have his Barber concerto and it's truly sublime. Unfortunately, London Symphony does not sound great on it, but they do follow him well and he doesn't get covered up.

I saw him last year play with San Francisco (althoguh they were in Cleveland at Severance Hall). He was playing the Berg Violin Concerto and broke his E string in the middle of the performance. He quickly switched violins with the concertmaster, who I believe was playing on the Heifetz Guarneri (or at least some Guarneri). He went from playing on a beautiful Strad with a shoulder rest to a Guarneri without a shoulder rest. His intonation was still so exquisite that he was nailing double harmonics.

On a side note, I went to see him after the concert, and I started explaining how amazing his performance was. After a few minutes, he started giggling and said, "Oh the Berg? I can only play the first four notes in tune...." Not only is he an amazing violinist, but he's rather funny too.

May 2, 2005 at 02:01 PM · Shaham has a typically self-deprecating Jewish sense of humor.

May 3, 2005 at 09:25 PM · if he grabbed alexander barantschik's violin, then yes, it is the heifetz/david guarneri. actually, i'm curious, what did he sound like on it? he has a very interesting sound and i always wonder how much of it is him and how much is violin.

May 4, 2005 at 01:45 PM · He is the cleanest player I know of his phrasing is impeccable.

May 5, 2005 at 02:11 AM · I heard his Tchaik today, and amazing and expressive as he was, I was shocked at the slow tempo! Do I need to get out more?

-Scott

May 5, 2005 at 05:56 PM · I've got his recording of the Franck/Debussy/Ravel sonatas, and it's a real pleasure to listen to. I'd love to hear more of his work.

May 7, 2005 at 02:00 PM · >From Scott 68

Posted via 216.69.223.206 on February 8, 2005 at 3:17 PM (MST)

I think there is a shaham/brahms concerto with abbado dvd out there, it was reviewed in last months strad if i remember correctly<

I got this DVD and watched it last night. Wowie! If you like Shaham, you'll love this DVD. He has tremendous power, isn't afraid to play pianissimo, incredible articulation and clarity, and has some, shall we say, unique interpretations, few of which annoyed me. >G<

I noticed a few slight intonation problems within runs here and there, but those were quite subtle and did not detract, for me. Generally speaking, he nails everything to the wall.

I like Abaddo; he smiles at his players and stays the hell out of the way.

-Scott H.

May 7, 2005 at 03:36 PM · To add a bit of further thought to my mini-review:

The tempos are very fast, but they don't feel hurried at all, unlike some other fast performances of the Brahms I have heard. Shaham makes time for what's most important when he needs to, without fuss.

What's especially impressive to me, as a die-hard fan of Grumiaux's, is that Shaham understands and brings out the grandeur and majesty of the piece. I find this quality to be missing in many performances of it.

That inludes the dramatic ending, which is not always given careful attention as to the ritardando and decrescendo, and its power to give the feeling of bringing down the curtain on the high drama that has just taken place. Some players/conducters just throw this moment away. Shaham "gets it."

Abbado and The Berlin make the most of the beautiful woodwind ensembles that this piece offers. I have seldom heard such attentive and sensitive woodwind work in a large orchestral setting.

I give this recording a Five-Fermata rating!

May 7, 2005 at 06:18 PM · I saw him in concert in Purchase, New York about a month ago and what really impressed me was his face - he was always smiling! I'm of the belief that playing a piece well is pretty good, but looking like your really enjoying it can kick it up a notch. His tone is drop dead gorgeous - so warm and sweet, and his intonation is near flawless. He almost never plays out of taste, and knows how to have fun with a piece (Wieniawski's Pollonaise Brilliante in A). My only slight complaint against him is his Bach. I personally prefer a more Baroque approach, but if you love a nice thick Bach, he'll do quite nicely.

May 12, 2005 at 08:54 PM · First, a general comment about Shaham: He is amazing. There is so much expression and emotion in his playing that it goes miles beyond "mastery," and I really believe that at a certain point expression is more important than technical skill.

Second, a response to the comments on the Sibelius recording. I hear what you're saying about the intonation or shifts perhaps being a bit off...but I think that's more a part of his style than a fault. His playing is expressive, and thereby it is "shmaltzy" - when he shifts he drags his fingers and lets the notes go out of tune before they find their way back. So I definitely wouldn't criticize this, especially since a player at his level is unlikely to have such technical problems as intonation. I think rather this is a deliberate component of his style, which is all about freedom and feeling, and that's exactly why it is so beautiful.

May 13, 2005 at 02:11 AM · Has anyone heard the CD "The Fiddler of the Opera?" of Shaham playing opera transcriptions? Not only is some of the music really cool but his playing is quite spectacular. I'm hoping to go see him play Sibelius with the NY Phil in June. I'll let you all know how that goes.

June 4, 2005 at 02:06 AM · Such a warm tone, and so clear! He is great!

June 4, 2005 at 02:41 AM · Regarding the Sibelius/Tchaik CD;

Unforunately, I don't have the CD with me, but from what I remember, there is quite a bit of very audible splicing going on. I realize that splicing may be a regular practice now, but common....don't let me hear it! Please! Lie to me...make the splicing quiet....make me believe it's all one take, please!

As a finished product, the Tchaik is marvelous. There is a lot of excitement and you can tell Shaham is having some fun (eg the little grace note he adds in the last movement, in the scale coming down from the high D ). Too bad the orchestra is all over the map.

For Sibelius, I am not sure if his sound is suited for it IMHO. Don't get me wrong - he plays beautifully. But that's the thing. .It's just seems "too beautiful", if that is possible.....which is why I'd be hesitant to pick up a recording of him doing Prokofiev first sonata (which I BELIEVE is going to be part of his Prok project on his new label).

Sloppy and Schmaltz? For me, this is a good description of Perlman. Please do not send me death threats :)

BC

June 4, 2005 at 03:02 AM · wow, i feel the opposite, his sibelius is amazing and his tchaik is sort of boring.

June 4, 2005 at 02:35 PM · hmm,

I'm really surprised that so many of you consider him a "clean" player. For my ears he's the very opposite. I've seen him live once, and I have to admit, yes, he played very clean. But his recordings are sometimes really awful, sorry. Especially his Brahms recording is so full of inaccurate intonation, I can't listen to it, no matter how much I try. Excuse me, but I really cannot understand why he is so admired by so many.

June 4, 2005 at 04:04 PM · i have to agree with you. i heard shaham play the brahms with the toronto symphony and his playing was so out of tune it turned me off to his style forever.

i will admit i like his barber and the schubert for two recording he did but after hearing him completely butcher the brahms concerto live and on record, i have trouble taking him seriously as an international concert soloist.

June 4, 2005 at 05:34 PM · He's my hero. :)

June 5, 2005 at 03:38 AM · I will admit, I do hear intonation flaws every once in a while. I kind of like it- it reminds me that he's human and that he didn't do 100 takes just so that one place could be in tune. One place in particular, a trill on an Eb is quite out. It doesn't turn me off at all though. The fact is I think he stays very in tune for most of the rest of the piece. It may not be as showy or as full-bodied as Mutter's or Bell's (which I'm not a huge fan of), but it has a simple quality that makes it, for me, timeless.

Oh, and I saw him play the Berg live in Cleveland- ask anybody who was there, it was a night never to forget... in a good way.

June 5, 2005 at 03:40 AM · Oh, I'm talking about his recording of the Brahms concerto.

June 5, 2005 at 09:18 PM · that's one take isnt it? the brahms?

June 6, 2005 at 02:10 AM · Is it really? I'm doubly impressed now.

June 6, 2005 at 03:29 AM · A really well known violin professor that teaches my friend who worked with Shaham a couple of times told my friend that Shaham was one of the few people that he saw who takes less than 3 takes most the time for a recording. And usually when Shaham does it over, it is not because he screwed up, but because he thinks there is a better way to balance or unify the different parts of music together. The professor told my friend that Shaham is one of the most diligent and disciplined violinists in the world. Also told him that he once saw Shaham practicing in his hotel room's bathroom b/c it was pretty late at night and that was the best place where the sound doesn't go outside easily, and he thought he'd make sure that his musical ideas were being represented well by his technique. The professor also complimented how open minded Shaham is all the time. Told my friend that he has very good social abilities to work difference in opinions out, as well as accepting them, and still play as if he really wanted to sound it that way. Intonations... I think if you're human, there should be mistakes... Shaham is nothing different from us, but he has also shown us how close he can get to representing music almost perfectly. He obviously worked super hard to be where he is today, and I hear many amazning stories about his attitude and work ethic. Of course since he is an international soloist, he should have perfect intonation and technique, but what was able to give him the big title wasn't his technique, but his strong discipline and level of maturity to approach the art of music. Without his strong inner ability, he wouldn't have gained the technique nor the intelligent interpretations he possesses today. =)

June 10, 2005 at 03:45 AM · Does anyone know where to find his tour schedule? He is my favorite violinist right now and I would like to be able to hear him play sometime. Seems to me that a lot of great violinists specialize in a certian style or time period - like classical or romantic - but from what I have heared, I am really impressed with Shaham's ability to play different styles very convincingly. I believe I learned a lot of what I know about my classical style from his Schubert for Two CD - it's fantastic! Everybody should own it! Go Shaham!

June 10, 2005 at 04:18 AM · He's coming to University of Iowa!!!! I'm SO excited. He's one of my three favorite violinists. His musicality is VERY refined, as well as his intonation. He is one of my heros.

June 10, 2005 at 06:32 PM · Gil Shaham is the Best Violinst in the world so far...not mentioning passed great ones...such as Heifetz...Kreisler...

He is my hero...I want him to last as long as Heifetz did or more....

Great person too...!

June 10, 2005 at 09:47 PM · Gil has this little music video that he did on the Winter Concerto of the 4 seasons. I've seen it on the Classical Arts Station.

He also has one about the phantom violinist. Has anyone seen it.

Does any one know how to get a copy?

He does this wonderful demonstration of the different sounds that he makes with his bow and what it make him think of in the music. And then of course they play it with scenes from winter.

I would love to have it for teaching in my studio.

June 12, 2005 at 03:57 AM · Hey everyone, if you have KCET, Gil Shaham will be playing the Sibelius concerto live from the Lincoln Center and it will be broadcasted Wednesday at 8 live on KCET.

June 12, 2005 at 06:37 AM · God bless you, Enosh. May you live to be a thousand years old!

June 13, 2005 at 02:50 PM · Yes, that would be a great performance! I'm not a huge Shaham fan, but any top international soloist playing the Sibelius with the NYP, will be a performace to see. On the east coast I think Live from Lincoln Center is broadcasted on PBS.

June 13, 2005 at 03:29 PM · Wednesday night at 9 pm Eastern on my PBS station.

June 13, 2005 at 03:51 PM · In the Greater Seattle Area (I use the term loosely), it will air on KCTS-9 this Wednesday evening (6/15) at 8 P.M. Wild horses wouldn't make me miss this!

June 13, 2005 at 04:11 PM · you can find out the air dates here for the program here:

http://www.pbs.org/lflc/airdates.html

June 16, 2005 at 05:50 AM · So, who saw Shaham playing the Sibelius on PBS?

June 16, 2005 at 07:01 AM · I did

June 16, 2005 at 07:46 AM · Gil's sense of humor is outstanding...perhaps childish at times....attended a rehearsal of him doing the Beethoven with the Chautauqua Inst. Orchestra couple years ago...he was brilliant and played the rehearsal with flair, footstamping for added accents, trying to generate a light mood with the 1st violin section to whom he was pandering....Their stoicism was finally shaken when he played the main theme of the 3rd movt with an F natural, turned and offered a huge smile...the 1st violins broke up completely...which appears to be what Gil wished to do. Though not a big fan of the Sibelius, his NY Phil PBS performance revealed the usual great tone and personal intimacy he applies to his art.

To isolate specific detections of less-than-perfection is folly...the guy is simply a great player and the interview with Bev Sills reveals a boyish charm that I hope continues with him. His wife has played in our area a couple of times...she's great...Adele Anthony...heard her do the Scottishe Fantasy and other big league tunes...

June 16, 2005 at 12:01 PM · I think I finally figured out why I don't enjoy listening to Gil Shaham very much. I was watching his bow hand and he uses a lot of pressure, particularly with the index finger, on the string, and I hear this choking sound. I think it must be a Juilliard-Delay thing because I hear it when I listen to Sarah Chang, Midori, and some others to a lesser extent. They all have terrific left hands, but I think they use way to much pressure on the bow. But, his encore with the Bach Gavotte was very good, probably because he wasn't digging in to his violin as much.

June 16, 2005 at 01:07 PM · I had a rehearsal last night so I taped it. Given the thunderstorms & power outs in these parts, I’m hoping it actually worked!

June 16, 2005 at 02:39 PM · Peter Kent wrote:

>To isolate specific detections of less-than-perfection is folly...the guy is simply a great player<

Thanks for saying that Peter. I noticed minor out-of-tune playing and was struggling to decide whether or not I cared, given the other great features of his performance. It was instructive to me to hear the interview, where he revealed that the Sibelius was one of two pieces he heard over and over as a child. I have never cared for the concerto much, but his love for the piece was obvious when he played it and helped me to see its better points.

June 16, 2005 at 03:13 PM · For everyone interested here is the link (free of charge after registration) to the NY Times review of this concert:

http://www.nytimes.com/pages/arts/music/index.html

The headline is: "A New Pairing of Conductor and Soloist"

FMF

June 16, 2005 at 03:15 PM · I need ecucation about this concerto. Whaddaya call that part in the 1st movement that seems to be the only exciting part; the double-stops section? Seems like I sit and wait interminably through much ado about nothing, for that part to be played, only twice.

I find much more of interest in the following movements. Somebody teach me: what's so great about the Sibelius?

June 16, 2005 at 03:31 PM · I saw him last night on PBS. He totally blew me away!!!!!! It was so amazing! So precise and clean!

June 16, 2005 at 04:42 PM · I saw him last night on TV. It was great! Even though there were a few slip-ups, I still really enjoyed it. Shaham put everything into his performance.

June 16, 2005 at 08:32 PM · He did a nice job last night, I enjoyed watching the program. He has terrific fingers however I have some different ideas than he does about posture and holding the instrument. He seems to tilt the instrument and hold it up quite a bit with his shoulder. I think as the performance went along he got stronger and stronger.

June 16, 2005 at 07:04 PM · Did anyone notice how TIGHT he had his bow? It was nearly curved the other way.

Only caught the last few seconds of the Sibelius (*harumph!*) which sounded great. Wasn't a fan at all of the Bach. It seemed WAY too forced.

Preston

June 16, 2005 at 06:35 PM · I agree-- it seemed a bit more mannered than I care for. I never thought I'd say this, given my views on the playing of Romantic material, but:

Just play the time as written!

June 16, 2005 at 11:42 PM · Rick, the pressure on the bow thing is a Galamian - Delay Juilliard thing. Zukerman and Mintz also have it, but I think even though Gil has this he does it less than Zukerman and Mintz which is good. I saw the performance and it was very enjoyable. He has an amazing sound but his vibrato I don't like. As far as interpretation, I thought it was pretty good except I thought the third movement was a bit heavy. In my opinion it should be tighter, lighter, and more rhythmical so that it "grooves" as jazz musicians would say -- like Heifetz. The Bach I thought was very beautiful. He phrased things really nicely and it flowed but if I were to be picky it could also have been less heavy.

June 17, 2005 at 03:13 AM · Regarding the Bach:

Definately beautiful phrasing (though I could've done without SO much vibrato) and beautiful intonation. It just seemed like he was worried the back balcony was not going to hear. Perhaps from their standpoint it was perfect. Difficult to tell as I have yet to play a solo at Lincoln Center ;)

Preston

June 17, 2005 at 07:50 AM · Isn't the Chicago land's date and time for the Gil Shaham Sibelius this Sunday at 1pm?

Can anybody confirm if my information is correct?

Thank you

June 17, 2005 at 03:58 PM · my favorite living violinist. his tone clarity in the highest register is what i really like about his playing. Great technique

June 17, 2005 at 04:23 PM · I think that he is fantastic. He is a great player( musical/techical), very intuitive and intouch with his violin. He has a great stage presence and energy that bounces off of him towards his audience when he performs. I love his Sibelius CD.

June 18, 2005 at 12:55 AM · Gil Shaham is one of the greatest violinists alive.

He polished off the Sibelus at age eight.

Did anyone have the opportunity to watch that lovely PBS concert live the other evening?

June 18, 2005 at 01:21 AM · I went to this concert. In my opinion, not his best playing. He was continuously sharp.

Eric

June 18, 2005 at 01:10 PM · Max, Gil played the Sibelius at age 8?, didn't he only start playing at 7? If he did play it after only one year of studying, then that would be amazing.

June 18, 2005 at 01:47 PM · I understood the announcer to say that he first HEARD it at age 8. His parents had given him their old record player and he listened to 3 things repeatedly: the Sibelius and Jim Nabors (aka Gomer Pyle) Favortes and something by Berlioz.

June 18, 2005 at 05:36 PM · Yes, that's much more reasonable. I highly doubt anyone could play the Sibelius at 8 (even though Heifetz supposedly played Mendelssohn at 7).

June 18, 2005 at 05:50 PM · Thanks for clearing that up Evelyn. Actually the only person I think who could play Sibelius that young(as well as Paganini 1, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Elgar, any many more) was Sarah Chang who supposedly could play them at age 8.

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