Mordecai Shehori: POET AND DAREDEVIL!

Mordecai Shehori’s pianistic vision reflects a unique physical and spiritual approach to music-making.  He is an original thinker at the keyboard. He begins with the notion that the composer felt something while he was creating the piece. It’s important to understand this in order to convey an appropriate emotional experience as well as an aesthetic.

He’s been praised for “his control of the silences as well as his control of the notes”, although, as Mr. Shehori says, “they look the same on the page.” As he puts it, “the greatest actors can communicate emotional meaning even while they are silent on stage, and it is the emotional feeling that creates the atmosphere of a piece.” Indeed, in order to create the right spiritual effect in our hall and with our piano, Mordecai Shehori is arriving in Winnipeg two days before his recital.

Mr. Shehori provides us with a living connection to the great Vladimir Horowitz. As Mordecai told me, near the end of his life, Horowitz was preparing for a performance of a Mozart Concerto with Mordecai playing the orchestral reduction on a second piano (in New York’s Steinway Hall). They became friends and he spent many evenings at the Horowitz home. The final Horowitz recording was made at the residence, and Mordecai helped by turning pages at these sessions.

He saw Horowitz the day before he died (Nov. 5, 1989). A year later, he received a telephone call from Mrs. Horowitz (who was Toscanini’s daughter). She had just heard Mordecai performing on the radio and wanted to tell him how much she appreciated his playing. She told him that he was “the only pianist who learned from her husband but did not try to copy him.”

The major work in Mr. Shehori’s programme is the Beethoven Sonata No. 30, op 109.  He will actually be recording it shortly after this recital. You might wish to listen to all or some of it by various pianists.

I suggest Claudio Arrau, in part because his signature is inside our Steinway.

Programme:  Lully Suite de pièces; Beethoven Sonata No. 30 in E major, Op. 109; Chopin Bolero in A minor, Op. 19; Debussy Reflets dans l’eau, Image, Book1; Rachmaninoff Selections from Preludes and Études-Tableaux; Saint-Saëns/Liszt/Horowitz, Danse Macabre.