Mordecai Shehori: The Celebrated New York Concerts - Vol. 6
Carl CZERNY (1791-1857)
“La Ricordanza” Variations in E-flat Major, Op. 33 (1851-52) [11:51] 
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)
Three Songs without Words: C Minor, Op. 38, No. 2 (1836) [2:29]; G Minor, Op. 53, No. 3 (1839) [2:50]; F-sharp Minor, Op. 67, No. 2 (1839) [2:36]
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Four Klavierstücke, Op. 119 (1892): Intermezzo in B minor [3:26]; Intermezzo in E minor [4:55]; Intermezzo in C major [1:25]; Rhapsody in E flat major [5:05]
Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918)
Valse Romantique in F Minor [3:56]
Vladimir HOROWITZ (1903-1989)
Etude-Caprice “Les Vagues” [2:24]
Waltz in F Minor (1921) [2:00]
Dance Excentrique in C Major [2:53]
Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937)
La Valse (1921) [11:17]
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Sicilienne in G Minor (arr. Shehori) (1720) [2:46]
Louis-Claude DAQUIN (1694-1772)
Le Coucou (c.1735) [1:35]
Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)
Prelude in C Major, Op. 12, No. 7 [1:57]
Zez CONFREY (1895-1971)  
Humourlessness (After Dvořák) (1925) [2:34]
Mordecai Shehori (piano)
rec. April 1983, Merkin Concert Hall (Czerny, Ravel, Daquin); February 1993 Weill Recital Hall (Mendelssohn, Horowitz Etude, Prokofiev, Confrey); June 2003, Alice Tully Hall (Brahms, Debussy, Horowitz Waltz and Dance, and Bach)
CEMBAL D’AMOUR CD 166 [66:05]
We have arrived at volume six in Mordecai Shehori’s New York concert recital series. There are three recitals, or at least part of three recitals, given over a two decade period at Merkin Concert Hall, Weill Recital Hall and Alice Tully Hall. The programme is pleasingly wide-ranging, both chronologically and stylistically.
A few of the pieces bear the stamp of Vladimir Horowitz. Czerny’s La Ricordanza was something that the Russian pianist played frequently and Shehori, who was strongly in Horowitz’s orbit, plays it with considerable poise and bravura. He evinces real refinement and delicacy in its opening paragraphs, revealing real tonal variegation, deft control of dynamics and above all a sure sense of character and communicative projection. In the faster, more decorative passages his pearly and even treble are delightful, and his poised left hand accentuates the rhythmic brio of the music-making. This accentuation detonates delightfully as well when the music becomes more exciting. Shehori ends very beautifully and this captivating performance is graced by sensitivity, technical accomplishment and wit.
He plays three Mendelssohn Songs without Words, and has chosen well, since there’s plenty of contrast between them. The first example in C minor is finely shaped, whereas the G Minor, Op. 53 is dramatically projected. The F-sharp Minor ends the trio playfully. The late Four Klavierstücke, Op. 119 of Brahms offer darker, more malleable pleasures, teakier in tone, more volatile and ambiguous in meaning. It sounds as if this set was recorded in-concert - a hand held cassette, maybe? Shehori essays Debussy’s Valse Romantique in F Minor and continues his French exploration with a much different work, Ravel’s immense, cataclysmic La Valse, which he performs with virtuosic panache sufficient to engender rich applause.
In between there is the rare opportunity to hear three pieces by Vladimir Horowitz and, like the Mendelssohn, these offer plenty of diverting opportunities for contrast and colour. The Etude-Caprice Les Vagues is a dramatic affair, the Waltz in F Minor rather more harmonically questing, whilst the saucy badinage of Dance Excentrique in C Major would make a great quiz question: who wrote this?
As encores we are offered a meditative and slow Bach-Siloti Sicilienne from the Flute Sonata No.2, a deftly singing Daquin Cuckoo, a confident Prokofiev prelude and, finally, Zez Confrey’s naughty homage to Dvořák by way of the Swanee River, Humourlessness.
Roll on volume seven.
Jonathan Woolf  

Roll on volume seven.