YARON KOHLBERG & HARONI BISHARA
NAFA Lee Foundation Theatre
Thursday (22 April 2010)
Music unites the seemingly incompatible and conquers insurmountable odds. Daniel Barenboim and his West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, which brings together Palestinian and Israeli musicians, was a personal vision and dream come true. On a smaller scale, the piano duo of Israeli Yaron Kohlberg and Arab Haroni Bishara served the same mission of healing rifts and making peace.
Then both pianists performed their solo segments. The gangly Bishara sports an easy nonchalance, which belied a steely intensity applied to Chopin’s Fourth Ballade that built gradually built up to a tumultuous climax. There was a tad of heavy-handedness in the opening of Liszt’s La Campanella, but his resplendent trills really made the bells ring. If there were some wrong notes, those could be attributed to jetlag.
Three Études, including the “Revolutionary” and “Winter Wind”, were whipped off with such enviable ease and finesse that his triumphs at the 2007 Cleveland International Piano Competition seemed almost matter of fact.
Reunited for the final work, the duo gave a most personalised account of Darius Milhaud’s popular Scaramouche. Getting the notes right was no longer an issue; instead here was the chance to tease out the nuances and delight in the oh-so-naughty bits. The final Brasileira, a samba number, reveled in vivacity and velocity. Why do they play so fast? Simply because they can, and can do so convincingly.