Press review – Iddo Bar-ShaïPress review 12 décembre 2016
“This is a thrilling debut. …his performances are nothing short of revelatory.
Bar-Shai takes the sonatas seriously – and thus reveals their anticipation of Beethoven’s – without desiccating or romanticizing them. Slow movements are sensitively poised and the three presto finales bubble excitingly. Nothing is under – or over stated; everything is natural and unforced yet refined and polished – a rare combination. Mirare’s detailed documentation completes an outstanding release. It is fervently to be hoped that Bar-Shai will record all Haydn’s sonatas, as he excels even Alfred Brendel, who sounds calculated and self-conscious by comparison. In any case, this is an obligatory purchase for all lovers of the Classical repertoire.”
Joe Laredo, “International Piano” Magazine , September-October 2006 / also selected in the “Annual International Piano Awards 2006” of this magazine as one of three best CDs in the category : “Rising star award for best debut recording”, November-December 2006
"… As from the first bars of this recital, the ear is drawn up and until the end of this chronologically applied voyage through the world of mazurkas of Chopin one remains captivated – yes seized and fascinated by the effortless elegance of the play and the velvet touch, which successfully hits the core of this music. Iddo bar-Shai trusts himself to go far beyond the secure terrain of solid fidelity to the work: he interprets decidedly, puts the chevaleresque rhythms, the melodic bows and the harmonic finesses of his choice of mazurkas in a free and pronounciated way but perfect in form, in piano-play and arch-musically. He is a phenomenal legato- and pianissimo-player, who outbids the 30 works with much adolescent-unconsumed phantasie, without once becoming abrasive or aloud. As if self evidently, Bar-Shai succeeds in giving every mazurka a convincing form and at the same time being true to the intimacy of the art of Chopin. Fantastic."
Ingo Harden, "Fonoforum", 2009 “5 Stars” / on “Chopin Mazurkas” CD- Mirare
"Iddo Bar-Shai brings these sonatas to life with a highest musical intelligence... This superb recital announces the arrival of a pianist of a grand talent who joins his predecessors, Curzon and De Larrocha in the Andante, Brendel and Gould for the sonatas"
Stéphane Friédérich, "Classica Répertoire", November 2006 edition on “Haydn Sonatas” CD- Mirare
"It's with stunning talent that the pianist Iddo Bar-Shaï submitted 25 miniatures to the Mirare label that are worthy of stomping out any lasting doubt. His touch is deft, voluptuous and polished. Between the voices each phrase exhales individually. When the baroque phrase's mechanism begins, so does the movement, instructed by grace, as if slightly wet by the wake of a wave of a subtle agogic… With enchantment, Bar-Shaï interprets pieces that are practically impossible to perform on instruments that only have one keyboard. The notes, springing with life, repeated in Le Tic-Toc-Choc ou Les Maillotins are just simply electrifying… "
Helmut Rohm / "Bayerischer Rundfunk"/ 22.04.2013
"Iddo Bar-Shai is a very talented, sensitive and vertebrate Israeli pianist... Les Ombres errantes is a remarkable CD. As many landscapes, so as sentiments, exactness mixes up to all fantasies: springtime on a record player.
The composer would have loved it, don't doubt it for a moment."
Frederick Casadesus / Mediapart / 2.4.2013
"Israeli pianist Iddo Bar-Shai has become well known for his highly poetical Haydn sonatas. He goes further now, conferring on these 25 short musical pieces grandeur and rich sounds that sometimes are close to anachronism, but he succeeds not to fall in it. In these pieces which are so elliptic that they are hardly decipherable, he researched a chiaroscuro evoking works by de La Tour and Delacroix as well."
François Lafon / Musikzen/ 6.5.2013
"Indeed the titles of Couperin's works are altogether beautiful and mysterious, even if rare are the harpsichordists who are able to transmit this poetry. Iddo Bar-Shai, is able to and he does so on the piano. This CD, dedicated to the memory of Alexis Weissenberg, is a fabulous achievement… the result is beautiful, moving and exciting at every moment"
Jongen François/ La Libre /26.6.13
"There are those rare listening occasions that immediately sweep you right off your feet for a magical journey from which you only return after the final note. Such is the journey that Iddo Bar-Shaï has sent us on, with his new album… Iddo Bar-Shai has all the distinctions for transfiguring the art of Couperin, its delicacy, effervescence, dancing elegance, liveliness and elation, into an experience as captivating as it is poetic and demanding…
Fundamentally, Iddo Bar-Shaï is an outstanding virtuoso, as he leads one to believe at appropriate occasions, and yet his virtuosity is presented with noble discretion – at the service of the genius, of the energy creator, and of the process leading to the final creation. Each one of these memorable miniatures reveals an individual personality, each one constitutes a clear connection in the journey on which Iddo Bar-Shaï invites his listeners, at each note. After listening to Iddo Bar-Shai's Couperin interpretation, I now see him as one of the most lyrical and refined pianists of our time."
Christoph Schlüren / "The Listener"/ 18.6.2013
"The sound is probably richer and more refined than the young generation’s current trend, a good point to convey the myriads of iridescences of this music. The sense of the discourse is free and audacious… "
Philippe Ramin/ Diapason/ May 2013
"...when Iddo Bar-Shai joined the players for a chamber performance of Mozart's Piano Concerto in E flat major, here, to their clean and vivacious playing added a crucial sense of purpose. This was Mozart of charm, elegance and warmth."
"Strad" magazine - March 2004 edition
“Bar-Shai displayed a formidable command of the piano, and of Chopin’s technically and musically demanding Piano Concert No. 2. There was much sensitivity and easily flowing virtuosity in his rendition. His touch was appealingly soft, yet incisive and forceful when required.”
Uri Eppstein/ “The Jerusalem Post” - 2/11/2004
“…in an overwhelming naturalness, keeping the effects, playing with accents the syncopations and the silences at an unbelievable ease. The Sonata in G (Hob XVI/ 40, in two movements) is probably the summit of the program, perfectly put together with its marvelous Allegretto innocente which fills one with tears and this Presto liberating its joy: one does not see an equivalent for this in the discography. …The Variations in F minor accomplish a convincing sense of the marching and of the Haydnian temperament of Iddo Bar-Shai, born under very good stars. ”
Etienne Moreau, Diapason, October 2006, « 5 diapasons » on “Haydn Sonatas” CD- Mirare
"…Listening to this music played by Israeli Bar-Shai as if he had always breathed it, you become dizzy when you think of the stilted and affected records by Polish Rafal Blechacz, the winner of the Chopin competition… But believe me, Iddo Bar-Shai is the one to be followed.
First, there is this bizarre pulsation that cannot be invented and cannot be learnt. This is like Schumann : one has it or does not. Bar-Shai has it… What is striking first is the incredible porcelain delicacy that Bar-Shai can show. When you follow this journey, you realize that the mazurkas are Chopin’s intimate diary, a report of his cracks and his fragility. One is very far from a series of dances as one is in the field of confession. This unexpected and very subjective travel (the subjectivity of a true artist, not of a sentiment faker) is one of the great surprises of Chopin discography…"
Christophe Huss, "ClassicsTodayFrance", about " Chopin Mazurkas" MIR075, 2009
“Iddo Bar-Shai plays it marvelously (the finale is more lifting than with Richter- Decca), but it is mostly in the central “Adagio” in D minor that Iddo Bar-Shai's specific qualities appear : he plays these pages in an intimate and interiorized way which is the case also in the other slow movements and especially the famous Variations in F minor of 1793. In this piece, taken rather slowly and with mystery, the coda is splendid. It melts little by little into the silence, bringing up a high degree of emotion. …this CD, with its reflecting sonorities, is one of the best ever dedicated to Haydn's piano works.”
Marc Vignal, “Le Monde de la Musique”, November 2006, on “Haydn Sonatas” CD- Mirare
“…(I) was impressed by his mature style and his approach to music in general. He is an artist.” (Alexis Weissenberg)
“Whoever listens with his eyes closed to Iddo playing Chopin, may think it is
Rubinstein playing.” (Pnina Salzman / “Maariv” - 25/5/2001)
"…His Chopin is marvelous, thanks to his touch that goes from grace to dream, pain and nostalgia… This new recital on disc is a shear jewel of musicality, delicacy, penetrating intelligence. It comes after his Haydn CD and confirms the personality of Israeli pianist, Iddo Bar-Shai, 31. The pianist always finds the appropriate tone, between tension, energy, hypersensitivity, delicateness, heart pulses, vertigo of the soul, precise chiseling of harmonies that are sometimes bizarre, soft dreamlike ornaments… this exploding cocktail that is the basis of Chopin’s magic : the painful thrust, Polish tropism ; the French grace and balance ; the deepness of German romanticism …
The suggestive and chiseled touch of the pianist is a new face of his maestria. We admired so much his first Mirare record with the Haydn sonatas in 2006. His Chopin quivers, gets excited, unveils himself but always with a perceptible ounce of false lightness, aristocratic elegance, and a sensitive grand style. A sensitive panache which reveals itself to be exciting. The pianist’s touch is memorable, deeply impressive by the chiseled flow in ethereal softness, this quality of dreams which characterizes Chopin’s intimate and secret poetry. A magnificent achievement which confirms a new great talent of present keyboard."
Stéphanie Bataille, Classique News, November 20th 2008 /on “Chopin Mazurkas” CD- Mirare
"… This disc is a pearl of delicacy and lightness. This does not exclude the expressive variants. Iddo Bar-Shai, Israeli prodigy and a superbly asserted pianist, finds this incomparable elegant tone that Chopin used to hem his pains. One "stamps one’s heels" on the keyboard, one bounces, and overall, one tells the story of a life, because Chopin did not stop writing mazurkas… Excellent."
Jacqueline Thuilleux, Le Figaro, 3/1/2009 / on “Chopin Mazurkas” MIR075
"…Iddo Bar-Shai’s pianism corresponds exactly to what he says. The delicate nuances seduce us and do not prejudice the rhythmic life without which these pages would get dull and sentimental. He succeeds in the most complete manner in saying everything with the discretion required by what the pianist describes as “the musical journal of Chopin’s life”. "
Jean Roy, "Le Monde de La Musique", January 2009 / on “Chopin Mazurkas” MIR075
“Here is a Haydn one never gets tired of listening to. The young Israeli pianist, Iddo Bar-shai, 29, has got velvet and pearly sensibility under his fingers. …Beyond his technical gifts, the young man surprises and captivates by his very certain sense of atmosphere, of his self investment and of the palette of colors. His richness of sounds turns out to be mainly magisterial. His crystalline agility that dares rhythm break-ups, takes risks, commits itself and varies the accent, is convincing. Under the agile fingers of the young performer, here is a Haydn that palpitates and spins around the heart. His vivacity neither artificial nor shows mannerism: it comes from the emotion. The infinitely tender and interior reading (adagio of the no. 38) unveils an interpretation woven by serenity and profoundness. …The tangible commitment of the interpreter rereads the score: insouciance and sovereign sensibility, fantasy and imagination stand up here freely and break with the excess of moderation shown by most of Haydn sonatas interpreters. But here, you have got this biting jubilant, a sparkling crossing of the piece full of light and grace, mischievousness and ideas, subtlety and audacity, tenuous atmospheres full of the most sensitive emotions that force respect, admiration and the desire to listen again and again to those thrilling rereadings. A revelation.”
Carter Chris Humphray, Classique News, July 1st 2006 /on “Haydn Sonatas” CD- Mirare
”This CD is magnificent as this pianist seems to have completely understood Haydn:
the fast movements are right and never exaggerated while the slow movements are given from a certain poésie that embark us each time in a different story… Iddo Bar-Shai is already a grand pianist to follow”.
Frédéric Platzer, ResMusica, receiving « coup de cœur de la rédaction » 08/09/2006 on “Haydn Sonatas” CD- Mirare
"What this young Israeli pianist does with Chopin's Mazurkas is fascinating… Without doubting the legacy of Rubinstein, Bar-Shai establishes first of all the uniqueness of the Mazurkas, reminding us of their interest and explores their moods often marked by anxiety, sensation well rendered by the inherent instability of their rhythms. Bar-Shai also creates a very exceptional sound universe, with small allusive touches. A major and unique CD."
Christophe Huss, "Le Devoir", April 17th 2009/ on "Chopin Mazurkas" CD- Mirare
"Bar-Shai's playing is at once delicate and unshakable. He comes close to the ceiling of the sound but never transgresses it. He respects the natural transparency of the piano's timbre, and the result is a highly inflected cantabile tone that serves Couperin's music well. This is a welcome addition to the Couperin discography."
Benjamin Katz/ American Record Guide, September-October 2013 issue
"Evocative or enigmatic, the titles inspire Iddo Bar-Shai to a reading which is lively, limpid and light. The Israeli goldsmith threads the pieces like real pearls on a silver chain. Surprise; he presents these beautiful baroque treasures on today’s Steinway. His piano, devoid of any severity, could almost pass for a period instrument."
La Liberté (Suisse) / 09.03.2013
"The pianist knows how to capture the spirit of each piece, serious or brilliant, evoking a landscape or a pastoral scene. How can one resist such a fine touch?"
Stéphane Friédérich / Classica/ May 2013
“his rendition makes Couperin unfold in a sonorous and expressive manner that brings a new light to interpreting these movements. Bar-Shaï’s fluid performance, with every ornament neatly and precisely in place, supports and illuminates them in a way that is like a gloss of decorative but pastel paint… I find that this disc draws one in, demonstrating that Couperin is a viable composer for the modern piano, and Bar-Shaï does a splendid job. You can’t go wrong with such a finely-nuanced and expressive interpretation” Bertil van Boer /Fanfare/ May 2013