Sparkling Mozart in Santa Rosa
By Jeffrey Freymann
Pianist Orli Shaham‘s relationship with Mozart goes back to the time she heard her brother, Shai (who still plays the piano, but is a scientist) playing a concerto and finding herself falling in love with it, and wanting to play it herself. This Saturday, Sunday and Monday, she’ll play Mozart’s C Major concerto with the Santa Rosa Symphony, led by auditioning conductor Graeme Jenkins.
One of the perks of playing one of his concertos, Shaham says, is getting to see the unique way that Mozart approached the keyboard. “He’ll have technical passages for the hands – for the fingers, you know, and he wrote for himself most the time, so it’s really just about how he moved his own hands – that are brand new techniques for the piano. There’s a physical something there, that has to with just the kind of fiddly movements you’re doing with your fingers, and the way they cause the instrument to sparkle and ring.” The work is filled with drama, despite a deceptive opening. “It’s the most simple theme, it sounds like nothing. And just by the way he’s chosen to place it, and the way he develops it, it becomes something that embodies so many different emotions and so many layers of richness. [It’s] built with such clarity, such incredible patterns of simple ideas that become emotionally like an avalanche.” Many know the hauntingly beautiful middle movement as a Mozart ‘greatest hit,’ but Shaham says it’s much more than that. “That second movement is heart-stopping and embodies all of the world’s difficulties and sorrows in one little movement. But the first and third are magical as well. There’s something about Mozart that’s really formational and formative. The music is so cleanly written that all the basic elements that you need to understand for anything else are already in his notes.”
Listen to the entire interview at this link.