April 27, 2015
"Beethoven's 'Tempest' in new clothing"



On April 26th 2014, along with his partners Sivann Maayani Zelikoff (violin) and Linor Katz (cello), Ishay Shaer premiered his new arrangement for piano trio of Beethoven's piano sonata Op. 31 No. 2 ('The Tempest'). Here you can find a review by Mr. Hagai Hitron of that performance published in "Haaretz", Israel's most reputable newspaper.

Here is a translation of the full review:


Beethoven's 'Tempest' in new clothing

Ishay Shaer's arrangement of 'The Tempest' piano sonata for a trio, is a masterwork which caused immense pleasure

Pianist Ishay Shaer dared: he took one of the most important works in Classical Music history, Beethoven's piano sonata Op. 31 No. 2 (nicknamed 'The Tempest') and rearranged it for piano, violin and cello. The first public performance of the sonata in this layout, in a concert which took place on Saturday at Tzavta in Tel Aviv, was hence what is usually referred to as 'world premiere'.

During the interval, after the piece was played, an attentive and involved listener told me that such rearrangement did not seem appropriate to her, to say the least. Her rationale, in my words: When Beethoven writes a singing, cello-like phrase, for instance, for the piano, an important part of its power is precisely the fact that it's not played by the 'right' instrument, but rather on the quasi-percussive piano; hence an arrangement of that kind, in which singing phrases are executed by 'melodic instruments' (violin and cello), diminishes the power of this work.

In theory, this rationale sounds serious. But what if the undersigned's ears tell a different story? From the very first seconds, 'The Tempest' in its new attire – played by the arranger himself on the piano, violinist Sivann Maayani Zelikoff and cellist Linor Katz – sounded like one of Beethoven's finest trios. The musical plot – from the first movement's mysterious opening and the following 'storm', up to the perpetuum mobile of the third movement – has been judiciously embellished with a richness of sound which contributed to a sensual pleasure. For instance, the famous recitativo in the midst of the first movement, played by Linor Katz with the required restraint, or the brief transition originally in staccato which turned into pizzicato in the strings. The act of arrangement did not sound as blasphemy but as an interesting experiment, for which the quality of the result is its real test. And the result, that could even be considered embarrassing, is: Beethoven's 'Tempest' in the piano, violin and cello version, is a wonderful piece of music.

What else? Overall the concert showed astonishing affluence, with excellent playing. Shaer stood out throughout the concert with confident sound and tasteful phrasing; Sivann Maayani Zelikoff, one of IPO's youngest members (daughter of harpist Ruth Maayani and niece of composer Ami Maayani), could have, in my opinion, presented her part in Mozart's piano and violin sonata K. 301 with more sound variation, but later – with Debussy, Chausson and Brahms (sonata Op. 108) – she proved to be a first-class violin artist.



Watch the new video with Alexey Naumenko (violin)
and Gal Nyska (cello)


The Tempest Trio (I. Largo - Allegro)

The Tempest Trio (II. Largo)

The Tempest Trio (III. Allegretto)


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