Trio Shaham Erez Wallfisch
Hagai Shaham, violin
Arnon Erez, piano
Raphael Wallfisch, cello
When the press hails “Shaham and Erez…probably the most dazzling I have heard“ (American Record Guide) and “Wallfisch…one of the most outstanding international cellists”(Leipziger Volkszeitung) and these three masters decide to join forces, one had better sit up and take notice; something quite incredible is bound to become of it!
In fact, that is exactly what happened when the piano trio ShahamErezWallfisch came together at the beginning of 2009 and was greeted with great enthusiasm from audiences who were bowled over by the intense togetherness and extreme musicality of this exciting new ensemble!
These three musicians,at the height of their careers, are individually renowned. First Prizes in international competitions (Shaham/Erez: ARD; Wallfisch: Gaspar Cassadó) launched what have becomeimportant international careers. Coming together for the first time in 2009 the Trio was met with great acclaim from the start. They toured Switzerland and The Netherlandsthat year and had outstandingly successful re-appearances in The Netherlands in 2011 and 2012, having toured Israel in the meantime. Engagements for 2013 included concerts in the UK including Wigmore Hall,which has invited them back for successive seasons through 2017, and their début at the Wimbledon Festival, their fourth tour in The Netherlands, including the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, where, following their sold-out debut, they were invited back for two concerts in 2014, as well as Germany and Belgium. 2014 brings the Trio back to Germany, France and The Netherlands with concert tours planned for Spain and North America in 2015.
The Trio’s first CD, of Mendelssohn’s two piano trios, was released by Nimbus in February 2012 to international critical acclaim. Their second recording, featuring trios by Ravel and Fauré, also on the Nimbus label, came out in June 2013 and, like its predecessor, received the highest critical acclaim. A third recording will be released in fall 2014 featuring Russian piano trios. A very wide range of recordings by the individual musicians is also available from the Hyperion, Chandos and Nimbus labels.
With legendary teachers - IlonaFeher (Shaham), ArieVardi (Erez) and GregorPiatigorsky (Wallfisch) - they themselves have become much sought after teachers, holding professorships at the famous Buchmann-Mehta School of Music, University of Tel Aviv (Shaham, Erez), SUNY Stony Brook, New York (Shaham) and both the Zürich Winterthur Konservatorium and the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester (Wallfisch). Masterclasses bring them around the world and to well known summer festivals such as Kuhmo (Finland), Keshet-Eilon (Israel) and Banff (Canada).
Hagai Shaham is an acclaimed Israeli violin virtuoso. He has performed as soloist with major orchestras throughout the world, including the English Chamber Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, Belgian National Orchestra, Orchestre Symphonique Francais, National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra, Shanghai Symphony, Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra, Slovak Philharmonic, and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under Zubin Mehta. He tours regularly throughout Europe, North and South America, performing on international recital series and at festivals as a soloist and chamber musician.Shaham is a professor of violin at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music, SUNY Stony Brook and on the Faculty of Arts at Tel Aviv University. The international career of pianist Arnon Erez began after winning—together with his duo partner HagaiShaham—the (German Radio) ARD International Music Competition in Munich. He also won first prize in the François Shapira Competition in Israel, the Tel Aviv Music Academy Competition, and the Clermont Pépin Award. He has performed in Carnegie Hall, Bonn’s Beethoven Halle, the AlteOper in Frankfurt, the Herkulessaal in Munich Vienna’s Musikverein, the New Auditorium du Louvre in Paris, and London’s Wigmore Hall. He performs in major festivals around the world, and as been the soloist with such orchestras as the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the SWF Symphony Orchestra, the Haifa Symphony Orchestra and the Banff Festival Orchestra. A graduate of the Rubin Academy of Music, Tel Aviv University, he pursued further chamber music studies in the USA with the Guarneri Quartet. British cellist Raphael Wallfisch is one of the most celebrated cellists on the international stage. He was born into a family of distinguished musicians: his father is the pianist Peter Wallfisch and his mother, the cellist Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, one of the last surviving members of the “Girl Orchestra” of Auschwitz, both founders of the English Chamber Orchestra. First prize winner at the International Gaspar Cassadó Cello Competition in Florence, Wallfisch has enjoyed a world-wide career playing with such orchestras as the London Symphony, London Philharmonic, Philharmonia, BBC Symphony, English Chamber Orchestra, Hallé, City of Birmingham Symphony, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Berlin Symphony, WestdeutscherRundfunk, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Indianapolis Symphony, Warsaw Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic and many others. He has recorded nearly all the major cello repertoire, including works by Britten, Finzi, Kenneth Leighton, Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky including works composed for him by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, John Tavener and James MacMillan.
“With this concert the Trio ShahamErezWallfisch made sure it will no longer be considered a well kept secret. Ease, temperament and a refined sound were captured and displayed by these musicians with technical brilliance, with a great awareness of shape, with absolutely gorgeous precision and in particular through highly sensitive interaction. In the same way that these qualities had already caused captivating moments in the Fauré, they made Ravel’s piano trio the absolute highlight of the evening - especially in the first movement in which HagaiShaham (violin), ArnonErez (piano) and Raphael Wallfisch (cello) knew how to enchant with the finest of colors and the very softest of shades, then transferring this kind of music making - with its exemplary rhythmic presence and precision and its admirable structural clarity - into a bravura orchestral apotheosis, a miracle of sound that kept the audience in a tight grip until the very end. The trio was given a huge ovation to which they responded with an encore of Mendelssohn’s scherzo, played with magical ease.” SüdwestPresse - January 2013
Recording: Ravel, Debussy, Fauré, Nimbus Records:
“Nowhere is Fauré’s late style more manifest than in the Piano Trio. Here the obscurities melt away, such is the entente between the players and their understanding of Fauré’s elliptical syntax. ArnonErez’s clean piano playing is a great help throughout, allowing us to hear the lines.Equally direct and strong is their performance of the Ravel Trio. The ‘Pantoum’ is dispatched with tremendous brio. The recording is excellent, with Raphael Wallfisch’s pianissimos to die for.”
BBC Music Magazine - November 2013
Choice of the Month: * * * * *
“… utterly moving, as a result of a truly great modesty which cannot be replaced by simplicity or unpretentiousness; a modesty without any sentimentality. The musicians know, with minute precision, how to guard the boundary between the intimacy of chamber music and the sweeping grandeur of a large-scale concert, only achievable by artists whose capacities and experience are on an equally high level.” FonoForum - November 2013
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“When Trio ShahamErezWallfisch was founded in 2009, it was welcomed with great enthusiasm, and again now this trio has hit – exactly like it did with its first recording – with breathtaking brilliance, pungency and precision. All of this fully in support of the music. We could be using more superlatives here, but this recording, in my opinion, is an absolutely essential one for French chamber music, and one which any self-respecting music lover would want to have in their collection. The recording itself is extremely accurate and detailed. Highest recommendation!”
Luister Magazine - October 2013
“This delightful tranche of French chamber music opens with an exquisite account of Ravel’s 1914 Piano Trio. The first movement is delicate and precious, the staccato of the ‘Pantoum’ second movement is bone dry, punctuated with lush outbursts, the Passacaille is bleak and inexorable, and the finale builds to impressive grandeur. It’s a wonderful performance, and each movement in its way is a masterclass in pace and fluid structure. It is already a hard act to follow. The opening of Debussy’s Cello Sonata is unsettling and emotionally eloquent – Raphael Wallfisch opens up a private world, with ArnonErez in discreet support (Erez is superb throughout). He navigates Debussy’s mercurial mood swings, his excursions into the grotesque and the ecstatic, with narrative flair, at once suave and intimate. In the Violin Sonata, HagaiShaham produces clean, unfussy playing, cool but seductive. The second movement trips along happily, with many a sly portamento to balance the dry eccentricities, and the finale has a kind of debonair authority, straightforward and ebullient.Together again, the players capture the strange landscape of Fauré’s Piano Trio, with its strong musical purpose and other-worldliness. The slow movement is sublime, the finale robust and energetic. The recorded balance between the players in all their various formations is exemplary.”
The Strad - October 2013
“HagaiShaham, ArnonErez and Raphael Wallfisch are all internationally acclaimed artists. It is obvious from the first magical bars, that they are fully attuned to the subtleties and nuances in this music. The pianist beautifully captures the haunting, modally inflected first subject, and his partners display similar tonal finesse and refinement without losing a sense of urgency and momentum when required. The Fauré trio is even more successful; here, the Trio manages to balance the understatement and elusive melancholy in the music without ever sounding maudlin or sentimental. These performances come very close to replacing my benchmark Beaux Arts recording from 1983. The two Debussy sonatas, both miracles of concentrated form and quirky inventiveness, prove perfect vehicles for the cellist and violinist, who both play with a near-ideal mixture of flexible expression and authority, and again pianist Erez is a sensitive partner.”
Federation Of Recorded Music Society - September 2013
“The first point to make about this new issue is that it is exceptionally well planned. Four important works are gathered together from three important composers. Raphael Wallfisch and AmonErez capture this implied mood to perfection, aided - as are the other pieces - by the particularly fine Nimbus recording, combining atmosphere and accuracy. So too is the performance of HagaiShaham and AmonErez, which is beautifully phrased and balanced.Shaham, Erez and Wallfisch play with consummate skill, achieving a splendidly balanced texture,. The music confirms that Fauré’s powers remained at their height, and its three movements reveal a conception of chamber music on the large scale across a span of more than twenty minutes. Shaham, Wallfisch and Erez render the central Andantino with great sensitivity of tone and phrasing, while bringing strength and urgency to the more lively outer movements.”
MusicWebInternational- July 26, 2013
“They are among the most prominent solo-virtuosos of our time: HagaiShaham, Raphael Wallfisch and ArnonErez. They play with the most famous orchestras and under the greatest conductors. But the message, that they have also been around as a really wonderful chamber music trio, still hasn’t quite reached everywhere yet. Here at last we have an ensemble consisting of three Stars who together as a trio still make a gorgeous impression. It’s pure bliss to listen to these three musicians and the way they are utterly together through their trio. Here, every single player is allowed to radiate brilliance and yet, at the same time, each player knows how to hold back, in total support of the music and its interpretation. This recording is a blessing because it brings back some old virtues, like the art of listing to each other, the art of breathing together and the art of taking the time for interpretational concepts, for the right swing, which then seems to be carrying the musicians together on a wave. As a comparison for the Trio ShahamErezWallfisch it’s the Beaux Arts Trio that comes to mind immediately, which really says it all: conservative, possibly a little old-fashioned, but utterly soulful, with great empathy and simply impossible to criticize, referring to both playing-technique and intonation. This recording, of four undisputed masterpieces from the 20th century French chamber music repertoire, in an absolutely perfect performance, is a recording that sets the mark. May we have many more like this one please!”
The-listener.de - August 2013
“Trio ShahamErezWallfisch comprises of three of the finest instrumentalists of our time. These players are right inside Ravel’s idiom, drawing so much of his exquisite nostalgia from the music. In the faster sections there is some scintillating playing. The spiky opening to the second movement Pantoum: Assezvif yields to a rolling melody in what is effectively the scherzo, with some fine playing and spot on ensemble. As the music returns to the opening motif there is some lovely string playing. The Passacaille: Très large highlights the individual merits of these fine artists, in this beautifully paced movement, where they slowly build the drama and emotion in an arch like form. The rhythmically changing Finale: Animé receives a terrific performance, full of drama and power with terrific playing in the striking coda. There is simply lovely playing from Wallfisch and Erez in Debussy’s ambivalent Cello Sonata, by turns confident and melancholy, with so many lovely details. Shaham, Wallfsich and Erez immediately bring out the ambivalent feel of the Allegro, ma non troppoFauré’s late masterpiece. There are moments of poignancy that these players point up so well, swaying from one mood to another. There is a gentle, resigned Andantino that develops into a lovely duet for violin and cello with lovely playing from Shaham and Wallfisch. There are superbly built climaxes leading to a gentle coda. In the final Allegro vivo, the violin and cello give the opening outbursts with the piano scurrying around them to disperse any melancholy or gloom in this lively, joyful allegro, so unlike the opening allegro. These fine players bring a special magic to this music. They are beautifully recorded with the balance of these artists finely done. A lot of fine chamber music recordings come my way but I was really taken by this one which shouldn’t be missed.
The Classical Reviewer - July 23, 2013
“It is the energy and positive approach of these musicians to Ravel’s chamber masterpiece which are so impressive here, their concept of the work convincing at every level… I was particularly taken with ArnonErez’s playing in the slow movement of the Fauré, so superbly does he phrase, never overpowering his colleagues… this is chamber music-making of high quality throughout, the musicians clearly of one mind in their approach to these works… Performances of the standard on this disc are not achieved overnight; the playing in both Sonatas is alive and concentrated from violinist and cellist respectively, and they are admirably partnered by this outstanding pianist, a truly fine chamber musician.”
International Record Review- April 2013
“This release by the Trio ShahamErezWallfisch benefits from including works that speak to one another. The underrated Debussy violin and cello sonatas are dark, mercurial works that seem in this fine reading by violinist HagaiShaham to strain against the confines of the medium. The Ravel Piano Trio expands into Ravel's distinctive language. Perhaps the most revelatory here is the late Piano Trio of Gabriel Fauré, an uncharacteristically concise piece that has a rather mystic feel. The performances of the individual works are sterling, with a fine, precise ensemble and long lines that are the essence of French lyricism. Highly recommended for chamber music buffs, with none of the music being exactly frequently performed.”
Recording: Mendelssohn: Piano Trios, Schumann: Klavierstücke, Nimbus Records:
“These musicians have been playing together as a group only since 2009 (although violinist HagaiShaham and pianist Arnon Erez have a longer history as a duo), but already they sound like a seasoned ensemble, well integrated, with each musician sensitive and responsive to the input of the others. All of them have also pursued careers as soloists, and individually their playing is of the highest quality. Shaham and cellist Raphael Wallfisch perform with ample, well-centered tone and flawless accuracy, and the pianism of Erez is equally admirable for its precision and clarity… In terms of sound quality, the new Nimbus release is the best of them in realism, spaciousness, clarity, detail, and precise placement of the instruments. It is a superb recording.”
Fanfare Magazine - Nov/Dec 2012
“The restrained opening cello theme of the D minor work sets the scene for three distinguished soloists playing together as if for their own pleasure, never for a moment upstaging one another in a movement that can so often become a series of accompanied solos… Throughout the score they bring ample fire and excitement at the appropriate moments, and part of the finale reaches a white-heat intensity in an account that sings of love and passion… these players bring a spontaneity that captures the lyrical fervour of the work’s outer movements, and the Andante espressivo moves with more urgency than we normally hear.”
The Strad - August 2012
“This ensemble turns both Mendelssohn trios and Schumann’s Canons opus 56 into a musical feast. Lyricism and expression are at the core of this performance…. full of passion and emotion. Shaham and Wallfisch give it their all with their warm andexpressive playing, and pianist Erez plays his piano with extraordinary clarity. Utterly moving is their interpretation of the second movement of the first trio. This ensemble is a perfect match for Mendelssohn – melodious in the andante’s, light and sparkling like champagne in the scherzo’s. The trio’s sheer pleasure of playing is bouncing off this beautifully recorded CD”
KlassiekeZaken - August 2012
“The debut collaboration of these three distinguished soloists is less of an ego-fest than you might imagine. The reciprocity in their playing allows you to listen to it as chamber music for its own sake rather than the musical curiosity these all-star combinations can often be. Their ensemble in the hymn-like opening theme in the first movement of the C minor Trio is like one voice, making it infectiously joyful. ArnonErez bringing a lyrical quality to the opening of the second movement of the D minor Trio, which he makes almost a song without words in its own right. The disc’s programming is as enjoyable as much for its conception as its substance.”
Gramophone Magazine - June 2012
“Their performance has a charming coolness of a fresh forest spring. The Scherzo is clearly articulated, the added weight and roughness emphasize the folk-dance qualities. The presentation is very well put together. The coda is excellent: fiery and ecstatic. Overall, the performance is expressive and accentuated. They bring to light all the colors of Mendelssohn’s palette. The drive is excellent, and there is no shortage of excitement. The finale is not too fast, it has good weight, and a resolute, full voice. It is a powerful and beautiful reading: grand and imposing. This performance of Schumann seems to me ideal – emotive, with full sound and good balance, unrushed and beautiful. The Romantic attitude of the performers is especially noticeable here, as literally every note has a Romantic expressiveness. I must emphasize the full, ripe sound of the cello, which usually suffers the most from recording balance problems in a piano trio. However, the ‘bigger’ cello does not overturn the balance: it is just heard really well. String instruments are sonorous and juicy. The recording is very detailed with the listener placed right between the instruments. I would endorse this disc for the Schumann, which is interesting and rarely heard. The Mendelssohn trios receive good quality readings.”
MusicWebInternational- June 2012
“This is an impressive, well-nigh perfect pair of performances of the wonderful Mendelssohn Piano Trios, here so wonderfully played as to make the listener want to curl up with pleasure: it is spot-on. The result is eminently worthwhile, especially in such beautiful and polished playing as these musicians convey. This is a really fine disc and I very much hope that these musicians go on to make many more recordings of this quality. Their accounts of this music are wonderfully compelling and wholly convincing. They appear to ‘hit it off’ together without reservation. The ShahamErezWallfisch Trio reveals the majesty and intensity of the composer’s invention exceptionally well, displaying a musical virtuosity which is throughout placed at the service of the music, which here produces the most admirable musical understanding.”
International Record Review - April 2012
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“Probably the most dazzling I have heard."
American Record Guide - April 2012
“The Trio ShahamErezWallfisch are clearly in their element: their music making sparkles with joy. Of all the chamber music recordings I have heard recently, this is one of the very best.”
Luster - April/May 2012