Michael Davidman, Pianist - Summit Music Festival

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Donald Isler
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Michael Davidman, Pianist - Summit Music Festival

Post by Donald Isler » Sat Jul 25, 2015 1:07 am

Michael Davidman, Pianist
Summit Music Festival at Manhattanville College
Purchase, New York
July 24th, 2015

Beethoven: Sonata No. 31 in A-Flat Major, Op. 110
Chopin: Ballade No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 23
Liszt: Concerto No. 1 in E-Flat Major
Orchestra part played by Yoni Levyatov, Pianist

Michael Davidman is an exceptionally talented 18 year old musician, a recent graduate of Hunter College High School in New York City, and the Manhattan School of Music Precollege Division. His piano studies for the last 10 years have been with the eminent pianist and pedagogue, Efrem Briskin.

Beethoven's Sonata Op. 110 is not a "young man's piece," as it is so deep, but it is never too early to get into it. Mr. Davidman already "gets" much of it. The first movement was very dignified, spacious and reverent. He understands that it is very spiritual, and he sought interesting parts to emphasize, such as the bass line in the development section. The second movement was strong, and not too fast, though he played the difficult trio section, with all those tricky cross hand jumps, faster. The quasi-recitativo opening of the third movement was played at a rather straight tempo, and with flat dynamics. However, the Klagender Gesang (plaintive song) was much more expressively played, and the last movement was very good, with a strong ending.

A teacher once said to a student of his performance "That was very exciting; maybe too exciting!" I sometimes had that feeling listening to Mr. Davidman play the Chopin G Minor Ballade. He plays with such ease, and delight, that it must be great fun to play very fast. One can even understand the logic behind some of his decisions. Yet, the Ballade seems too wonderful a work for so much of it to go by so quickly.

Michael Davidman was born to play works like the Liszt Concerto. I heard him play it a few months ago as winner of the Manhattan School of Music Precollege Division Concerto Competition. Indeed, at that performance, he created a sensation as he seemed to race the orchestra to the conclusion. One was reminded of the famous Horowitz vs. Beecham race to the finish of the Tchaikovsky First Concerto, as they made their New York debuts together in 1928. (Horowitz won.) Mr. Davidman has power, fantastically clean scales, and arpeggios, and seems to just shake massive octaves out of his arms. He has a beautiful tone, a wide range of expression and he never does anything unmusical. As at the previous performance, there was a huge accelerando and a massive piling up of sound at the end. (The orchestra part was excellently played by pianist Yoni Levyatov.)

Mr. Davidman concluded this very demanding program, which lasted all of about 50 minutes, with excerpts from Puccini's operas, Tosca and La Boheme. These transcriptions, as I guessed correctly, were made by the pianist, a serious opera lover. (He did tell me, afterwards, that, in contrast with the Liszt transcriptions, no notes were added to the original scores.) They were beyond gorgeous.

Donald Isler
Donald Isler

Ricordanza
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Re: Michael Davidman, Pianist - Summit Music Festival

Post by Ricordanza » Sat Jul 25, 2015 6:51 am

Donald Isler wrote:Mr. Davidman concluded this very demanding program, which lasted all of about 50 minutes, with excerpts from Puccini's operas, Tosca and La Boheme. These transcriptions, as I guessed correctly, were made by the pianist, a serious opera lover. (He did tell me, afterwards, that, in contrast with the Liszt transcriptions, no notes were added to the original scores.) They were beyond gorgeous.
Wow. The whole program sounds great, but playing his own transcriptions is icing on the cake.

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Re: Michael Davidman, Pianist - Summit Music Festival

Post by Lance » Mon Aug 10, 2015 10:49 pm

As you know, Michael Davidman appeared in our own series - Classical Pianists of the Future - in Binghamton, New York, where we offered a concert of operatic singing after which he played transcriptions. He brought the house down, as we expected he would.
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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