The Shaham's, violinist Gil and his most exquisitely playing sister Orli, performed a delicacy of a concert at the Kennedy Center last Sunday (November 7). On a perfect autumn day, there was—short of staying outside—nothing more gently civilized and fun to do than follow the WPAS's call. That would have been possible even on a whim, as plenty of tickets were available at the door.
Three Mozart violin sonatas (42 to go) were the light and easily enjoyable treats in the first half. To lean back and enjoy beautiful music that, for all its undeniable quality, is not a terribly serious affair was a nice change from emotionally more taxing late Beethoven or Mahler—recent parts of my musical diet. Mlle. Shaham's fleet fingers dotted all the notes, not forgetting musicality and occasional force along the way. Her brother, meanwhile, played unpretentiously and with visible joy. It was like being witness to a friendly afternoon of Hausmusik. K. 305, K. 301, and K. 304 (in A major, G major, and E minor, respectively) showed how "light" and "pretty" need not be gentle putdowns. In fact, regularly enjoyed Mozart is like a musical detox, so naturally falls his musical idiom in place.
Gil & Orli Shaham, Prokofiev Album
Gil & Orli Shaham, The Fauré Album
More F minor Prokofiev, but of a very different character, was given as an encore, a movement from the second sonata, op. 12, topped things off with good humor. A bon-bon followed and then—Gil Shaham "promised" it would be the last one—Fauré's Clair de Lune, op. 46, no. 2, from their "Fauré Album" concluded the program.