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Pianist Evgeny Kissin "Unforgettable" in Concert of Jewish Music and Poetry at Kennedy Center, Writes Washington Post's Anne Midgette

By Classicalite Newsdesk on Feb 27, 2014 04:48 PM EST

Evgeny Kissin has pulled off a brilliant coup with his latest project, an exploration of Jewish music and Yiddish poetry--both performed by him. And the performance, at Washington's Kennedy Center, was hailed by Washington Post critic Anne Midgette as one of the finest things she had ever witnessed.

As Midgette points out, there is a concerted movement especially among younger performers to think about less traditional ways of presenting classical music. Kissin has never been a notable member of their ranks. Oh, he has been part of some astonishing firsts (the first pianist to be accorded a solo piano concert at a prime-time, Royal Albert Hall, BBC Prom, for instance) and nobody seriously doubts the magisterial level of his talent.

But reading poetry? Kissin has often come across as music and nothing but.

In recent years, though, he has taken an active and public interest in other things, especially where it concerns Israel, of which country he is such an admirer that he recently became an Israeli citizen. Even so, Yiddish poetry seems quite a leap. Of faith.

Wrote Midgette:

"...that he is a brilliant stage animal in every respect; that he could appear to have stepped into another character and be channeling some fictive Yiddish literary eminence, down to the inflections and the physical gestures; that he could savor and convey the words and emotions of a written text as he does the notes of a printed score, was not something I, at least, had suspected. Which is a failure of my own imagination, since reason would dictate that Kissin, with a lifetime of stage experience, would not take such a risk if he didn't know he could pull it off."

Equally high praise was accorded the music--works by Bloch, Alexander Veprik, Alexander Krein and Moyshe Milner.

It was, concluded Midgette, "an evening I will remember all my life."

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TagsEvgeny Kissin, Washington Post, Anne Midgette, Kennedy Center, Bloch, Alexander Veprik, Alexander Krein, Moyshe Milner