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For piano lovers who loathed science class, an oscillation is a repetitive variation of some measure around a central point of equilibrium. Here, that point is the Israeli-born pianist Einav Yarden, long resident in America. Gifted with the kind of mature musicianship that is typically overlooked in flashy piano competitions, Yarden, now in her early 30s, has produced an exemplary CD anchored by a vividly insightful rendition of Beethoven’s Sonata No 6 in F major, Op 14 No 2.

Eschewing the cool, percussive, mechanical approach to Stravinsky’s music which many pianists adopt, misled by the composer’s own blunt-fingered performances of his works in recordings, Yarden offers warmly humane wit and animation. Stravinsky’s substantial 1924 Sonata and his shorter dance-inspired works all benefit from this reading. Yarden has the intelligence to imply that when Stravinsky wrote a polka, waltz or tango, it transcended the popular dance genre to become a commentary on human aspirations and experience. Without making Stravinsky sound more Beethovenian, she renders him as a composer with human emotions, as opposed to the robotic dazzler heard in so many student performances.

As a former student of the eminent pedagogues Leon Fleisher and Emanuel Krasovsky, both masters of metaphysical insights into Beethoven’s sound world, Yarden has clearly absorbed a profound understanding of Romantic and modern pianism. I look forward to hearing her perform Schubert, Brahms, Webern and Shostakovich.

BENJAMIN IVRY Read the full review on Agora Classica


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