Recital offers a world of music

CATS: Rebecca Asch and Leila Miller closed the program with “Memories” BP Photo by Rabbi Feinerman

Kalil Eden, Staff Writer

In between Shacharit and Mincha March 4, the Beit Midrash enjoyed its other role as musical performance space when students performed during lunch period in the second-ever Shalhevet Piano Recital.

“I’ve always known that Shalhevet has many talented musicians, but I was still taken aback by the skill at the piano recital,” said sophomore Leila Miller, who has been playing piano for seven years. “It was a really casual ‘let’s-just-play-music’ kind of atmosphere, typical to Shalhevet. 

This time around, eight pianists participated instead of just two, and there were freshmen, sophomores and juniors on the program. Senior David Soroudi had planned to play, but was not in performing condition due to the vigorous setup of the senior prank the night before.

The piano took center stage and 40-plus people semi-filled the rather optimistic layout of chairs. The pieces covered a range of historical periods, country of origin, and mood, with each performance decorated by Mrs. Keene’s commentary and a lesson to the players in how to bow to the audience.

The first piece, “The Sword Dance,” by Aram Khachaturian, a 20th-century Armenian composer, was played by freshman Michael Lenett. Choppy and dramatic, it was heavy on the left hand, and you could easily imagine it accompanying the jigsaw killer on his bicycle.

Up next came his classmates Jordan Banafsheha and Danny Silberstein in a blast from the past with “Hit the Road, Jack,” composed by Percy Mayfields. The lively duet was punctuated with Danny’s enthusiastic grunts, and the pair bowed in unison when it was over, never looking up at the audience while bowing straightly from the waist.

“The piano recital was freakin’ exhilarating,” remarked Danny. 

David Czinner, a junior, followed with “River Flows in You,” which was quite a contrast to the previous two pieces. Composed by Yiruma, a Korean composer born in 1978, it had a sad melody, treading lightly on both hands. The song quieted the audience, and many members recognized it from the Twilight films.

The recital’s first female pianist, junior Rebecca Asch, was next with “Angel Eyes” by Jim Brickman, an American composer. It matched the pace of Czinner’s piece nicely, bringing the slower songs to a more modern and Western taste.

Sophomore Leila Miller, also the accompanist for the Shalhevet choir, then performed “Storm” by Yohan Burgmuller, a 19th-century German composer. The music emulated the evolution of a storm, passing complicated riffs faster than you could say hemdemisemiquaver, and ending gracefully.

Adam Sharabi then played another Yiruma song, “Kiss the Rain.” It fit consistently in the composer’s gentle yet emotive style, layered with a sad and pretty right hand riff on top of light chords.

“I heard Adam playing that in the Beit Midrash one day and that’s when I knew we needed to have a piano recital,” said Mrs. Keene, while Adam correctly took his bow.

The recital closed with “Memories,” from the broadway musical Cats. Leila Miller played the piano part and Rebecca Asch accompanied on the flute.

“I liked when Rebecca Asch played the flute because it was very unique and different, and I love the way how it beautifully flowed with the piano,” commented freshman Gabi Golan.

The audience consisted of mostly girls and a handful of boys, and responded well to all of the pieces, showing its appreciation with enthusiastic applause. “Memories” and “River Flows in You” were consistently named as favorites by audience members when asked, though of course they might not have remembered the names of the other pieces.

“They were all really amazing and they all seemed confident and everything played was beautiful,” commented freshman Rachel Friedman, an audience member who is also an avid pianist herself, though she claims she will never perform in a Shalhevet recital.