Child Prodigy, Grown Up, Returns With Enthusiasm

Nov 5, 2007 | Posted by: roboblogger | Full story: New York Times

The striking thing was the crowd. Elisha Abas, 35, a former child prodigy on the piano, returned to Carnegie Hall , or at least to Weill Recital Hall, on Saturday night with a program of classical standards. via New York Times

Comments
1 - 3 of 3 Comments Last updated Feb 6, 2008
Musician62

United States

#1 Feb 5, 2008
As a classically trained pianist and pedagogue, who has studied at Julliard and maintains a Phd in Music, I must say that Anne Midgette's review of Abas' performance was inaccurate and absurd. I guess this is not the first time a critic has missed the boat. I was at the Abas performance at Carnegie Hall and thus I am not what Ms. Midgette described as a one of naive, unsophisticated group of under-forty-year-olds who think that music is "amazing" without recognition of the composers who created it. Having attended hundreds of concerts in my lifetime, I can say that Liszt can only be "amazing" if played well, thoughtfully, with conviction, understanding, and inspiration-- especially a piece as technically demanding as Les Funerailles!
I am therefore very disappointed in Ms. Midgette's lack of focus on the very fine, thoughtful and emotionally inspired interpretations of Elisha Abas' piano program. I have not heard such memorable performances of standard but masterful pieces such as the Chopin and Schumann that were played in years. Far from immature, I felt that Mr. Abas' playing displayed quite often enormous thoughtfulness and faithfulness to the spirit of the pieces selected. This was evidenced by the multiple standing ovations before intermission. I was very perplexed and, indeed, felt insulted to note how Ms. Midgette commented on the misinformed appearance of the audience and the party-invitation with such an arrogant tone at the expense of an attempt to understand the genuine musical qualities that created such a stir amongst the audience, especially because it did have many younger-- younger than 60 that means... members. Only then does she have the privilege to comment on how Mr. Abas may create even more of a stir at his next performances.
She obviously has no idea what she is talking about. Anne Midgette, whom later I researched, has a Bachelor's degree in Classical Civilization. Was never a practicing musician herself. What is more shocking is that Abas and his team were evidently trying to attract younger audiences and celebrate after each performance with an after-party. All this was done outside of the classical music institution with support from smaller businesses in New York. I was at the after-party and met some of New York’s brightest people and many of them were not as Ms. Midgette so ignorantly commented,“ignorant or not piano afficiandos”. The “under 40 and hip” people she describes were people of all ages and races – educated and very well cultured, including many musicians. What I learned after reading this review is that Midgette’s husband, Greg Sandow’s new career path is to bring young people back to classical music. Now, re-read the review, there is no substance in the review – it is inaccurate and is stinks with envy and personal anger! After reading this review, I did more research on her and realized that she writes reviews for theater, music and dance. Does Bernard Holland review theater? Does Bent Brantley review classical music? NO!!!! How could the New York Times have been so wrong by sending an obviously uneducated and unbiased critic to Abas’ performance? Furthermore, the review mocks the audience and assumes there was a lack of knowledge amongst them.
I was glad to learn that Abas is returning to New York – this time with a concert series! No one can deny success- if the people love him and he has a large following – who cares what one ignorant person has to say! Abas is the only pianist alive today who can play like the pianists of the golden age – I will follow his career and attend every performance that I can!
JamesWestVillage

United States

#2 Feb 6, 2008
I was just googling Elisha Abas so that I can purchase tickets for his Baruch Performing Arts Concert and saw your note. I concur. I was at the performance at Carnegie Hall and was amazed. I think this guy is the next Artur Rubinstein or Horowitz - without a doubt in my mind. As per Anne Midgette, I also agree with you- she has no clue what she is talking about. She'll be sorry one day!
DavidCohen

United States

#3 Feb 6, 2008
Elisha Abas is without a doubt the next greatest musician of our time. No one in the world compares to him. I have seen him perform on many occasions, including the performance being talked about today, and I must say, I haven't heard someone like him since Emil Gilels or Horowitz. He is a true natural-born genius. Forget what the critics write. People must see him to believe it!

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