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Barnatan and Shaham communicate deeply at Strathmore

Inon Barnatan, Gil Shaham
The Washington Examiner

By Marie Gullard

Two musicians, together onstage for the first time in recital, can be a daunting prospect even for the most seasoned performers.

"You're never sure until the first rehearsal how you will be in sync," said Israeli-born pianist Inon Barnatan, who performs with violinist Gil Shaham on Sunday at the Music Center at Strathmore. "You play the first notes and if it doesn't work, then it doesn't matter how many rehearsals you have, it won't sound like a unified performance. Gil and I are very lucky because it works!"

With far more talent than luck, the two will perform works by Bach, Schubert and Franck in this evening's concert presented by the Washington Performing Arts Society.

Together with Shaham, pianist Barnatan performs the Schubert Sonatina No. 2 in A minor, D 38. This brilliant interpreter of Schubert's piano works has been called "a born Schubertian" by Gramophone magazine. London's Evening Standard wrote, "[H]e is a true poet of the keyboard: refined, searching [and] unfailingly communicative."

The two close the program with Franck's Sonata in A major for violin and piano.

"With this Sonata, you're in for a treat," Barnatan said. "This is one of the greatest pieces ever performed; so much so that almost every instrument in existence has made an arrangement of that music. Everybody wants to play this piece because Franck has a very special language somewhere between impressionism and the romantic. It's amazing and very dramatic."

At the close of their second rehearsal together, Barnatan breathed deeply and said, "We knew that this was a great collaboration -- the chemistry is there; one word and the other knows exactly what you mean. That type of communication runs deep."