Sparkle and Polish
Robin Zebaida plays
piano rarities -
'... musical appeal is immediate.'
The most off-putting aspect of the concert hall recital scene is the way programme announcers and so-called critical experts endeavour to educate the public in chosen repertoire together with a repetitious range of superlatives dished out before and after performances. It implies a lack of honesty and insight where regular and first-time listeners are linked together then led on to accept irrelevant assessments and praises based on overloud and overfast performances.
The ability to phrase the music in a poetic style, to make the piano 'sing' and communicate to audiences, belongs to the chosen few. Today, the description 'Great' should be reserved, instead, for past musical virtuosi. One of the quieter and studious deep thinkers is a personal colleague -- often seen, when he is not actually performing -- concentrating on some of the more worthwhile performers at London's Wigmore Hall. Born and educated in London, Robin Zebaida's sensitive playing has also commended itself to the BBC, Foreign Radio and TV networks and countries like Hong Kong and Australia. Popular with audiences and interviewers, his childhood teacher was Ann Driver, represented by two pieces on this new CD. Later private teachers are Leslie Howard, celebrated for Liszt and Russian music, and the veteran Joseph Seiger, one time partner of the celebrated Mischa Elman.
Robin has chosen one of the most difficult media for recording -- rare miniatures of outstanding significance and contrasting values -- twenty-eight in all, each imbued with characteristic subtlety, beauty and wit, typical of the personalities of their composers, and in some instances, arrangers. To write that the results, overall, gave me great pleasure is an understatement. Along with an understanding of each piece comes an appreciation of the historical status they occupy in developing our love of music from the Romantic period. With informed liner notes, clever selection and continuity, musical appeal is immediate. The essence, after all, concerns creator-performers from a particular age, entertaining beloved audiences. Their spirit is here revitalised!
Copyright © 14 October 2006
Bill Newman, Edgware UK