Mendelssohn – Piano Trios

  • Trio no. 1 op. 49 in D minor
  • Trio no. 2 op. 66 in C mino

Schumann (arr. Kirchner) – 6 Canonic pieces op 56

Hagai Shaham, violin * Arnon Erez – piano * Raphael Wallfisch - cello

Ninbus Recordings NI5875 Released 2012

‘The debut collaboration of these three distinguished soloists is less of an ego-fest than you might imagine. The reciprocity in their playing allows you to listen to it as chamber music for its own sake rather than the musical curiosity these all-star combination can often be - they only show their soloists' mettle when appropriate, and in a way that makes this disc feel appealingly like you are having your cake and eating it (there is an engaging amount of this in the D minor Trio in particular, which is never over-egged, despite the first movement being a definite self-indulgence risk). Their ensemble in the hymn-like opening theme in the first movement of the C minor Trio is like one voice but rolls into three distinct opinions as the piece progresses, making it infectiously joyful in all its innate Mozartian intelligence and humour.’Gramophone Magazine

‘This is an impressive, well-nigh perfect pair of performances of the wonderful Mendelssohn piano trios… Their accounts of this music are wonderfully compelling and wholly convincing. They appear to ‘hit it off’ together without reservation, and their approach to this music constitutes a distinguished contribution to our understanding Mendelssohn’s genius as a composer of chamber music. These two works have much in common... The Shaham-Erez-Wallfisch Trio reveals the majesty and intensity of the composer's invention exceptionally we1l, at all times fully absorbed into the onward progression of the music, which never loses its inherent momentum - so essential in Mendelssohn. (Schumann) The result is eminently worthwhile, especially in such beautiful and polished playing as these musicians convey.

…wonderfully played as to make the listener want to curl up with pleasure: it is spot-on. Mendelssohn wrote chamber music all his life, and I am sure he would have welcomed these performances with open arms. They are very well recorded and beautifully balanced into the bargain.’               International Records Review

‘Probably the most dazzling I have heard.’   American Record Guide

Excellently balanced, first class performances, sensitive and imaginative music-making.

‘This is a most distinguished example of chamber music making by a relatively recent ensemble, all of whom are well known to record buyers and concert-goers. The core of the partnership is that of Shaham and Erez, who are duo partners. Their flowering into a trio, via the addition of Wallfisch, sets fair to enrich the discography with perceptive, malleable and finely considered performances if this inaugural disc is anything to go by.

(C minor trio) The trio avoids undue rubati, ensuring that the spine of the music-making presses forward though never at the expense of breathing phraseology, when required of them. A splendid balance is thus maintained between momentum and consideration. The slow movement is full of restrained poetry, rapt yet chaste, enriched by touching little violin lines. The scherzo is astutely and wristily bowed and the finale is excitingly proclaimed, albeit energised through the most subtle and precise of means – plenty of clarity amidst the strong and heroic chorale, therefore.

(D minor trio) Again the playing is sensitively shaped, lyrical and avoiding heaviness. Shaham’s vibrato is often quite light and quick and he and Wallfisch ensure that vibrato speeds and colours are consonant and consistent. Opportunities to saturate the Andante are wisely resisted, the trio preferring a just balance between the dictates of expression and those of scale and architecture. A particularly fine example of this is the way they shape and project the elfin qualities of the scherzo.

(Schumann) is played with elegance and deft rhythm.

Given excellently balanced recordings, these first class performances are evidence of sensitive and imaginative music-making.’
MusicWeb International

‘The Erez Shaham Wallfisch Trio can be heard in his element with this wonderful music: the musical joy splashed away, and it is contagious. This is one of the best chamber music recordings I've heard lately. Highest recommendation.’
Luister, Holland


Joseph Achron Complete Suites for Violin & Piano (2 CD album)

Hebrew Melody op.33. Two Hebrew Pieces op.35 : Hebrew Dance / Hebrew Lullaby. Eli Zion. Prelude op.13. Souvenir de Varsovie op.14. Coquetterie op.15. Serenade op.17. Les sylphides op.18. Berceuse op.20. Dance Improvisation op.37. Scher op.42. Marchen op.46. Liebeswidmung op.51. Canzonetta op.52 No.2. Zwei Stimmungen op.32 : No 1 in D minor / No.2 in B minor. Zwei Stimmungen op.36 : No.1 in G minor / No.2 in B major. Two Pastels op.44 : No.1 in A minor / No.2 in E minor. Stempenyu Suite. Suite No.1 'en style ancien' op.21. Suite No 2 op.22. Quatre Tableaux fantastiques 'Suite No.3' op.23. Suite bizarre 'Cycles des rythmes Suite No 4' op.41. Children's Suite (arr. Jascha Heifetz) . Pensee de Leopold Auer. La romanesca.     

Hagai  Shaham – violin Arnon Erez – piano
Hyperion record CDA67841 Released March 2012

Five Stars review BBC Magazine

'Shaham and Erez deliver outstandingly committed performances, revelling in the music's virtuosity, fantasy and heightened intensity of expression' BBC Music Magazine 

Highly expressive, colourful playing brings out all their harmonic and textural subtleties. I'm sure this experienced team's sensitive collaboration would have delighted the composer. If you know Achron's music, you'll want to acquire this set; if he's new to you, I can assure you he's well worth investigating’ Gramophone Magazine

Rewarding exploration of the music of a neglected composer

‘Hagai Shaham’s performances are strong, agile and technically impressive throughout, and his intense vibrato adds to the soulful quality that characterizes Hebrew Melody. Strad Madazine

‘Hagai Shaham’s superb playing drips with all of the emotional directness the best of Jewish music can deliver…The brilliance of Hagai Shaham’s playing is a major draw, from folk-music derived vocalisation to Parisian wit and savoir-faire.’  Musicweb-International 

‘Israeli violinist Hagai Shaham is a long-time advocate of the music of violinist and composer Joseph Achron... Shaham delivers them with a delectably light touch.’ Irish Times 

‘Hagai Shaham has terrific kitsch control, essential in this syrupy music.’ OL Weekly

Five Stars review

‘A weighty step to Joseph Achron’s discography… this publication of Shaham and Erez cannot be over praised…it is it for the exquisite interpretation of this interesting and beautiful music!’ Codaex Germany 

‘Eminently sweet and impassioned, the music bids farewell to a recital thoroughly engaged in the folk and ethnic energies of one of the world’s more under-rated composers’ Audiophile Audition Magazine


Ferdinand David - Violin Concertos

  • Violin Concerto #4 in E major Op. 23
  • Andante and Scherzo Capriccioso Op. 16
  • Violin Concerto #5 in D minor  Op. 35

Hagai Shaham, violin BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra/Martin Brabbins
Hyperion CDA67804 (59' • DDD) Released October 2010

‘Hagai Shaham’s playing is sweetness itself, and he is secure in every technical detail, no matter how high David asks him to climb and how many prestidigitational hoops he must leaps through… This disc offers an hour of unremitting pleasure which you would be daft to deny yourself”
International Records Review

Hagai Shaham pulls off that great virtuoso trick of making the music sound complex, but also making clear that he has every note under his fingers and that he is not sweating it. To non-violinist listeners, the greatest attraction of this music is its lyricism, and Shaham always brings this to the fore, especially in the exquisitely crafted middle movements. There is a slight grain to his tone which is not unattractive, in fact it creates an almost vocal quality to his lower register. There are some endearing inflections in his playing, tiny portamento slides, or delayed ornaments at the ends of phrases, no doubt the sort of things that David himself indulged in, and done with such taste and discretion that it is hard to complain.’
Music Web International

‘Soloist Hagai Shaham delivers a fastidious and vivacious sympathy to the flow of figures, a real acolyte of an otherwise marginal repertory. The first movement coda is all silky luster and brilliant ornament… The blockbuster ending resounds boldly, and Shaham has many times sung like Mischa Elman reborn.’
Audiophile Audition

"Hagai Shaham's playing is hypnotizing once again and very natural."  Klassiekezaken, Netherland 

‘Beautifully caught in the playing of Hagai Shaham.’  Irish Times

‘Hagai Shaham convinced at this thoroughly inspired … by powerful, yet soulful playing. This balance between temperament and emotion, characteristic of the violin concertos of David, just benefits the hauntingly beautiful slow movements, and also contributes to good sound for the recordings.’  Codaex.de

‘His memorable concerts are so tricky-complex that they were forgotten. Nun bekommen sie durch Hagai Shaham in Hyperions verdienstvoller Serie eine fulminante Ehrenrettung. Now they get by Hagai Shaham in Hyperion's series deserving a brilliant vindication’  Der Speigel


Ernö Dohnányi

  • Violin sonata
  • Ruralia Hungarica
  • Romanza (from Orchestral Suite no. 1 op. 19,arr. Heifetz)

Leoš Janácek

  • Violin sonata
  • Dumka
  • Romance
  • Allegro
  • A Blown-away leaf (from “On an Overgrown Path”, arr. Jan Štedron) 

Hagai  Shaham – violin Arnon Erez – piano

Hyperion record CDA67699 Released April 2010

(Dohnanayi sonata) ‘Exceptionally well written for the violin, as Hagai Shaham proves, his work attains a high level of expressivity that transcends its stylistic influences. That declamatory first movement showcases Shaham’s thick, almost viscous tone, which also shows itself to advantage in the main thematic sections of what serves as the sonata’s slow movement. Shaham and Erez pause to punctuate the second movement’s lines, and they make the finale’s rhythms charge forward with the strength and energy of one of Brahms’s scherzos, though they finally bring the movement to a quiet conclusion…

( Ruralia Hungarica) ‘Shaham and Erez play the first movement, Presto, with gusto, converting melodic matter into energy in a nuclear burst. The second movement, andante rubato alla Zingaresca, might serve as an independent Gypsy piece, as intensely expressive as the opening of Ravel’s Tzigane or (in a somewhat different ethnic vein) Bloch’s Nigun. Shaham, who explored the music of Bloch and Hubay, has certainly demonstrated his affinity with this kind of rhapsodic gesticulation, just as he does here. In the concluding Molto vivace, he sets out on a vigorous virtuoso romp…

(Janáček Sonata) ‘Shaham and Erez play with rich-toned urgency in the first movement and an unsentimental sensitivity in the second…Shaham plays with a uniform beauty of tone that nonetheless doesn’t sandpaper the sonata’s edges, as his account of the bumptious figures that interrupt the third movement demonstrate. These continue into the fourth movement, providing an almost disturbing interruption that Shaham doesn’t minimize but doesn’t emphasize, either. For those who find this sonata a bit thorny, a performance like Shaham’s with Erez might prompt a reevaluation.

‘The kinetic Allegro, once part of the Violin Sonata, receives a performance so intriguing timbrally and rhythmically that it’s hard to understand why Janáček ultimately rejected it…Hyperion’s recorded sound, close up and live, heightens the urgency of these readings, as well as that of the music itself. For the instrumentalists’ compelling performances of Dohnányi’s less familiar music and for the lyric appeal they bring to Janáček, Shaham’s and Erez’s recital earns a strong commendation.’   FANFARE Magazine

 (Dohnanyi sonata) ‘Hagai Shaham and Arnon Erez give an absolutely excellent reading of it – especially in the delightful finale, where their individual phrasing of the catchy rondo theme is a constant delight. Their subtlety in the humour of the middle movement is equally winning and further demonstrates their fine musicianship. As the work approaches its final coda, the mood darkens, but a deep frown crosses the face of the music – and these artists’ exposition of the changing mood of the work as it winds its way down is, in its way, very moving… 

Janacek music is more difficult to hang together in performance, but such is the concentration and deep musicality of both artists here that one is compelled to follow the natural arguments of each composer. I cannot recall a more engrossing account of the Ballada movement that the one here – this is a very fine performance indeed, and the closing bars are outstandingly well played – very moving. The succeeding Allegretto is and absolute delight. Overall, as with Dohnanyi’s sonata, this is music-making of high quality… Another winner from Hyperion’  International Record Review

‘The strongly Brahmsian Sonata is given a warm and affectionate reading, the central variation movement imaginatively characterised with Shaham's honeted tone proving an ideal foil for Arnon Erez's bold and dynamic piano playing. But it's the more folksy Ruralia hungarica that draws the most compelling performance, Shaham negotiating the challenging violin pyrotechnics of the outer movements with impressive powerhouse playing as well as delivering a wonderfully atmospheric Andante rubato alla Zingaresca’   BBC Music Magazine

Shaham and Erez give an excellent performance, Shaham's seductive tone and elegant phrasing being well matched by Erez's sensitive touch. The Ruralia hungarica pieces show the composer's more nationalistic side but are still fairly traditional in their approach to folk material. Shaham is in his element here - the brilliant final piece carefree and dashing in style, the preceding, improvisatory Andante rubato alla zingaresca graceful and stylish'   Gramophone

'Hagai Shaham gives a deliciously rich and eloquent account of Dohnányi's Violin Sonata, positively old fashioned in its generous vibrato and abundance of portamentos. He is adept at combining broad-spanned lyricism with narrative dramatic flourish in one place, punching out of a rhythmic detail with the bow in another, before heading into the upper reaches of the E string with an ecstatic swoop. It is thrilling, captivating playing, joyous and tender. In his Ruralia Hungarica, Dohnanay shifts into a full blooded gypsy mode, to which Shaham responds with a heart-on-sleeve melodic fluidity in the central Andante ala zingaresca and stomping pesante dynamism in the high jinks of the outer movements. He is elegantly soulful in Heifetz arrangement of the Romanza.   There are sumptuous moments in Janacek's Sonata, too, but this is darker stuff, and Shaham brings to it a gentle sensibility, often contained and withdrawn in tone, his phrasing understated.  The rapport between Shaham and Arnon Erez, itself a notable feature of the disc, is quite wonderful in the tricky ensemble and fractured discourse of this sonata'      Strad Magazine

‘Hagai Shaham and Arnon Erez's glowing account of his 1921 Sonata, on their new Hyperion album, reveals a score of rich Brahmsian intent.

When Dohnanyi nods to his Slavic heritage, in the three pieces from Ruralia Hungarica, Shaham's hot-blooded performance reveals the gypsy in their collective soul.’    New Zeeland Herald (5 stars review)


Leo Weiner – Violin sonatas       

  • Sonata no. 1 op 9
  • Sonata no. 2 op 11
  • Pereg recruiting dance op. 40
  • Wedding dance op. 21b
  • Three Hungarian folk daces
  • ‘Twenty easy little pieces’

Hagai  Shaham – violin  Arnon Erez – piano

Hyperion record CDA67735 Released July 2009 

Stereoplay, CD of the Month, Aug. 2009

‘...The excellent Israeli violinist Hagai Shaham and his accompanist of many years Arnon Erez (together they won the 1990 ARD Competition) have recorded Leo Weiner’s two magnificent early violin sonatas...with such devotion and such a feeling for the sensual glow of this music that, from the very first bar, one is totally transfixed by the art of their musical seduction...Hagai Shaham links a perfect technique with the mesmerizing beauty of his fiery sound; he embodies the ideal Hungarian gipsy-violinist, the highly cultivated Prince Charming who will give it "his all“ to cast a spell on his listeners...Nowadays, violinists with such charisma have become very rare and should therefore be especially cherished...the old-fashioned magic of Shaham’s sound.’Stereoplay Magazine

‘Hagai Shaham plays with a large, richly Romantic tone and a feeling for the grand gestures in which the music delivers its messages and the ethnic matrix from which it emerged. But he also has the virtuosic flair to put across the most flamboyant numbers, such as the “Peasant’s Dance” (Csürdöngölö), the exuberant finale of the Three Hungarian Folk Dances. Recommended especially to those eager to investigate the region’s composers and music and to violinists, who will find in Weiner’s works relatively unfamiliar and highly ingratiating repertoire for their instrument.’

 Fanfare Magazine

‘Such a presentation of unknown repertoire, however, is only due to the merit of the duo Shaham / Erez. Because (these) excavations would be pretty meaningless and worthless if the interpretive quality would not be true. Hagai Shaham and Arnon Erez…exceeded all expectations by their subtlety, enormously empathetic playing. In particular, Shaham recalls his noble singing tone to the old-school virtuosos such as Isaac Stern, or even Fritz Kreisler.’
Bayerischer Rundfunk (br-online.de)

 ‘Highly enjoyable … full of charm and wit … The playing is exemplary …Shaham and Erez make the best possible case for these pieces, duly wearing hearts on sleeve where appropriate’
International Record Review 

“It’s a heady mix, eloquently realized by Shaham and Erez, with Shaham’s generous sound particularly suited to these big works…As a snapshot of Weiner’s diverse talent, it is an absorbing listen.”
Gramophone Magazine

‘Hagai Shaham and Erez Anon, duo which we often emphasizes their excellence in various rare issues, provides both a sensitive, playful and sincere interpretation. Their natural ease and sure instinct, as their instrumental mastery make this disc a pleasure to listen each instance.’


Received highest Five “Tuning Forks”                                                         Diapason

‘Shaham's pungent, occasionally acidic string tone is perfect for Weiner's mixture of extravagance and cool … Great elegance and flamboyant ease’
 The Guardian


Johannes Brahms

Hungarian Dances, WoO1 (arr. Joachim) 

Joseph Joachim

Variations in E minor                 

Hagai Shaham – violin Arnon Erez – piano

Hyperion record CDA67663 Released  June 2008

Daily Telegraph CD of the Week

 'Virtuoso performances from the Israeli violinist Hagai Shaham that get to the heart of the style … The playing fizzes with energy and suavity'
Daily Telegraph 

Classic FM CD of the Week

‘Joachim's transcription of the famous Hungarian Dances, originally written for piano duet or solo piano, are technically challenging for any violinist.  They're also full of rustic tunes and musical invention - and on this recording, Hagai Shaham performs them with real verve.’
Classsic FM

'On this recording, the Israeli violinist Hagai Shaham gives it all he's got, digging deep with a fabulous flair for this romantic style and relishing every juicy slide and glittering arabesque. Excellent accompaniment, too, from Erez’
Classsic FM Magazine 

'This is a magnificent release. Shaham and Erez have thoroughly absorbed a style that demands continual flexibility, playing together with such ease that it's easy to forget the art and care that have gone into achieving such beautiful ensemble' 
Gramophone 

'Shaham takes advantage of opportunities to pepper his readings with pregnant pauses, occasionally telegraphing a note only after he has made the listener aware of its coming. Though the pieces themselves may be highly virtuosic (on second thought, forget the ‘may be’), Shaham hardly allows these built-in difficulties to be obvious, so intent does he seem in communicating their impassioned rhetoric… Shaham explores Joachim’s more austere (musically if not technically) terrain with an insight equal to that he displayed in Brahms’s more extroverted selections. Urgently recommended to listeners of all stripes'
Fanfare Magazine

'These deservedly popular pieces overflow with charm and infectious melody … Hagai Shaham and Arnon Erez sound right inside the idiom, playing with an infectiously relaxed bravado wherever necessary, while inflecting of those timeless phrases with a suave confidence and relaxed inevitability that prevents them ever straying into camp 'geepsy' territory. Some of the trickiest figurations are hidden away in the more relaxed numbers, yet such is Shaham’s technical mastery that he dispatches them with an easy nonchalance that that completely disguises the physical effort and technical complexity involved.  There is a subtly understated charm about these performances which I enjoyed a great deal, gently cajoling us into its colourful sound-world rather than hustling us in. Most importantly, Shaham always gives the music a distinct Brahmsian lilt and never falls into the interpretative trap of playing these essentially innocent miniatures as though they were by Sarasate with an Austro-Hungarian accent…Many recordings provide just the Hungarian Dances, but Hyperion includes a typically inventive 'filler' in the form of Joachim's E minor Varations … Calum MacDonald provides an exemplary booklet note, and the recording is convincingly balanced, capturing Shaham's lithe, glistening tone to a tee'
International Record Review

'This recording by Hagai Shaham and Arnon Erez is probably the most dazzling that I have heard'
American Records Guide

‘Hagai Shaham here gives them what you might call the royal gypsy treatment in terms of rubato and inflection. Joachim's own Variations are both earnest and flashy as well as technically demanding.’ 
Irish Times

‘Violinist Hagai Shaham and pianist Arnon Erez play them with fire, flamboyance and an authentic gypsy rambunctiousness. Like the famous Viennese Waltz that requires a slightly halting rubato to produce an authentic effect, these Hungarian gypsy dances must be played with a certain abandon if they are to sound like the folk music that is their source. Both musicians inhabit this music as if born to it. It is often difficult to overcome the urge to dance. This is music that dazzles one not with its profundity but with its passion. I can think of no better recording to lift your spirits than this splendid release. The Joachim Variations in E minor that round out this disc are similar in style and make a superb filler.
Like most Hyperion recordings, this CD is blessed with superb sound. Both violin and piano are not too closely miked, producing just enough reverberance to provide a warmth and suppleness to their tone that is most appropriate to this music. The violin sounds especially rich and full, seeming to surround the piano rather than surrendering to it. The keyboard remains a subtle and faithful partner, providing all of those marvelous percussive effects that truly make these
Hungarian Dances come alive. This CD is an exciting, life-affirming disc to all who yield to its charm’. 
Audiophile Audition 

‘The Israeli duo of Hagai Shaham and Arnon Erez turn in very enjoyable performances and Shaham's technique is such that the difficulties of the violin part are never apparent; double stopped passages are despatched with ease, fast passage work is clean and exciting… the performances are wonderfully idiomatic, recapturing through Joachim's arrangements some of the authentic gypsy spirit that was, necessarily, pushed out in Brahms' piano duet originals. In the seventh dance, one of the more overtly virtuosic arrangements replete with its own mini cadenza, Shaham's use of portamento is seductive and the little dashes of colour that Joachim introduces – delicate trills added occasionally below and above the melody – are executed with nonchalant ease and style…. the performances are wonderfully idiomatic, recapturing through Joachim's arrangements some of the authentic gypsy spirit that was, necessarily, pushed out in Brahms' piano duet originals. In the seventh dance, one of the more overtly virtuosic arrangements replete with its own mini cadenza, Shaham's use of portamento is seductive and the little dashes of colour that Joachim introduces – delicate trills added occasionally below and above the melody – are executed with nonchalant ease and style… In sum then, this is a finely performed and recorded disc and if I wouldn't necessarily recommend listening to all the Hungarian Dances in one sitting, these stylish and virtuosic readings give considerable pleasure.’
MusicalCriticism.com

‘With the Israeli duo Hagai Shaham/Arnon Erez the music world has welcomed two highbred romantic musicians. Shaham, a great violin virtuoso who is a complete master of his instrument to the very highest of levels, is on top of any technical demands whatsoever and seems to be tossing off the most difficult ofdouble stops with incredible ease… This is a feast for any violin lover…Shaham and Erez play with exactly the right degree of warmth and sensuality…’
 Klassieke Zaken

‘In the spotlight is the violinist Hagai Shaham, with his distinctive violin sound. Nicht ohne Grund und nicht ohne Übertreibung vergleichen Kritiker ihn regelmäßig mit dem großen Jascha Heifetz, der zwar gut zwei Geigergenerationen vor ihm lebte, ihm dennoch verblüffend ähnelt. Not without reason and without exaggeration critics compare him regularly with the great Jascha Heifetz, although the two violinists lived generations apart, there are still amazingly similar. Wie für Heifetz gilt auch für Shaham: Ausdruck ist oberstes Gebot. Like Heifetz it is also true for Shaham: expression is top priority… As we listen, it seems that Hagai Shaham is playing in the familiar image of a Gypsy violinist… whose goal is to bring his audiences to tears.’

www.dradio.de
Die Joachimsche Bearbeitung der "Ungarischen Tänze" bietet da eine seltene Gelegenheit: Die Geige von Hagai Shaham darf seufzen und schluchzen, und der Bogen darf schon mal über die Saiten springen.
 

‘The interpretation of these works requires a nimble left hand and a bow and infallible very flexible, qualities that have the highest degree violinist Hagai Shaham's excellent, well supported here by Arnon Erez begin_of_the_skype_highlighting’
Classica Magazine

'A great CD, which is a must for every violin fan.... Hagai Shaham and Arnon Erez serve absolutely "exciting" - with heart, soul and, of course bravura. Hagai Shaham elicits his instrument to an almost erotic warm tone.  That makes Joseph Joachim variations’ tingling excitement so beautiful. -- BUY’
Der neue Merker

‘The performers on this disc, the Israelite duo Hagai Shaham and Arnon Erez begin_of_the_skype_highlighting  end_of_the_skype_higgive excellent performances - full-blooded, fiery, romantic and passionate, but with filigree touches of delicacy and sensitivity where needed. Shaham’s dark tone suits the music perfectly. The pieces are fiendishly difficult, yet Shaham and Erez play them with virtuosic flair. A superb disc.’

Musicweb-international.com

‘Stylistically, Shaham is spot on. His playing overflows with the flair and panache that characterize the Hungarian gypsy idiom; his tone is sultry and seductive.’
Allmusic.com


Ernest Bloch

  • Baal Shem Suite
  • Suite Hébraïque
  • Suites Nos 1& 2 for solo violin

Paul Ben-Haïm 

  • Sonata in G for solo violin
  • Berceuse Sfaradite
  • Improvisation & Dance

Hagai Shaham – violin Arnon Erez – piano

Hyperion record CDA67571 (74’23 DDD) Released 2007

BBC Magazine Choice March 2007
’Suite success’

Both composers are served extremely well on this beautifully recorded disc, Hagai Shaham giving a totally convincing performance of Bloch's well-known Baal Shem…The overall impact is all the more powerful for the sure sense of pacing both artists demonstrate throughout the recital, qualities that stand Shaham in particularly good stead in steering a clear sense of direction through the more discursive melodic lines of the unaccompanied Suites or the slow movement of the Ben-Haim Sonata. …Improvisation and Dance, brilliantly dispatched by both artists, would perhaps make a welcome alternative to Ravel's much-played Tzigane.’
BBC Magazine

‘Hagai Shaham possesses the ideal kind of silver-toned, narrow-vibratoed purity to make these occasionally melodramatic pieces ring true. Rather than fall back on a well-upholstered, opulent sound, he streamlines his tone, adding a special kind of intensity to Bloch's soaring climaxes.
Shaham strikes just the right balance between interpretative cool and swashbuckling bravado in Baal Shem, whose second movement -the popular Nigun - can sound decidedly over-wrought in the wrong hands…. The solo Suites are difficult to bring off convincingly, yet Shaham sounds completely in his element, bringing warmth and sparkle to music that can easily seem cold and unyielding….Shaham sounds right inside this elusive idiom (Ben-Haïm)
and the recording is excellent throughout.
Strad Magazine

‘Shaham revels in Bloch's demanding yet imaginatively idiomatic violin writing. In the solo suites, as well as the more extravagantly emotional pieces with piano on Jewish themes, he enters wholeheartedly into the feeling of the music yet retains a measure of balance and restraint - the vibrato isn't exaggerated and a feeling of rhapsodic freedom is achieved without sacrificing natural flow. …Shaham's playing of the central Lento e sotto voce (Ben Haim solo sonata) is stunningly beautiful. And the "Improvisation and Dance", a folk-style showpiece after the manner of the Bartok rhapsodies, inspires both Shaham and Ercz to brilliant feats of virtuosity.’
Gramophone Magazine

The vibrancy of Hagai Shaham’s tone and his willingness to engage in expressive devices, apparent from the first notes of Ernest Bloch’s Baal Shem, promises visceral performances of commanding penetration… (compared with Stern’s recording of Nigun) Stern’s violin always almost startlingly in the fore, emerged without the clear definition of Shaham’s. But musically, Shaham is striking, too, balancing ardent and reflective passages in the first movement, “Vidui,” and bringing more than a perfunctory sense of exaltation to the suite’s last, “Simchas Torah,” which he concludes with breathtaking panache. In the Suite hébraïque, he characterizes each of the movements so strongly that a new listener wouldn’t even need to read their titles to divine their programmatic content.  (on the solo suites) … they hold a listener’s interest and sound as though they should be as grateful to the performer as to the listener. (Ben-Haïm’s Solo Sonata) Hagai Shaham sounds as much at home in this kind of ethnic material as in the hushed sections of the second movement or in the bold, virtuosic gestures of the third…Those drawn in any way to these composers should find Shaham’s advocacy convincing. Strongly recommended, however, to all kinds of listeners.
Fanfare Magazine

 ‘In the line of his preceding discs devoted to Bloch, Hagai Shaham is affirmed definitely as the interpreter of choice in this challenging and profound music, which requires not only real virtuosity but also musical intelligence and a rare sensitivity.  In the two admirable Suites for solo violin, Shaham reaches, by fullness and the generosity of his playing, a spiritual overturning.  Outclassing the recording left by Menuhin in 1975, this new version of the young Israeli violinist dominates without question the discography of these superb works.  A remark that is worth equally for the Ben Haïm offered in complement; this confirms the height of sight of the musician as much as his affinity with this repertoire.’
Diapason

‘Such a fine soloist as Hagai Shaham…Baal Shem receives an excellent performance. Shaham projects the ecstasy of the climaxes marvelously… a fine release of worthwhile and (‘Nigun’ aside!) relatively neglected repertoire.”
International Record Review

‘Following his excellent recording of the sonatas by Grieg , Hagai Shaham presents here Bloch and Ben Haïm CD…The interpreters approach these composers with fervour and feverish enthusiasm which they put at the service of Grieg. They impose a great rhapsodic freedom, yet without any mannerism. The sound of Hagai Shaham is powerful, at the same crusty and melting’
Le Monde de la Musique

‘These performances are truly inspiring. Shaham is unafraid of liquid, quick portamenti in the Baal Shem Suite and he is at pains to balance Hebraic fervour with high lying lyricism… Shaham intelligently varies his tone here – this is not an understated Nigun but it is one that says a lot without saying too much. The joyous buoyancy and culminatory exultation of the finale show how adept the duo has been throughout – they pace the suite extremely well…played with exceptional clarity by Shaham…The playing is insightful, expressive, and thoroughly idiomatic. These two musicians make an articulate and important statement about both composers’ work.’
MusicWeb-International

‘Shaham's fiddle weeps with an expressive rich, dark tone, especially in the Nigun’

Classics FM Magazine

‘Hagai Shaham supplements the integral works for violin and piano of Bloch, which he started successfully two years ago. One finds in the ‘Baal Shem’, ’Suite Hebraique’ and the two rare Suites for violin solo, the same qualities as in the previously released works: bow mastery, superb sonority, phrased elegantly and intelligently, giving the interpretation sensuality or spirituality. Three works of Ben-Haim also profit from a reading of a very first class’
Classica Magazine

‘Shaham’s first disc of Bloch's music for violin and piano drew raving reviews from critics and listeners alike. This second should be a barnstormer like the initial foray…Performances are simply electrifying, and the relentless tension that they create is almost unbearable.’

Classical Net

 ‘Shaham reveals a penetrating intensity, exalted and colorful at once’

‘Incantational and dancelike, the Baal Shem suite allows for Shaham's expressive powers to vent fully, especially in the familiar Nigun section. But Simchas Torah, too - the celebration of The Law - finds mellow ecstasies in the hands of Shaham and Erez. Fluid in pitch and dynamics, Shaham reveals a penetrating intensity in this suite, exalted and colorful at once.

(Suite hebraique) Shaham has his violin chanting and pining in equal measure, stridently pleading or coaxing, as the music requires… At several moments, the piercing sound of Shaham's instrument recalls Joseph Szigeti's cat-gut realizations of this emotional music.’

Audiophile Audition

‘Not only does this seem to be Bloch's forte, but violinist Hagai Shaham's as well. Shaham's playing in these two works (Baal Shem and Suite Hebraique) is replete with a heavy right arm; a deep, throaty sound; and fast, aggressive vibrato — in other words, an ideal gypsy-like timbre that suits these compositions perfectly’ 
Allmusicguide.com

 

‘Hagai Shaham follows his disc of Bloch's Violin Sonatas with an equally splendid release of the composer's other violin music… Shaham sails through them with brilliance, capturing the rhapsodic opening of the first movement of Suite No. 1 along with its vigorous final movement, as well as the Second Suite's soaring, lyrical Andante and its virtuoso finale.  Baal Shem Suite and Suite hébraïque, played with colorful zest... In Ben-Haïm solo sonata Shaham lends an improvisatory feel to the rhythmically powerful first movement, recalls the lyricism of shepherd's pipes in the pastoral second, and revels in a stomping, virtuosic finale based on the Hora. A pair of attractive folk-based works close the recital, played by Shaham and Erez with tonal beauty and idiomatic flair. An irresistible disc!’

Editorial Reviews, Amazon.com

‘Hagai Shaham has a singing round, soft and noble tone. It is passionate… contrasts and rests are well plumbed. …in the introverted central movement of the Ben-Haïm solo sonata -  Shaham had here a great moment, held back his Vibrato strongly, played completely in itself, with great warmth; one loses himself gladly in the soft Melisma, shaded Glissandi and Portamenti’
klassik-heute.com


Edvard Grieg –Violin Sonatas

  • Sonata no. 1 in F major op. 8
  • Sonata no. 2 in G major op. 13
  • Sonata no. 3 in C minor op. 45
  • 6 short pieces arranged by Joseph Achron:
    At Home op. 43/3
    Puck op. 71/3
    Lonely Wanderer  op. 43/2
    Scherzo-Impromptu op. 73/2
    Grandmother’s Minuet op. 68/2
    Dance from Jölster op 17/5

Hagai Shaham – violin Arnon Erez – piano

Hyperion CDA67504   76’20 DDD Released 2006

Going on Grieg, this partnership offers playing that’s often irresistible

‘Hagai Shaham plays the livelier ones (short works - Puck and Scherzo Impromptu) in true virtuoso style, and he’s equally successful in the gentler pieces – warm and relaxed for At Home, intense and pleading in Lonely Wanderer. …The playing is outgoing and communicative, and each movement makes a distinct, positive impression (sonatas)… in vivacious movements like the 2nd sonata, the sheer verve of the playing is irresistible. The dance like sections of the third sonata make a similar impression and its ‘big’ tune is wonderfully well graded’ with the cumulative, immediate effect of a fine live performance… an extremely enjoyable issue’

 Gramophone

 …powerful players…Shaham makes full use of his sweetly lyrical sound…fine performances, lovely warm recording’     
BBC Radio 3

'Any rival versions to this Hyperion disc will have to be truly exceptional, for this issue is, in almost every respect, going to be hard to beat. The recording quality is first-class - the balance between the instruments is ideal, and the performances have clearly been thought through with considerable musicianship. This is a first-rate issue' 
International Record Review 

‘Hagai Shaham sounds commanding and strong-minded in the First, a work early in Grieg’s output. And he plays with aching poignancy in the introduction of the G-Major Sonata’s first movement, while in the main allegro vivace he returns to a manner both authoritative and propulsive… He and Erez open the Third Sonata with a whirlwind that recalls the same passage in Kreisler’s recording with Rachmaninoff… Shaham’s tone sounds thick and viscous—in fact, almost Elman-like… Shaham’s (CD) never flags, and should appeal to those who conceive these sonatas as high-flown Romantic rhetoric in an almost concerto-like vein… a strong recommendation.’
Fanfare Magazine 

" In these brilliant, exuberant and flawless performances technical means and exquisite interpretations are bound together in a pure and attractive manner…Prick up your ears especially for the magnificent transition to melancholy in the Allegretto tranquillo of Sonata no.2…this is a superb duo..."

 Luister, Holland 

 ‘Following beautiful discs of Bloch and Hubay, Hagai Shaham offers us a remarkable album of Grieg.  Dominated by musical quality without fault, these interpretations are also worth for perfect balance between the two instruments … In the three sonatas Shaham knew how to preserve a mixture of simplicity and thrifty lyricism which characterizes them...  A beautiful good album …’
Diapason, France 

 ‘…None of these versions (Heifetz, Elman, Menuhin, Amoyal among others) can offer us the lyricism and poetry which are the most outstanding characteristics of these works, as in this recording of Hagai Shaham/Arnon Erez… this recording makes us listen to the principal motives without "blending" with the other voice. One can find here great homogeneity of style and a perfect balanced sound as they succeeded in emphasizing all the melody, harmonic and rhythmic innovations imagined by Grieg. Here Hagai Shaham and Arnon Erez sign one of the more beautiful recordings of these three Sonatas.’

 Classica-Repertoire, France

  ‘For each (sonata) has its own distinctive personality, while each also finds the composer in full command of the duo combination as a partnership of equals. Full marks then to the collaboration of Shaham and Erez, and to the Hyperion recording, which has such a natural perspective. For example, the violin tone in climactic passages, such as the second movement of Op. 8, is particularly imposing and effective.

The two players bring to the music a spontaneous flow… As a mark of their success, great moments such as the arrival of the ‘big tune’ in the dance-like finale of the Sonata No. 3 can be heard for all they are worth.’

 Music-Web International

‘Sterling performances by violinist Hagai Shaham and pianist Arnon Erez demonstrate not only the variety of Grieg's musical ideas, but also his accessibility.’

Living.Scotsman.com 

‘Violinist Hagai Shaham and pianist Arnon Erez meet the dark clay/tone of the third Sonata with full-sweet ripe ones, a technical perfection and a rhythmic operational readiness level. With momentum and conviction they go into the music, fire themselves as it were mutually on... They follow Grieg’s instructions exactly, without ever through-spelling the notes in academic routine only’.                                                                                         www.dradio.de


Jenö Hubay - Violin Concertos

  • Violin Concerto #1 in A minor Op. 21 (Dramatique)
  • Suite Op. 5
  • Violin Concerto #2 in E Major Op. 90

Hagai Shaham, violin
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra/Martyn Brabbins
Hyperion CDA67498 (73' • DDD) Released 2006 

Classic FM Disc of the Month

Blazing romance: Hagai Shaham is simply stunning in two of Hubay's unfairly neglected concertos'

'I was bowled over when Hubay's Violin Concertos Nos 3 and 4 appeared in 2003. It wasn't only the quality of the music and the music-making but the soloist's dazzling technique and silky, seductive tone that put me in mind of Jascha Heifetz (and I can pay no higher compliment). Could this second volume possibly match it? The answer is 'absolutely'… You wonder why all three works are not in the repertoire of every violinist. But then not every violinist sounds like Shaham. He really is something very special indeed… Earmarked for one of my discs of the year.'
Classic FM

 Hagai Shaham plays Hubay with beguiling purity and intensity

'Hagai Shaham does wonders for these neglected scores, playing with beguiling purity throughout the range, and a heart-felt intensity that makes the most of Hubay's penchant for soaring E-string melody.'
BBC Music Magazine

 ' This excellent disc follows up the earlier Hyperion issue from these same performers of Jeno Hubay's other two violin concertos, Nos 3 and 4… As in the earlier disc, Hagai Shaham plays not just with brilliance but with great imagination, avoiding any idea that this is just superficial display music.'
Gramophone 

'With Shaham, Hubay's legacy is in very safe hands indeed. He delivers these works with a solid technique and commanding authenticity.'
International Record Review

 'Hagai Shaham is a supple soloist and gives the music all the support he can.'
The Guardian

 'One finds in this album all the qualities of the soloist which had allured us in the preceding volume, finesse of the timbre, agility, panache, sobriety of style... Shaham displays once again a sparkling virtuosity'
Diapason 

‘All played with finesse and considerable, energized devotion by Mr. Shaham … As much a sonic treasure as a rich contribution to the Romantic violin legacy, this disc is a keeper.’
Audiophile Audition 

‘The Second Concerto’s Larghetto is very beautiful, particularly as spun out by Hagai Shaham in this virtuosic but always lucid and expressively apt interpretation. … As suggested already, Shaham is fully up to the music's considerable technical demand’
Classics Today.com

 ‘Shaham's playing reveals his love and knowledge of Hubay's scores with performances of supreme artistry and dexterity, and in his hands these works are projected in their true light.’
Classical.Net

‘Stunningly played here by Hagai Shaham…The virtuosic demands of Hubay’s music are more than adequately met by the formidable technique of violinist Hagai Shaham. One has to admire and be grateful to such musicians as he, for learning the music on this disc…’
Musicweb-international.com


Jenö Hubay - Violin Concertos

  • Violin Concerto #3 in G minor Op. 99
  • Variations sur un theme hongrois Op. 72
  • Violin Concerto #4 in A minor Op. 101

Hagai Shaham, violin
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra/Martyn Brabbins
Hyperion CDA67367 68m DDD Released 2003

CD "Choice of the month"

'… The jaw-dropping virtuosity of Hagai Shaham. Whatever Hubay throws at him, Shaham negotiates it with apparently nonchalant ease and invariably spotless intonation. He possesses the kind of lightweight, quicksilver sound and the fast, narrow vibrato that is ideal in this kind of music, playing throughout with tremendous sweep and passion. Recommended with the utmost enthusiasm.'  Strad Magazine

Awarded FIVE STARS for performance; Top recommendation

'…Aaron Rosand championed it in the '70s for Vox, but this superb recording outshines it in every way… outstanding soloist in Hagai Shaham. His playing allows you to bask uncritically in the pleasurable inevitability of it all. Hubay's own discs make me doubt if he ever played quite as well as his "grand pupil" does here. '   BBC Magazine

'these last two of Hubay’s four violin concertos make a most attractive addition to Hyperion’s emergent series of Romantic violin concertos … The Israeli soloist Hagai Shaham has the advantage of having been taught by one of Hubay’s pupils, Ilona Feher. Not only does he relish the Hungarian inflections in a winningly idiomatic way, he plays with an ethereal purity in the many passages of stratospheric melody. As so often, Martyn Brabbins proves a most sympathetic partner, drawing committed playing from the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, helped by beautifully balanced, cleanly focused recording.'   Gramophone

'Hagai Shaham offers a deftly turned, heartfelt performance that presents the work in the best possible light. His tone is appropriately mellow for the melodic interest, portamento deployed naturally, with dazzling virtuosity generating maximum interest in the sections of passage-work where musical development potentially sags. …a brilliant mix of passion and fireworks more than carries the day…. Although the Third  Concerto was championed and recorded by Aaron Rosand in the 1970s, Shaham has the current field to himself. He and Brabbins need fear no comparisons.'   International Records Review

'It would be difficult to find a more appropriate choice than Hagai Shaham, who studied with Hubay's student Ilona Feher, to reintroduce Hubay's engaging and idiomatic works…. his tone appeals by its very sensuousness—as smooth as satin and as rich as honey. 

…Shaham, who has no competition in these two works, plays them with great stylistic authority, providing all the dash the showy but never meretricious parts require (his double stops in the Fourth Concerto's last movement slice with surgical precision, and his tone and preternaturally pure intonation never fail him in the big passages). Recommended, principally on account of Shaham's sympathetic account of the Third Concerto, to all kinds of listeners.'Fanfare Magazine

'Israeli violinist Hagai Shaham, a former student of one of Hubay's students, makes a fantastic case for them in glowing, flamboyant renditions.'Classic FM Magazine

'Hagai Shaman plays like a foremost virtuoso, performing with total
equanimity, managing the most difficult passages, which flow from his
instrument with ease, and backed by an orchestra on top form.'

'The israeli violinist Hagai Shaham performs with an exemplary style and plume… with a virtuosite immaculee, Shaham shown here of a beautiful engagement and a fine sensitivity.'  Diapason

'The Hungarian's Third Violin Concerto is a masterly exercise in the vein of Mendelssohn, complete with passages of astonishing virtuoso display, which the soloist Hagai Shaham accomplishes m suitably florid style. The 11 Hungarian Variations and the "Antique" Fourth Concerto make similarly exiting listening.'    The Independent

'An outstanding violinist'     The Guardian

 

'Shaham’s combination of grace, wit, and ardency, well supported by Brabbins, shows Hubay’s lightweight romanticism in its best light.'   Irish Times

 

'Hagai Shaham plays like a major virtuoso, always front and center:

he's fearless in passage-work, attacks the big cadenza in the Third Concerto's finale like a tiger, manages excruciatingly high positions with aplomb (in the Variations especially), and genuinely seems to be enjoying himself with this beautifully crafted music…. Hubay was a composer of substance, and this disc makes a very strong case for him. Do try to hear it!     www.classictoday.com

‘This marvelous CD, with all necessary ’heart blood’ makes us wishing to listen to more Hubay ….   With that up-playing,  it is  in best hands with Hagai Shaham under Martyn Brabbins.     www.klassik-heute.de

'One notable feature of Shaham's playing is that any vestige of the old besetting sin of the Hubay school, the nagging, slow vibrato certainly hasn't survived - he plays with clarity and at all times demonstrates flexible vibrato usage. In the third movement Adagio - the longest of the four - Shaham brings chocolaty lower string expressivity to his expert cantilever, buttressing the theatrical and dramatic opening paragraphs with great warmth and feeling…Shaham plays with fire and sensitivity… auspicious release.      MusicWeb (UK)

‘virtuoso performance by Hagai Shaham, a sensational young violinist who really puts the music through its paces…Strongly recommended to all those fiddler lovers!’
Classical.net


 Jenö Hubay – Scenes de la Csarda                   

  • 14 Scenes de la Csarda
  • Poemes hongrois Op 27
  • Nouveaux poemes hongrois Op 76 

Hagai Shaham – violin Arnon Erez – piano
Hyperion CDA67441/2 150' DDD Released 2004

'Hagai Shaham's achievement here is heroic, and a monument to violin-playing. To get two-and-a-half hours of virtuosic gypsy-in-a-tailcoat music under the fingers is one thing, but to construct all these varied passions around the sometimes very similar works speaks of serious artistry. Please don't listen straight through, though, unless your addiction to the csarda style is already unbeatable. Take Hubay's Hungarian concoctions one a day, for a couple of weeks, and wait for the effect to sink in. By then, Shaham's tone as he digs once more into the G-string will be-a daily anticipated plea­sure, the eloquent music he makes from the high-wire fireworks almost taken for granted… Shaham's sustained bowing and the Bull's-Blood-with-goulash tone he so often draws from his instrument's lower register… a tribute to a unique act of devotion to the cause.'                                                                    Paul Ingram, Fanfare Magazine

Want List for Colin Anderson [2004]                                     Fanfare Magazine

'With throbbing G-string declamation, incisive attacks, brilliant staccato, and campfire élan punctuated cogently by moments of hushed mystery… Shaham generates more additional excitement than any engineering design could by itself contribute. All the better for Hubay’s admirers, Shaham apparently intends a second volume of Hubay’s violin concertos.'
Robert Maxham, Fanfare Magazine 

Awarded FIVE STARS for performance; Top recommendation

'It's music that needs passionate advocacy if it's not to sound trite, and Hagai Shaham, who already made an outstanding disc of two of Hubay's concertos, has it in his soul. The rubato is imaginative and natural…and every note is cherished, whether richly sustained on the G string, or touched only briefly in a welter of semiquavers or sequence of harmonics.  Double stops are sonorous both as part of a legato line and when attacked as punctuation on faster music…together with the shorter pieces in the Poems hongrois, these CDs invigorate an area of the violin repertoire with astonishing aplomb.'  BBC Music Magazine

'Gypsy campfire' music from players who really understand the idiom

'If ever there were a case of 'the singer, not the song' it's here with these Scenes de la Csarda' attractive music played with the sort of heart-tugging abandon that many of us only know from old 78s.  Hagai Shaham is another shining symbol of what I call the Fiddlers Renaissance' players not afraid to wear their hearts on their sleeves…who take up the old traditions with fervour and conviction… Shaham really digs into the piece, much as he does elsewhere, his tone firm and even, his vibrato varied to reflect different levels of intensity and his use of slides geared to genuine expressive ends, and not as a patronizing afterthought designed to 'show us how they used to play'…Indeed, I'd describe Shaham's playing as a stylistic cross between Rosand with his famously rich tone and the fragile ardour of Joseph Hassid.  So, a happy tale from start to finish….with style and panache….this seems set to become a benchmark production.'          Gramophone

'Once more, it features the admirable Hagai Shaham, who imbibed Hubay's Hungarian tradition through his teacher Ilona Feher. Shaham's scintillating bowing, lustrous double-stopping, bold pizzicatos and twinkling harmonics serve the colouristic demands of this music superbly. His tone, in turn virile and crystalline, is shaded with a far more focused vibrato than that associated with Hubay's lineage…the performances' balance of flamboyance and refinement aptly reflects the salon style… quality and commitment of the playing, beautifully recorded, gives considerable if unchallenging pleasure.'   Strad Magazine

'Here is, with no doubt, the most beautiful homage to the founding father of the Hungarian school of violin…Shaham ignites with a very vocal sonority, magnificent  timbre, while finding a correct equilibrium between the classical manner and the traditions of the autodidact players of Central Europe.... An exemplary performance…the smallest of the least detail and the sobriety giving him indisputable authority. An engraving full of 'juice' and finesse... A rare issue, performed  in a masterly manner'                                                                                                                          Diapason

'Ordinarily it could get a bit tiresome to lis­ten to more than two hours of Hubay at a sin­gle sitting, but it is never tiring to listen to Hagai Shaham and Arnon Erez play. Hagai  Shaham, has tremendous flair, extraordinary technical facility, and an organic musical sense that makes it difficult to stop listening. This recording is something that every violinist would want to hear, particularly people who admire the Hungarian tradition… this recording serves not only as a great source of entertainment but also as a ref­erence work.   American Record Guide

'Shaham plays with unusual of delicacy and refinement…'                                                                                                               Irish Times

'Great instrumental virtuosity…commendable flair and passion'         Mid Sussex Citizen

‘Outstanding played. Hagai lets his violin flash and shine, swears into deep and most intensive pathos of the world and uses runs and trills as stage for charm feats.’   www.klassik-heute.de

'What fabulous music! ... As for the Shaham’s playing, well, it is quite superb – gutsy, colourful, passionate and sensitive – but not overdone. Shaham’s inimitable, innate and absolutely secure playing is totally inside this vibrant music. Fireworks and pathos there are a-plenty, but there’s nothing from Shaham that detracts in the sense of him being demonstrative for its own sake. His belief in the music shines through, and his technical bravura, while secondary, is a joy in itself. A wonderful set, then, of exhilarating and moving music, fantastically performed – with intrinsic generosity.  Ultimately, though, one salutes Hagai Shaham’s fabulous playing and his identity with this impressive music. Scènes de la Csárda could certainly be one of the records of the year'.      Classicalsource.com

'Immense talent of the violin wizard Hagai Shaham...these are a fitting conclusion to what is a truly joyful set. Both Jewish artists bring the nomadic nature of the music to the fore…'      Classical Net.com


Ernest Bloch – Violin Sonatas

  • Sonata no. 1
  • Sonata no. 2 "Poéme mistique"
  • Mélodie
  • Nuit exotique
  • Abodah

Hagai Shaham – violin Arnon Erez – piano

Hyperion CDA67439  69' DDD Released 2005

A superb partnership shines on a superb recording

'Shaham again triumphantly 'scales the heights' with mostly true intonation, a warm tone and meaty double-stops… this is a digital front-runner'
Gramophone

 'Intoxicating performances guaranteed to set the pulse racing'
 BBC Music Magazine

'Hagai Shaham…(compared to Isaac Stern's recording of the first sonata) plays with similar intensity if not with equally ecstatic frenzy…

Hagai Shaham, who has championed the music of violinist-composers Joseph Achron and, more recently, Jenö Hubay, produces a steely rather than a sumptuous tone. His grandiloquent oratorical flourishes, as well as his edgy technical display, therefore flash like tempered steel, however, leaving the least trace of coldness… So another disc or so from Shaham could encompass everything Bloch wrote for the violin (and perhaps even include the concerto). Given the strong appeal of this initial offering, that’s a consummation devoutly to be wished. Highly recommended.'
Fanfare Magazine

 'Played with lean intensity and dead-centre intonation reminiscent of the young Heifetz, these neglected works come fizzing off the page to mesmerising 
Classic FM Magazine 

'Bloch first Sonata given a 'devastating performance'… on the second sonata (Poéme mystique) Hagai Shaham finds a high flown romantic warmth and sublime lyricism – it's the perfect antidote. If there is any justice, this fine new recording will win these undervalued works new friends…. please try these sonatas, weather or not you already know them'
BBC Radio 3 review 

'Hagai Shaham confirms a remarkable talent, which goes far beyond the technical performance… this disc is essential at the head of a rather thin, but high level catalogue (of this repertoire)'
Diapason 

'Bloch of emotions: vehemence and serenity, doubt and certainty, poetry, brutality, sensuality, spirituality: the interpretation delivered to us by Hagai Shaham and Arnon Erez is one of incredible richness.' 

'But it is especially the interpretation of the five works which confers all its richness. There Hagai Shaham signs one of the most beautiful versions of these work: all is translated in a subtle and inspired manner with a bow in absolute control, sumptuous sonority and a vibrato of infinite diversity… in this album, Hagai Shaham and Arnon Erez, whom one will never praise enough their virtues as performers and especially of interpreters, reach the level of excellence'
Classica – Repertoire Magazine 

'In both works, Shaham meets Bloch's extreme technical demands without flinching; and his timbral control is dazzling throughout (his ability to spin silk at the top of his register is especially astonishing).'
International Record Review 

'Here Shaham and Erez play with wonderful empathy and understanding, undoubtedly this is music that they feel with a deep passion. The aching Molto quieto is also very beautiful whilst the concluding Moderato really kicks off a whirlwind of activity that has Shaham on true top form…this whole disc is a definite must for lovers of solo violin especially those with a penchant for Bloch's unique music.'
Classical Net

‘Hagai Shaham is a master of bravura. Extraordinary tone beauty, clear outlines and direct accesses mark his playing’
www.klassik-heute.de 

'It's a credit to Shaham and accompanist Arnon Erez that this work carries such a punch. Bloch's knowledge of the violin - he was taught by a master in Ysaye - means that the passagework is frequently taxing, but with this completely under his fingers Shaham has no worry… With superbly characterized performances like these, this disc fills a gap in the repertory.'
musicOMH.com


Stempenyu -the violin music of Joseph Achron

Hagai Shaham, violin Arnon Erez, piano
Biddulph Recordings – LAW021  78' DDD Released 1996

'The quasi-mystical intensity of Shaham’s reading throbs like Heifetz’s with the ecstasy of ritual declamation … His off-the-string bowings strike sparks, and his rapid passagework glitters; but ... he also communicates the mystery of more somber numbers.  His powerful tone ... intensifies the effect of both the soaring Romantic and the insinuating Hebrew passages ... an impressive a technique as anyone except Heifetz could bring'
 Fanfare Magazine

'An exceptionally welcome release ... outstanding lyric quality ... Through the richness of his tone, superior vibrato usage, expressiveness of phrasing and top-drawer facility, he fulfills his potential in striking fashion.  It is a treat to hear such tonally satisfying violin playing when commonplace sound, even among accomplished artists, is so prevalent'
Strad Magazine 

Awarded FIVE STARS for performance

'Shaham’s distinctive musical personality and cutting edge ... performed here with such brilliance and commitment...'             BBC Music Magazine 

'Shaham’s approach achieves and ideal balance between expressive colouring ... and collaborative restraint. Hagai Shaham inhabits the same stylistic world as his great forebearers. He obviously respects past masters, and yet his playing eschews specific imitation (in his handling of those pieces recorded by Heifetz, Elman, Kaufman and others)'    Gramophone

Featured on the COVER CD and as one of THE TOP NEW RELEASES
Awarded FIVE STARS for performance

'Hagai Shaham shows himself to be a master of colour and vocal nuance.  His sonorous G string enriched by sensitive portamenti contrasts beautifully with floated passages on the middle strings and high tessitura cantabile at the top of the violin'   Classic CD


VIENNESE JEWISH COMPOSERS
Violin sonatas by Hanns Eisler, Kurt Roger, & Bruno Walter

Hagai Shaham – violin Arnon Erez – piano

Classic Talent- 2910 93  (63:56 mins) Released 2003

'Hagai Shaham and Arnon Erez deliver an exciting and imaginatively shaped performance of the Eisler, easily outshining a rival version on Berlin Classics in terms of urgency. The closely miked recording enhances  the work's immediacy of impact, but is perhaps less appropriate for the Roger and Walter. Fortunately, the clinical sound doesn't detract from the passion and warmth of the playing, with Shaham's gorgeously opulent tone sounding especially persuasive in the Roger.'    BBC Music Magazine

‘The playing on this recording is great. I haven’t been disappointed yet by a recording by Hagai Shaham and Arnon Erez, either by their playing or by the wonderful and unusual music they choose to record.’   American  Record Guide

'Hagai Shaham and Arnon Erez--technically solid, artistically imaginative and open to the stylistic particularities of each sonata. The well-balanced, close-perspective recording creates an appropriately intimate setting. A fine release, well worth investigating.'                                                                                                                 Classics Today

'Hagai Shaham and Arnon Erez create a well balanced and cooperative dou.  Fantastic violin playing, perfect virtuosity and ideal way of expression…'                                                                                                            Luister (Holland)


Mozart – violin conertos

  • Concertone in C major
  • Sinfonia concertante in E flat major
  • 5 violin concertos

Shlomo Mintz (violin/viola) Hagai Shaham (violin)

English Chamber Orchestra

AVIE AV2058 (3 DISCS) Released 2005 

Strad Magazine 'Selection of the Month'

'The Concertone, with Hagai Shaham is jauntily delightful…. The two violin soloists sound as alike as peas in a pod and bounce their phrases off one another with obvious enjoyment.

Shaham is again on his best Classical behaviour in the wonderful Sinfonia concertante.'  Strad Magazine

Penguin Guide Top 100 CDs

'The Concertone, is captivating, agreeably lightweight, while both here and in the lyrically flexible account of the inspired Sinfonia concertante Hagai Shaham proves an admirable violin partner'      Penguin CD Guide

'Hagai Shaham joins Mintz in the Concertone, and the two achieve an even balance in their many dialogues throughout the work, especially those in the slow movement.'                                                                                                            Fanfare Magazine


Bloch – Suite Hebraique 
Hagai Shaham (violin)
Atlas Camerata Orchestra
Dalia Atlas

NAXOS 8.557151 [62:43]  Released 2005

'Hagai Shaham is the infinitely expressive soloist in the Suite'   The Guardian

'This will be a surefire winner for Bloch … I greatly liked Shaham's sturdy singing tone.'                                                                                                                            musicweb-international.com

‘violinist Hagai Shaham, with his very lyrical sound is a very good interpreter of this composition’    Pizzicato Magazine (Luxembourg)

'Lovingly recorded in Haifa with an excellent violin soloist, Hagai Shaham'   Classicalcdreview.com

'Given a warm and characterful performance by violinist Hagai Shaham'         Classicstoday.com