Reviews


Chamber Music at its finest!  Read the full review of their astonishing beauty here following a Toronto performance in March 2017 of Rachmaninov, Shostakovich and Schumann.

Recording: Brahms – Trio nos. 1, 2 & 3 | Double Concerto | Staatsorchester Rheinische Philharmonie, Daniel Raiskin conductor | Nimbus Records, NI 5934
The Strad, September 2016
“… The players’ traversal of Brahms’s oevre for piano trio shows them as a perfectly attuned group; both string players are mercurially alive in their phrasing and dose there usage of vibrato in a consistently unanimous manner. A column could be filled enumerating the felicities of characterisation with which these readings are replete: Brahms’s ubiquitous hemolia rhythms lilt and bounce, his ‘hunting’ scherzos gallop merrily along and soaring legato phrases sweep over the fingerboard, carried by Shaham and Wallfisch’s seductive, almost tangible sound… Erez is considerate of his partners and beautifully dovetails his thematic exchanges with them. Time stands still in the chorale-like alternations between piano and strings in the adagio of op.8…“

Sonograma Magazine, May 2016
”Trio Shaham Erez Wallfisch was founded in 2009 and is composed of three of today’s best international instrumentalists… All three musicians play very elegantly… In these performances they combine technical virtuosity and constant dialogue with imagery and a sensitive sound … The strength and sound of their dialogues break many stereotypes in the music of Brahms… This 2CD ends with the Double Concerto. Shaham and Wallfisch, accompanied by the Staatsorchester Rheinische Phiharmonie, create a real musical phantasy, a treasure of sound. This recording presents the concerto so beautifully, it is of irresistible inspiration.”

The Arts Desk, Jessica Duchen, 21 Jan 2016 – Live performance, Wigmore Hall
Full-blooded music making from a streamlined ensemble
”… they never get in the music’s way. It flows out of them unimpeded, as if balancing a piano trio were the easiest thing in the world, which goodness knows it is not… These performers evoke musical values that today are beginning to seem “old school”, yet are as sterling solid as ever. Erez is the most self-effacing of virtuosi, delivering glitter and dazzle… his tone always singing and tanslucent. Shaham’s sound recalls the great violinists of the mid 20thcentury: rich and gorgeous, yet never sugary, his use of portamenti judiciously applied. Wallfisch’s cello seems virtually an extension of himself as he blends into vivid musical conversations or briefly takes centre stage to bowl out the big tunes… Notable qualities that leapt out of this performance included the choice of contrasting palettes… Erez’s piano tone turned utterly luminous, as if by magic.”

Seen and Heard International, 23 Jan 2016 – Live performance, Wigmore Hall
First rate music making from the Trio Shaham Erez Wallfisch
”… rich, expressive intensity…Wallfisch played with exquisite beauty of tone… Shaham gave us some gorgeous sustained melodies while Erez brought lovely Romantic colouring to the piano writing… Shaham dispatched some of the virtuoso passagework with aplomb. The players were as one in their approach to the various shifts of mood and tempo… their thrilling rendition of the coda… Erez excelled in Rachmaninov’s swirling virtuoso passagework, ensuring the string players were never overwhelmed and the balance of sound remained excellent throughout… There was an ease and fluency in the way all three players approached the constantly evolving thematic material… I particularly enjoyed the striking double stopping of the string players and the tenderness and lyricism … a terse energy and exceptionally clear and tight articulation brought out the diabolism of the work… the performers brought a spontaneity and freshness to the music with the inventive nature of the material really shining through. Overall, this was an evening of first rate music making and the performances of the Arensky and Brahms trios were exceptionally fine. ”

North American debut:
vanclassicalmusic.com, 3 November 2015
”This was playing that communicated a fresh enthusiasm and a good sense of emotion… quite beguiling in its combination of strength, wit and sensitivity… As things progressed, what impressed me most is just how tender and genuine much of the expression was. Combined with crisp articulation (Wallfisch was particularly impressive), this took the trio pretty much from beginning to end with continuous delight… The ensemble was outstanding in the way they got the underlying flow of the music in place, anchoring their potential to be really expressive and, in the case of Shaham in particular, very passionate.  I also liked the way the ensemble could move between varied textures: from surging feelings to the most quiet and pensive reverie, shaded so subtly… This is a most sensitive and perceptive ensemble…”

Recording: Rachmaninov – Trio Élégiac | Arensky – Piano trio no.1 | Shostakovich – Piano Trio no.2 | Mussorgsky – “Une Larme” | Nimbus Records
BBC Music Magazine
”The deeper the music, the finer the vividly-recorded performance of these distinguished players… the smiles are palpable and the Allegro molto is full of delight. There’s lovely introspection in the bittersweet Elegia too…the players have a firm but never under-emotional grip on Shostakovich’s Second Piano Trio… uninhibitedly brilliant…”

Luister Magazine * * * *
”… Hagai Shaham, Arnon Erez and Raphael Wallfisch have music running through their veins. They are one with the music and with each other. What they have to offer us is something you wouldn’t mind being drowned in. So full, so rich, sound and interpretation wholly convincing, this trio has all the experience required to transform the art of living into sound. The combination of pieces on this CD is beautiful – the romantic and lyrical Rachmaninov and the Arensky alongside the challenging, gloomy and here and there quite introvert Shostakovich – and offers plenty of variety to keep us hooked and surprised at the different shades in colour and atmosphere that these three musicians know how to create.”

International Record Review
“The present CD […] is a strong testament to their shared artistic vision and to their compatibility… It holds no terrors for Erez. Similarly Shaham and Wallfisch play it with assurance and a simple dignity that one doesn’t always associate with Rachmaninov… The performers give the music a sparkling brilliance that is difficult to resist… a major release from these talented musicians.”

Gramophone
”Arensky’s melodic gift is well brought out in his grieving eloquently played Adagio, and the players tackle the lively Scherzo with great esprit… The difficult opening, with eerie high notes on the cello, is beautifully managed, with the ambiguous Scherzo brilliant and sinister… The dignified close, in this impassioned, thoughtful performance, is controlled and expressive…”

Harmonie
”A real joy of creativity and supreme musicality. Wallfisch joined the long established Israeli duo and fits in perfectly. The sound this trio produces is intoxicating, their style is simply perfect… there are no extreme exaggerations, which can so often occur in performances of this style, but the proportions are just right in this recording… The selection of four Russian composers’ works is excellent and wise… It has been a long time since I enjoyed such chamber playing as in this Shostakovich performance.”

About a Live-concert in Germany: Göttinger Tageblatt, Michael Schäfer
”… three masterly skilled musicians… They are united in their interpretation: music needs to be expressive… sounds of almost orchestral quality… gloriously sonorous cello sound… One is left in amazement… And such a style can only be achieved when backed up by dashing technical abilities such as pianist Erez displayed … Brilliance and virtuosity … deep passion… The audience applauded like crazy whilst stamping their feet.”

About a Live-concert in Germany: Südwest Presse, Hans Herdeg
“… with this concert the Trio Shaham Erez Wallfisch made sure that it will no longer be considered a well kept secret … Ease, temperament and a refined sound […] were captured and displayed by these musicians with technical brilliance, with a great awareness of shape, with absolutely gorgeous precision and in particular through highly sensitive interaction… Hagai Shaham (violin), Arnon Erez (piano) and Raphael Wallfisch (cello) knew how to enchant with the finest of colours and the very softest of shades… a miracle of sound that kept the audience in a tight grip until the very end… The trio was given a huge ovation which they responded to with an encore of Mendelssohn’s scherzo [from the opus 49 trio], played with magical ease.”

Recording: Ravel – Piano Trio (1914) | Debussy Violin Sonata & Cello Sonata | Fauré Piano Trio Op.120 | Nimbus Records, NI 5905 
Luister Magazine – Top-Rating: 10
“When Trio Shaham Erez Wallfisch was founded in 2009, it was welcomed with great enthusiasm, and again now this trio has hit – exactly like it did with its first recording (Mendelssohn trios) – with breathtaking brilliance, pungency and precision… this recording, to my opinion, is an absolutely essential one for French chamber music, and one which any self-respecting music lover would want to have in their collection… Highest recommendation!”

BBC Music Magazin – Choice of the Month  - Top-Rating: * * * * *
“This fine trio plays with purpose and clarity… such is the entente between the players and their understanding of Fauré… Arnon Erez’s clean piano playing …  direct and strong is their performance of the Ravel Trio… tremendous brio… with Raphael Wallfisch’s pianissimos to die for.”

FonoForum – Top-Rating: * * * *
“… utterly moving, as a result of a truly great modesty… The musicians know, with minute precision, how to guard the boundary between the intimacy of chamber music and the sweeping grandeur of a large-scale concert, only achievable by artists whose capacities and experience are on an equally high level.” FonoForum website

The Strad
“This delightful tranche of French chamber music opens with an exquisite account of Ravel’s 1914 Piano Trio. It’s a wonderful performance, and each movement in its way is a masterclass in pace and fluid structure… Erez is superb throughout… the players capture the strange landscape of Fauré’s Piano Trio… the slow movement is sublime, the finale robust and energetic…”

International Record Review
“… It is the energy and positive approach of these musicians to Ravel’s chamber masterpiece which are so impressive here… full of an impressive sense of inner forward momentum… I was particularly taken with Arnon Erez’s playing, so superbly does he phrase, never overpowering his colleagues… this is chamber music-making of high quality throughout, the musicians clearly of one mind in their approach to these works… Performances of the standard on this disc are not achieved overnight… this outstanding pianist, a truly fine chamber musician.”

MusicWeb International
“… Shaham, Erez and Wallfisch play with consummate skill, achieving a splendidly balanced texture… Shaham, Wallfisch and Erez render the central Andantino [of Fauré's Piano Trio] with great sensitivity of tone and phrasing, while bringing strength and urgency to the more lively outer movements.”

the-listener.de, Rainer Aschemeier 
“They are among the most prominent solo-virtuosos of our time: Hagai Shaham, Raphael Wallfisch and Arnon Erez. But the message, that they have since a few years also been around as a really wonderful chamber music trio, still hasn’t quite reached everywhere yet… Here at last we have an ensemble consisting of three Stars who, when together as a trio, still make a gorgeous impression. It’s pure bliss to listen to these three musicians: Play and let play, could be the motto… Here, every single player is allowed to radiate brilliance and yet, each player knows how to hold back, in total support of the music and its interpretation… This recording is a blessing because it brings back some old virtues, like the art of listing to each other, the art of breathing together and the art of taking the time for interpretational concepts, for the right swing, which then seems to be carrying the musicians together on a wave… As a comparison for the Trio Shaham Erez Wallfisch it’s the Beaux Arts Trio that comes to mind immediately, which really says it all: conservative, possibly a little old-fashioned, but utterly soulful, with great empathy and simply impossible to criticise, referring to both playing-technique and intonation…”

The Classical Reviewer
“… Trio Shaham Erez Wallfisch was founded in 2009 and comprises of three of the finest instrumentalists of our time… a beautifully wistful opening that rises to a passionate climax… some lovely delicate, sensitive passages… in the faster sections there is some scintillating playing… some fine playing and spot on ensemble… The Passacaille: Très large highlights the individual merits of these fine artists, in this beautifully paced movement, where they slowly build the drama and emotion in an arch like form…. a terrific performance… Erez displays some beautifully rippling, fluid playing… These fine players bring a special magic to this music… A lot of fine chamber music recordings come my way but I was really taken by this one which shouldn’t be missed.”

Federation of Recorded Music Society
“… Hagai Shaham, Arnon Erez and Raphael Wallfisch are all internationally acclaimed artists… It is obvious from the first magical bars, that they are fully attuned to the subtleties and nuances in this music… the Trio manages to balance the understatement and elusive melancholy in the music without ever sounding maudlin or sentimental. These performances come very close to replacing my benchmark Beaux Arts recording from 1983… The two Debussy sonatas prove perfect vehicles for the cellist and violinist, who both play with a near-ideal mixture of flexible expression and authority, and again pianist Erez is a sensitive partner…”

Recording: Mendelssohn – Piano Trios op.49 & op.66 | Schumann – Klavierstücke in canonischer Form op.56 (arr. Th. Kirchner) Nimbus Records, NI 587
International Record Review – Top-Rating: * * * * *
“This is an impressive, well-nigh perfect pair of performances of the wonderful Mendelssohn Piano Trios… here so wonderfully played as to make the listener want to curl up with pleasure: it is spot-on… such beautiful and polished playing as these musicians convey… their accounts of this music are wonderfully compelling and wholly convincing. They appear to ‘hit it off’ together without reservation… The Shaham Erez Wallfisch Trio reveals the majesty and intensity of the composer’s invention exceptionally well… displaying a musical virtuosity which is throughout placed at the service of the music…”

Gramophone Magazine
“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 combinations can often be… Their ensemble in the hymn-like opening theme in the first movement of the C minor Trio is like one voice… making it infectiously joyful… Arnon Erez bringing a lyrical quality to the opening of the second movement of the D minor Trio, which he makes almost a song without words in its own right… ”

Luister Magazine – Top-Rating: 10
“The Trio Shaham Erez Wallfisch are clearly in their element: their music making sparkles with joy… Of all the chamber music recordings I have heard recently, this is one of the very best…”

MusicWeb
“ 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… A splendid balance is thus maintained between momentum and consideration… the playing is sensitively shaped, lyrical and avoiding heaviness… these first class performances are evidence of sensitive and imaginative music-making.”

The Strad
“The restrained opening cello theme of the D minor work sets the scene for three distinguished soloists playing together as if for their own pleasure, never for a moment upstaging one another in a movement that can so often become a series of accompanied solos… Throughout the score they bring ample fire and excitement… part of the finale reaches a white-heat intensity in an account that sings of love and passion… these players bring a spontaneity that captures the lyrical fervour of the work’s outer movements…”

Klassieke Zaken
“… a musical feast. Lyricism and expression are at the core of this performance…. full of passion and emotion. Shaham and Wallfisch give it their all with their warm and
expressive playing, and pianist Erez plays his piano with extraordinary clarity. Utterly moving is their interpretation… The trio’s sheer pleasure of playing is bouncing off this beautifully recorded CD”

Fanfare Magazine
“These musicians have been playing together as a group only since 2009 (although violinist Hagai Shaham and pianist Arnon Erez have a longer history as a duo), but already they sound like a seasoned ensemble, well integrated, with each musician sensitive and responsive to the input of the others… individually their playing is of the highest quality. Shaham and cellist Raphael Wallfisch perform with ample, well-centered tone and flawless accuracy, and the pianism of Erez is equally admirable for its precision and clarity… It is a superb recording…”