Pianist breaks into Yiddish on world stage

Pianist breaks into Yiddish on world stage


norman lebrecht

February 26, 2014

Yevgeny Kissin was playing music by forgotten Russian composers at the Kennedy Center, D.C., followed by a stretch of Yiddish poetry.

Reports here from John  Podhoretz and here from Anne Midgette.


There was no yeidel-deedle-deidel charm here, limited sweetness, little light. These were anxious musical pieces and anxious poems, startlingly self-aware and sophisticated. Through both melody and verse, there ran that indelible Jewish blend of skeptical irony and pained humor. But what proved so devastating was how they (and the music especially) seemed to herald in their frightening dissonances and determined lack of satisfying resolution the destruction soon to come. The poems are shot through with an image of nature relentlessly moving on while people stumble about in the dark as death hovers over them, ever-present. 


Evgeny Kissin

Kissin has recited Yiddish bfore, but never on the big stage.


  • anon says:

    I attended this recital, and I agree with the reviewers whole heartedly. In a time when there are so many young classical “stars” accompanied by their overhyped publicity stunts, it is REFRESHING to attend an artistic event carried off with such a high level of integrity and sincerity – as well as artistic quality.