Reviews on “Ben-Haim, Volume 2: Piano and Chamber Works” (Centaur, 2005):

“In Paul Ben-Haim, Volume 2: Piano and Chamber Works, four talented young Israeli musicians pay tribute to their fellow countryman. That the composer’s music is not more universally known and performed is a mystery which these eloquent, sensitive and insightful performances only serve to deepen.

Pianist Gila Goldstein gives perceptive accounts of two of Ben-Haim’s collections of Music for Piano, Op. 53 & 67 (1957, 1967). This is “pure” music, as titles such as “Rhythm” and “Movement” (and how!) from Op. 53 and “Very Moderate,” “Very Fast,” and “Rather Slow” from Op. 67 serve to indicate. Some times introspective, at others breath-taking, these pieces are typically characterized by their light, transparent texture.

Violinist Yehonatan Berick and cellist Inbal Segev join Miss Goldstein in Variations on a Hebrew Melody, Op. 22, a major work that will recall Maurice Ravel’s Piano Trio, to which it compares favorably in its clarity, its glowing illumination of simple melodic materials, and its vision of vaster horizons. Chamsin (Desert Wind) for solo piano beautifully evokes its subject by means of a passacaglia theme in the bass over which distant humming, like an Arabic chant, is heard. Alexander Fiterstein joins Goldstein in Pastorale variée for Clarinet & Piano, a work of elegance and imagination in an intimate dance style.

Finally, Berick and Goldstein combine virtuosity and feeling in their performance of Ben-Haim’s Improvisation and Dance for Violin & Piano, a fitting conclusion to a memorable program.”
>>>>>Atlanta Audio Society, April 2007

“Goldstein follows up on her earlier Centaur release of Ben-Haim’s piano music
(Sept./Oct. 2001) with piano and chamber music, having assembled a fine cast
of collaborations in Berick, Segev and Fiterstein. Mr. Lehman liked the earlier disc
just fine, and I like this one too. Ben-Haim is Israel’s founding composer, and
Goldstein is positioning herself as his foremost interpreter”.
>>>American Record Guide, May/June 2006

“With this second Ben-Haim disc, Goldstein, an Israeli pianist based in New York, reconfirms two things: that Ben-Haim’s neglect was thoroughly undeserved, and that she has a technique as fierce and fiery as the color of her hair.”
>>>PIANIST magazine, London, UK, February 2006

 

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Reviews on “Piano Works of Paul Ben-Haim” (Centaur, 2001):

 

“……I was glad the moment I dropped this beautiful, new Centaur offering into my player. Where, I asked myself, had Paul Ben-Haim been all my life?………The fact that it is so little known today (outside of Israel, presumably) is scandalous. Under the nimble fingers of Ms. Goldstein, Ben-Haim’s keyboard music comes to life in this scintillating recording comprising his two Suites of 1933 and 1936, Five Pieces (1943), Sonatina (1946), Melody & Variations (1950) and Sonata (1954). To give one example from this carefully selected and sensitively performed program, in Goldstein’s performance, “Melody and Variations” develops gradually in force and expressiveness, ending very tenderly. The Toccata that concludes “Five Pieces op. 34″ shows many of Ben-Haim’s salient qualities…..In the whirlwind of flying notes, we never lose sight of the beautiful clarity that is a hallmark of this composer. And the extended pedals on E major and B major allow ample scope for the flavorful chromaticism that is another characteristic of his music.”
>>>Atlanta Audio Society, March 2007

“The six pieces on this disc, assayed clearly and beautifully by pianist Gila Goldstein, display the composer’s capability for variety within each separate work……..Goldstein finds the music’s distinctive beauty and even manages some coherence to the overall program. When she needs to be fleeting and clever, as in the Molto vivo of the Sonatina, she does so in a pitch-perfect, non-tongue-in-cheek fashion; when she needs to be lush, as in the Nocturne of Suite No. 2 or the very end of Melody andVariations, she achieves a round, centered tone. Her touch is just right for this music, which she takes on with an appropriately serious sense of whimsy. These compositions are so irresistibly pretty that this disc is worth a listen on that score alone.”  
>>>Daniel Felsenfeld, Classics Today, January 2002

 

“Gila Goldstein’s superbly assured and dedicated readings of these enjoyable works pay a well-deserved tribute to Israel’s foremost composer whose music is still too rarely heard and recorded. I hope that this fine and generous release will kindle some new interest in Ben-Haim’s music. Recommended.”
>>>Hubert Culot, www.musicweb.uk.net, UK, December 2001

 

“A robust, occasionally neoclassic tension balanced with airily inspired, improvisational gesture guarantees the avoidance of academic cliches. Gila Goldstein’s powerful and engaging interpretations are convincing in detail and great musical phrasing.”
>>>KLASSIK, Germany, November 2001

 

“Ben-Haim is one of the best-known exemplars of the folklore school of Israeli composers……he’s sort of a throwback to the previous century, very melodic, almost lapidary. Goldstein is a very deft pianist and can handle anything these sprightly scores throw at her. A very pleasant, almost sweet recording. Rating: 5 stars.”
>>>George Robinson, The Jewish Week, November 2001

 

“I am surprised not to have heard of Gila Goldstein before. She is clearly a pianist of considerable technique and virtuosity, and is easily up to the substantial demands that some of this music makes…….. For anyone curious, this CD is warmly recommended.”
>>>David Wordsworth, Classical Source, UK, October 2001

 

“The Sonatina op. 38 is a splendid showpiece and Gila Goldstein plays it with great flair and delicious nuances, achieving fast but fluid tempos and brilliance not attempted by Honigberg who recorded this piece in 1995 for Albany. If you liked the Sonatina, you’ll like everything on this CD, as I did, especially since Goldstein is a charismatic performer and Centaur’s engineering is bright, vivid and colorful, like Ben-Haim’s music.”
>>>American Record Guide, September/October 2001

 

“An impressive new recording of Ben-Haim’s major piano works by the notable young American-based Israeli pianist Gila Goldstein, including several recorded premieres, represents a significant and welcome addition to the piano discography. Throughout, her performances are imbued with arresting virtuosity and compelling command and imagination…….. The CD opens with the three-movement Sonatina op. 38 of 1946, all infused with superb atmosphere…… Goldstein’s formidable virtuosity is especially evident in the two early Suites op. 20 dating 1933 and 1936……the first suite is rounded off with a motoric, syncopated finale that Goldstein brings off with almost orchestral richness…….. The Second Suite’s Nocturne’s limpid textures are beautifully shaded…….. Ms. Goldstein’s interpretation of the 5 pieces op. 34 from 1943 has electric and arresting energy, from the initial elusive Pastorale, through the shimmery colors of the Intermezzo, the fireball sparks of the Capriccio agitato, a lyrical Canzonetta and jet-propelled Toccata to conclude. A warmer type of lyricism permeates the Melody and Variations op. 42 of 1950…….the contrasting characters of each variation are keenly projected, in turn simple, bristling, wistful, energetic, poetic and jazzy…….. The latest work is the Sonata op. 49 of 1954, which opens with a “Preamble” played with swirling bright-toned panache. No less arresting are the translucent lines of the second movement, Fugue…….The piano’s sonorous spectrum is fully exploited in the finale, whose “Variations” range from the fiery to the playful. Providing as it does a fascinating window into a refreshing musical style, which combines European influences with exotic sound palette, this recording can be highly recommended for pianists and music lovers all levels and tastes.”
>>>Malcolm Miller, Piano Journal, London, UK, Fall 2001

 

“Ms. Goldstein gave one of the finest accounts I can recall of the Bach Partita in E minor……..She continued her program quite admirably….”

>>>New York Concert Review, March 2012

“Gila Goldstein’s performance at Beijing Concert Hall on June 24 was certainly a fresh breeze. To celebrate the 200th birthday of Franz Liszt, it was well expected to also hear works by the composer. (Vallee d’Obermann, Petrarch Sonnet 104 and Hungarian Rhapsody no. 13). Ms. Goldstein’s performance was the opposite of what we had in mind. The Bach made us gasp! (Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue). How can one perform with such clarity and precision?! The voicing of the fugue was beautifully layered. Goldstein’s fingers seems as though they were skimming on water. The Bach was romantically played, and after hearing Goldstein’s interpretation, one would ask why otherwise? The Schumann (Davidsbundler op. 6) was performed with passion, and the three Liszt works were played contrary to the overwhelming virtuosic performance; it was delicate and pure.”
>>>China Music Weekly, June 2011

“The piano music of Ben Haim formed the core of a stunning recital on March 30th, at the University of London, in which Gila Goldstein, who has recorded all of Ben Haim’s piano works, played Hamsin and his last work, Suite for Piano, of 1967, both impressionistic soundscapes yet also innovative in sonorities and improvisational character. Illustrating the next stage of East-West synthesis in the second generation was the Fantasy and Fugue on Arabian Maqamat (2000) by Ami Maayani (born 1936) from a larger set, its more biting and discursive contrapuntal textures and modal harmony placing it in a late twentieth century frame of reference. On March 31st, at the closing concert of the 1st International Forum for Israeli Music, at London’s South Bank Center’s Purcell Room, a more impressionistic neo-Debussyesque and jazz-influenced set of piano miniatures titled “Periscopes” by Lior Navok, received its world première and performed with finely honed shading and flowing impetus by the USA-based Israeli pianist Gila Goldstein. Its contrasts created an idealised set of musical images, each of which ended as if in mid-flow, as if awakening from a dream.”
>>>Music & Vision Daily, London, April 2011

“Goldstein played the Bach-Busoni Chaconne with fine details, distinct lines and coloristic effects. She played wonderfully the Liszt Sonetto del Petrarca 104. Her Debussy’s “Poissons d’Or” was suitably impressionistic with fluid arpeggios, and she handled with aplomb the difficult fast and delicate pianissimo passages. Her Ben-Haim five pieces op. 34 were played effectively, the Canzonetta from the five pieces was phrased in a way to delight any singer. The concert ended with Schumann’s Davidsbundler op. 6. Goldstein lavished a great deal of beautiful pianism on the piece, also playing repeats differently. Her control of pianissimo and evocative tone color from the piano’s midsection were masterful. She has a lyrical gift and a deft touch will suited to this neglected but demanding work.”
>>>North Bay Classical Music, May 2009

“Paul Ben-Haim’s Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra was more in the classical tradition pianistically. Soloist Gila Goldstein made a compelling case for the one movement work, full of dance and song.”
>>> Pittsburgh Tribune, June 2008

“Paul Ben-Haim’s Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra with an animated Gila Goldstein as solo pianist, wasone of the concert’s highlights.”
>>>Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 2008

“The audience on February 8 heard Ms. Goldstein in top form, in a varied program. Bach’s Fifth Partita in G Major received a thoroughly idiomatic reading, the fast rondo of the Praeambulum contrasting with the deceptive cadences of the Allemande and the glorious counterpoint of the Corrente. Ms. Goldstein’s staccato touch was precise all afternoon, almost pointillist in the difficult Passepied and Gigue……Both Mendelssohn’s “Songs Without Words” were played beautifully. The two Schubert songs transcribed by Liszt, Wohin & Standchen received readings characterized by a sensitive touch and subtle left-hand voicing. In the Prokofiev’s 3rd sonata Ms. Goldstein’s rock-solid rhythm & command of pianissimo were exemplary, the performance had the requisite clarity and bravura……..Schumann’s magical “Carnaval”, Op. 9, took up the rest of the program. Ms. Goldstein lavished her considerable pianistic sorcery on this variegated suite of 22 pieces…..there were many things to admire: under-pedaling in most of the fast sections, voice leading and many original inner voices emerging in unexpected places….Ms. Goldstein extracted excitement nearly everywhere, and was never in a rush to get anywhere…..This was Schumann of a high order – carefully conceived and brilliantly brought forth…….a standing ovation followed. Gila Goldstein is indeed a rising star in a wide sea of young pianists, willing to program sharply contrasting repertoire and often taking chances to achieve intriguing music ends.”
>>>North Bay Classical Music, February 2007

“Whether she was playing Bach, Liszt, Ben-Haim, Ginastera or Mozart concerto K. 453, pianist Gila Goldstein displayed soulful artistry, mesmerizing the audience with her relaxed, impeccable virtuosity”.
>>>Muse Magazine, Manila, Philippines, 2006

“The July program of the Oakmont Concert Series was an exhilarating piano recital by Gila Goldstein……It is such a joy as well as a privilege, to hear such a fine artist……..The program was an intelligent mix of periods and styles, in an order which alternated virtuosic display with quiet introspection…… There was not one thing to carp about……it is rewarding to truly enjoy a great performance.”
>>>The Oakmont News, California, August 2005

“The most satisfying music making of the TIC Orchestra’s March 11 concert was Mozart’s Piano Concerto no. 24 in C minor performed with soloist Gila Goldstein. The Israeli-born pianist played with a high degree of musical finesse. Her technique was impeccable; her lyric lines were expressive and well defined. In the first half of the program the Ben-Haim’s Caprriccio for Piano and Orchestra was performed. A work full of difficult challenges, met head-on by pianist Gila Goldstein, a specialist in the music of this great Israeli composer.”
>>>San Diego Jewish Press, April 2003

“All along, the Boys Choir of Harlem was aided by the consummate playing of their pianist, Gila Goldstein.”
>>>Kalamazoo Gazette, Michigan

“Equally unfamiliar was Richard Strauss’ youthful Opus 5 Sonata which received a sumptuous performance, full of hints of Rosenkavalierish climaxes as well as Beethoven echoes by the young Israeli pianist Gila Goldstein to mark the 50th Anniversary of the composer’s death.”
>>>Musical Opinion, UK and Piano & Keyboard, USA

“Gila Goldstein’s illuminating performance of Richard Strauss’s little-known piano work, Piano Sonata in B minor op. 5, deserves a special mention. Goldstein’s skillful interpretation made the piece sound years more mature than a work written when the composer was age 15.”
>>>Clavier

“Pianist Gila Goldstein’s dazzling technique, keen intelligence and high musicianship was in evidence throughout the program.”
>>>The Shelter Island reporter (NY)

“Gila Goldstein supplied accompaniments that were idiomatic and poetic, especially in the Mahler’s songs.”
>>>The New York Times

“Gila Goldstein, a ‘rising star’, is a courageous and highly capable musician who is willing and able to probe to the depths of the music she plays. Her listeners took her to their hearts, grateful for the superb musical offering. Her playing was fully equal to all technical and interpretative challenges. It is safe to say that Gila Goldstein already has what it takes to attain a first rank in her chosen profession.”
>>>San Diego Jewish Times

“Another highlight of the chamber music program was the emotional sweep of pianist Gila Goldstein in the Tchaikovsky Piano Trio op. 50.”
>>>Herald Tribune, Sarasota (Florida)

“Ms. Goldstein gave an impressive performance of the Chopin’s Ballade no. 4 in which her technical ability and artistic potential came through.”
>>>O & E, Detroit

“Long melodic lines, symphonic-like sonorities, brilliant and energetic playing.”
(On Schumann’s Piano Quintet op. 44)
>>>Neue Presse, Frankfurt