Ravinia, Bennett-Gordon Hall; Nov 7
The remarkably talented 31-year-old cellist Gavriel Lipkind aborted an enviable performing career in his early twenties and left the public eye to devote himself exclusively to musical study in Germany. In 2005, the Israeli virtuoso returned from his sabbatical, and it’s paid off. At Ravinia, he now has the fortune, for a second time, of being billed as a “rising star.”
The Tel Avivan issued two CDs in 2006 on his private Lipkind Productions label, in conjunction with Edel Classics: Bach’s six cello suites and Miniatures & Folklore, a collection of 23 short pieces. Both showcase some of the most awe-inspiring, almost improvisatory cello playing to come along in a while.
Miniatures’ sampling of tiny 19th-century tarts strategically shows off his versatile résumé. We hear a brilliant virtuoso with no technical limitations (David Popper’s “Dance of the Elves” Op. 39), a singing craftsman with stratospheric range (Henryk Wieniawski’s “Scherzo-Tarantella”) and, of course, a sensitive serenader (Alexander Scriabin’s “Romance”). It’s amazing his pianist, Alexandra Lubchansky, can keep up.
He imbues Bach’s cello suites with caffeinated brawn, keeping the tempi and phrasing in these old standbys bold and unexpected (he’s already drawing comparisons to legendary Spaniard Pablo Casals). And if the world’s surplus of cellists doesn’t necessarily need another Bach champion, Lipkind stuffs myriad other tricks up his sleeves, too. On November 7, he plays György Ligeti’s fascinating Cello Sonata at Ravinia. He’s one to keep an eye on—again.