Hershey Felder’s one man show wonderfully blends the music of Tchaikovsky with his life story to create a strong biography.
As someone who has learnt to play the piano, this one man piece about the life of Tchaikovsky was as much as hearing some of his wonderful music performed live as much as it was about getting to know and perhaps understand the man behind the music.
Hershey Felder is well known for bringing to life some of the best known figures in musical history such as Gershwin, Beethoven and Irving Berlin to name a few, and it is clear that he takes a lot of pleasure in researching the people themselves as much as performing their music.
Throughout Trevor Hay’s production it is clear just how much depth and research has gone into creating this show as it is fascinating and completely engaging from beginning to end. The combination of such personal stories, complemented by some of the most wonderful pieces of music to ever be composed means the audience is given a fully rounded performance.
Yes, perhaps Hershey Felder’s delivery of lines can be at times slightly stilted, but that could be put down to a character trait perhaps Tchaikovsky’s own sense of guilt over several deaths that he believed to be his fault weighing him down left him feeling uncertain. However, his performance on the piano is beautifully light and graceful – hypnotic to watch throughout and a real pleasure to listen to. When it is explained to the audience that “my tears don’t come out of my face, they come from my keyboard” – the audience can then pick up new emotional undertones through the music.
It is a production that might not offer any new insight for those who are familiar with Tchaikovsky’s story but for those who don’t it is interesting way to discover it. This is a show which is worth seeing for Felder’s precise and moving performance on the piano alone.