© 2019 Benjamin Grosvenor​

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Photo: Decca/Sophie Wright

 
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Press

2016

 

“Remarkably, Grosvenor takes the virtuoso fireworks of the Liszt pieces in stride and finds the expressive heart of the music…[In Ravel's Tombeau de Couperin] Grosvenor again channels his ample technical skills into a revelatory performance. Every time I hear 24 year old pianist Benjamin Grosvener, I end up shaking my head and saying, "Wow." He's got the technical agility of a young man, but the authentic musical sensibilities of an old soul…Every note is just right.”

- Colorado Public Radio Classical, December 2016 (review of Homages - Best of 2016)

 

“[Chaconne] the exceptional means with which he exploits the acoustic possibilities of the piano to generate fully organ-like sonorities, which, together with a splendid interplay of dynamics and gradation of tempo, allows him to maintain the emotion and the structural unity of the work. He shows an exquisite sense of singing in the two contrasting preludes of Mendelssohn, accompanied by fugues of great transparency, in which formal discipline conveys ample and controlled romantic charge. Completely seductive, the [Franck] Prelude, Chorale and Fugue brings us via eloquent oratory a great atmosphere of tension, full of poetry and emotion with a wide range of colors in the two first movements, to fully and majestically resolve the final fugue.”

- RITMO magazine, December 2016 (review of Homages)

 

“Busoni’s treatment of JS Bach’s famous Chaconne for solo violin is here played very emphatically and majestically by Grosvenor... Mendelssohn’s tribute to Bach sees vibrant preludes with kaleidoscopic embellishments and grand fugues with admirable ebb and flow, not to mention, architecture. The notoriously tricky Barcarolle is beautifully brought off with just the right swinging rubato... For me, the best came with the download bonus of the six-movement Ravel Le Tombeau de Couperin. Grosvenor takes the Prélude at breakneck speed but infuses the rest with the elegant spirit of the 18th century.”

- Limelight magazine, December 2016 (review of Homages)

 

“This young British pianist confirms his place at the top table with an outstanding recital.”

- Daily Mail, December 2016 (review of Homages)

“This new recording 'Homages'...by Benjamin Grosvenor is youthful, powerful and profoundly exciting. At age 24 Grosvenor seems already to have conquered everything. Completely unhindered by technical challenges, he probes the alternating quiet and explosive episodes of Romantic works that look to the past for inspiration. Busoni’s arrangement of Bach’s Chaconne from BWV1004 is titanic yet floats soul searchingly through its many still moments. He plays Mendelssohn’s Fugue: Allegro con fuoco from Op.35 No.5 at an impossible speed with unbelievable clarity. Chopin’s Barcarolle in F-sharp Major Op.60 is voiced so superbly that it often sounds like two separate pianos. With selections from Liszt’s Années de pèlerinage, Grosvenor reaches the pinnacle of his Homages to conclude an astonishing program that sets the heart racing.”

- The Whole Note, December 2016 (review of Homages)

 

“A young pianist and young conductor coming together to tackle a mighty concerto by a young composer who had not yet learned not to wear his heart on his sleeve ... We could have expected a barnstorming performance of Brahms' First Piano Concerto from Benjamin Grosvenor with Alpesh Chauhan conducting the CBSO. In the event what a packed matinee audience heard was a movingly thoughtful account of this wonderful piece, soloist and orchestra working as one to mould a glorious symphonic unity right from its shattering opening...Grosvenor and Chauhan were not afraid to slacken the tempo when rumination was called for, and to build tension so that Brahms' urgent expressive points made full impact when they arrived... Fingers both steely and delicate, the pianist brought a huge range of touch to his reading... No encore, thank goodness; Grosvenor had already given us riches.”

- The Birmingham Post (5*), November 2016

 

“…[the performance of Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1] focussed interest on the presence of the young English pianist Benjamin Grosvenor (b.1992), who has shown outstanding pianistic qualities, with a brilliant, transparent and precise technique, and a pianistic character always subtle and at the same time grandiloquent, his reflective musicality had an exquisite character in the central Adagio, and in the Rondo Allegro ma non troppo finale a hypnotic freshness full of vitality, free from and shrillness. He may be called upon to occupy a position among the greats.”

- El Nuovo España, November 2016

 

“Every bit as pianistically brilliant as its precedents, showing off his fluid virtuosity, musical sensitivity and fearless approach...The minor-key mood culminates in Franck's Prélude, Choral et Fugue, its central Chorale played with ineffable beauty and religious reverence ... Chopin’s Barcarolle is dispatched with passion, while Liszt's Venezia e Napoli, from Les années de pèlerinage, features magical crystalline playing and delicately drawn colours and atmosphere.”

- BBC Music Magazine, November 2016 (review of Homages, selected as Instrumental Choice)

 

“Despite the very high level and fierce competition among young pianists, the 24 year old Briton Benjamin Grosvenor easily stands out. For the singular combination of musicality and intelligence, spirituality and sentiment. The incredibly demanding program includes compositions by Busoni, Mendelssohn, Franck, Chopin and Liszt, several of which have as their starting points works of Bach. In the case of Grosvenor, the unparalleled craftsmanship is taken for granted. So you can enjoy the great musicality, elegance, the innumerable shades and gradations, as well as the sensitivity of his interpretations.”

- H KAΘHMEPINH, November 2016 (review of Homages)

 

“His mature musical conviction is evident right from the outset of this new CD...The majestic Busoni arrangement of the Bach Chaconne stands comparison with the finest, and the clever inclusion of a couple of Mendelssohn Preludes and Fugues is a master stroke … A great piano recording in all aspects of the word.”

- Pianist Magazine, November 2016 (review of Homages)

 

“This recording is vibrant with energy and freshness, also managing to be deliciously free of artificial sounding mannerisms … All of these are fabulous performances, bristling with breathtaking detail and musical élan, brushing aside all questions of technique in favour of that most prized of gifts, supreme clarity of communication. A big draw is of course Busoni’s famous transcription of J.S. Bach’s Chaconne from the violin solo Partita BWV 1004. This can also become a melodramatic tour de force but, without holding back on the impact of such an overwhelming masterpiece, Grosvenor also manages to convey the humanity and monumental sense of suffering built into the work.”

- MusicWeb International, November 2016 (review of Homages)

 

“[Mendelssohn] one always perceives, between the lines, a very great delicacy of feelings abundant on each page, so much so that one feels sometimes transported in the cosmos, to the very different atmosphere of the Songs Without Words. The young artist never forgets the eminently romantic character of these scores, especially in Franck's triptych, whose prelude may have never been as intimate as here.”

- Crescendo, November 2016 (review of Homages)

 

“Deeply musical art of the piano from possibly the most talented pianist of his generation.”

- Lübecker Nachrichten, October 2016  (review of Homages)

 

“Grosvenor gives a sublime rendition of this gloriously romantic yet spiritual work [Franck].  Homages is cleverly curated and brilliantly performed.”

- Sounds Like Sydney, October 2016

 

“He manages to bring together the worlds of Baroque and Romanticism in this great creation. The same mix of poetic sophistication and grand romantic gesture can be found in the remainder of this recital.”

- Klara, October 2016  (review of Homages)

 

“…a precocious maturity is touched by an originality that has shrugged off any debt owed to having been a child prodigy … and immediately recognisable in the sense of freedom with which he wields his undeniable virtuosity. [Mendelssohn] dispelling that overhang of academicism that has probably left these masterpieces in the shade, Grosvenor reveals the melodic spells as much as the fervour; all romantic; pressing to make wefts of the counterpoint, the F minor Fugue is liberated and ignited with exciting virtuosity.  With enveloping breath he moves through the shadows of the great Franck triptych, playing with subtleties of timbre that we find in the Chopin Barcarolle … Someone intending not to perceive the vision of the playing might instead notice the asynchrony between the hands with which Grosvenor frees his discourse, a character that he confirms as innate, not the result of artifice,  but a mode of execution with which he pursues naturalness, giving transparency to the voices and rendering the harmony all the more poignant.”

- Classical Voice, October 2016 (review of Homages)

 

“[Benjamin Grosvenor] passed unscathed from the status of the child prodigy to that of the hope of English pianism. Today, at 24, that is a mature reality, as demonstrated by the originality of an interpreter able to assemble and perform a dramatic program evoking the richness of relationships between composers and musical forms.”

- Il Giornale, October 2016 (review of Homages)

 

“From the first notes, one is struck by the constant capacity of Grosvenor ‘to grab’ our senses in order then to move us. ..We are drawn in to a sublime interpretation that is truly possessed. If the expression is often generous, especially in the Fugue, the penetrating poetry of the first two parts reach summits of deeply heart-rending beauty [Franck]...blessed with an intrinsic sensitivity and an acute sense of dramatic art ... He unrolls with masterliness a narrative and emotional power without departing from a lithe foreground beauty... This musical picture of shimmering lyricism is that of a master painter [Chopin Barcarolle]. The sounds are full, the textures nuanced with finesse.”

- ResMusica, October 2016 (review of Homages)

 

“Everywhere the pianist distinguishes himself via beauty of sound. From the first notes of Busoni’s transcription of Bach, we understand that Benjamin Grosvenor does not seek bombast. He builds an organic architecture.  The young British pianist starts without exaggeration, keeping the polyphony in store before unleashing grandiose sonorities. In the admirable Prelude, choral and fugue of Cesar Frank, he draws prismatic, cushioned sounds from his instrument, forming a halo around this work of mystery and longing. The triptych Venezia e Napoli Liszt seduces in its pictorial character (just like the Chopin Barcarolle). The sound is never hard, always round, though fully attuned to the surges of the final Tarantella.”

- Le Temps, October 2016 (review of Homages)

 

“Flawless in execution, Grosvenor has an astonishing technique and extreme care for sound; one can imagine a more than rosy future for him...a full house and a smash hit with the public was met with an encore...an etude by Moszkowski, its ending re-written by Horowitz.  A piece to further underline the talents of the executant.”

- Giornale della Musica, October 2016

 

“Who said they don't make pianists like they used to?  Benjamin Grosvenor is a virtuoso of a rare kind, poetic, whimsical, an old-fashioned romantic.”

- Financial Times, October 2016 (review of Homages)

 

“[Grosvenor]...exerting some kind of magical control over the proceedings...Here, he helped turn its admixtures into a seamless continuity, especially in the cadenza links between the concerto’s sections that help create its single movement. Rarely is this work so convincingly mediated from the keyboard with care, lightness of touch, temperance, and musical intelligence. It were as if the pianist were presiding over the work’s thematic metamorphoses."

- Wales Arts Review, October 2016

“A fabulous representative of the expressive Old School who just happens to be one of our finest younger pianists - about the best around, in my view.  A real master of keyboard colour: Benjamin Grosvenor.  Magnificent playing.”

- BBC Radio 3, October 2016 (review of Homages)

 

“It is an indescribable and almost surreal leap into a cosmology of sounds, each apparent resonance spawning a new sound world.”

- Le Devoir, October 2016 (review of Homages)


“A spellbinding recital from Benjamin Grosvenor ... This was an impressive demonstration of Grosvenor’s intelligent programming, virtuosic command and developing stylistic range.”

- Bachtrack, October 2016

 

“…Felix Mendelssohn's Preludes and Fugues Op. 35 are played rarely, clearly written in sympathy with Bach yet also innovating further, coming in to the 19th Century, translated into Mendelssohn’s own musical idiom. Grosvenor plays this twofold enterprise with enthusiasm: sometimes deploying serious fugal gestures, at other times releasing swirly Mendelssohnian arpeggios or coupling Bach's art of agility with the playful virtuosity of the young Mendelssohn… [Chaconne] Grosvenor enables the music to play out impressively on different levels. One recognises the underpinning with which Busoni set down his massive work on the Bach original. In doing so, Grosvenor also imparts the sensation of not being seated at a grand piano, but rather at an organ: as if he were striking the mighty bass notes with his feet; as if he could just pull a piccolo stop for the treble; or as if he had to play the middle voices in an almost overlapping legato in order to make them stand out… Frédéric Chopin’s ‘Barcarolle’ is a boat trip across calm waters; a drifting through disparate states of mind. Grosvenor artfully combines all this seamlessly, daring to play with sentimentality; with intuitive feel for haunting accentuation. This is also transmitted to the subsequent ‘Venezia e Napoli’ by Franz Liszt: the postcard idyll is shattered and the ‘Tarantella’ becomes a ‘danse macabre’.”

- NDR Klassik, September 2016 (Homages selected as “CD of the Week”)

 

“Benjamin Grosvenor has the art (and the patience and courage) to plan ingenious programmes which offer a multicoloured zig zag between styles and moods ... His pianistic ingenuity, his lyrical voice and aristocratic distinction, remind one of the young Josef Hofmann or Ignaz Friedman. The whole recital is charged with Romantic élan. [In the Bach-Busoni Chaconne] Benjamin Grosvenor's way is highly articulate and grandiloquent, rendering a flaming vision ... a feeling of unity despite the abundance of motifs; infinite fantasy in the ornamentation yet exactitude in the outlining structure; a sonorous framework arranged with distinction, like the overlapping sculptures that adorn doorways; moments of sweetness or of solemnity.”​
- Diapason, September 2016 (review of Homages - awarded Diapason d'Or)

 

“The programme reveals an overview of Grosvenor's immense talent, which is not driven by effect, but searches principally for richness and allusion. A poet of the keyboard in sum, profoundly gifted, and certainly one of the most exciting to follow today ... How not to be literally spellbound by the singing of the Chopin Barcarolle? Or by the concurrent mythic ecstasy and demonic depths of the Liszt ... Our thanks to Benjamin Grosvenor for opening such doors to the imagination, enabling such sound worlds to be audible and palpable...an immense genius of the keyboard is revealed in this programme.”

- Classique News, September 2016 (review of Homages)

 

“...possesses the wonder, the technique, the lofty interpretative heights.  At only twenty-four years, Benjamin Grosvenor is a complete artist whose every new album is imbibed like a great vintage ... A fullness of sound which, though not inimical to seduction (witness the nonchalance of the Liszt Tarantella, or the exceptionally stylised rubato, so finely tuned in the Barcarolle), is especially associated with a sense of merging of architecture: the opening theme of the Chaconne is not cast in bronze, but the interpretation follows a taut course to achieve impressive stature ... We love without limit these shimmering colours, that touch of infinite delicacy, a sign of a rare talent.”

- Classica Magazine, September 2016 (review of Homages)

 

“The artistry of the young English piano Benjamin Grosvenor - a combination of interpretative strong-mindedness and remarkable delicacy of touch - has been the talk of the musical world for several years now ... There's no disputing the potency and eloquence of Grosvenor's execution.”

- San Francisco Chronicle, September 2016 (review of Homages)

 

“[In the Bach/Busoni Chaconne] Benjamin Grosvenor presents an interpretation age 24 years that is full of majesty and tenderness ... A reference recording on which Benjamin Grosvenor stamps his signature.”

- Musical Romania, Bucharest, September 2016 (review of Homages)

 

“The Bach-Busoni Chaconne is wonderfully paced and voiced; the Mendelssohn Preludes and Fugues come with a sense of wonder and respect for Bach; the Franck Prelude, choral and fugue has just the right freedom and fantasy; and Liszt in Venice and Naples makes a compelling tour guide ... There's the same sense of easy virtuosity we've admired from Grosvenor here before; a rubato and sense of style that seems to recall pianists of another age.”

- BBC Radio 3, Record Review, September 2016 (review of Homages)

 

“Benjamin Grosvenor played the Liszt [Concerto No.1] with imagination and flair, executing the fusillade of double octaves and sequinned trills precisely, and duetting limpidly with Sergio Castelló Lopez, the Hallé’s principal clarinettist, over seed-pearl pizzicato from the strings.”

- The Times, September 2016

 

“The Hallé and Sir Mark were joined by the brilliant young British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor for this amazing piece. Grosvenor dazzled in the bravura passages, but also made the most of the lyrical sections … this was a first-rate performance.”

- Bachtrack, September 2016

 

“Personality, technique, sensitivity, expressiveness, musicality would be amongst the adjectives that could define the style shown by the young British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor in his debut performance in the city of Barcelona...a range of musical qualities that lead him to be considered one of the great representatives of this brilliant new generation of pianists.”

- Revista Musical Catalana, June 2016

 

“Grosvenor succeeded in an absolutely perfect manner, finding an almost dream-like apotheosis of elegance and virtuosity, something that recalled certain feats of Walter Gieseking and Benedetti Michelangeli. Benjamin Grosvenor is in our opinion already one of the giants of the concert scene.”

- L’Ape Musicale, May 2016

 

Grosvenor brought a sense of serenity to [Mozart's final piano concerto] that was absolute music therapy: light, bright and mood- lifting ... [the work is] loaded with trills and runs meant only for the virtuoso. Grosvenor is all that, handling its tough dynamics with a perfect touch and sure fingering.

- Naples Daily News, April 2016

 

“Pianist Benjamin Grosvenor performed Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 27 with beautiful restraint, subtle emphasis, delineated and balanced chord voicing and a refreshing lack of bombast and theatrical fits. He proved easily capable of virtuosic expectations, becoming bolder and more florid during the cadenzas, his touch a little denser, the tone a little darker...It was, however, the deceptively simple statement of the second movement that marked his skill, as he commanded stillness and attention.”

- Kansas City Star, April 2016

 

Benjamin Grosvenor, one of the most poetic of a new generation of pianists, led a tender and wittily elusive performance of [Mozart's] enigmatic last piano concerto, No 27.

- The Times, April 2016

 

“Benjamin Grosvenor took over the ensemble’s direction with the lightest of touches in his luminously voiced, faultlessly articulated interpretation of Mozart’s final piano concerto, No 27 in B flat.”

- The Guardian, April 2016

 

“... on display was the truly exceptional musicianship of the young Benjamin Grosvenor, directing Mozart’s last Piano Concerto from the keyboard ... Under Grosvenor’s faultless touch, every tiny shift of temperature and nuance was made eloquent and entirely coherent ... a revelatory performance.”

- The Independent, April 2016

 

“... a sensational performance of Grieg’s Piano Concerto by pianist Benjamin Grosvenor ... [he] dispatched those famous opening chords in a serious yet unpretentious manner that was to characterise his interpretation of the piece ... I have written previously about this young pianist’s astonishing talent for bringing out the darker elements in music and this was territory he was to explore once again in the cadenza. He was dizzyingly accurate in the more virtuosic passages with every note clearly audible in lacerating arpeggiations. He and the orchestra built towards a furious climax.”

- Bachtrack, February 2016

 

“Benjamin Grosvenor plays this Chopin Concerto like no one else. Such nuance and personality. I found myself grinning constantly at his turns of phrase.”

- All Classical Portland, January 2016

 

“Miami is fortunate to be following so closely the career and development of such a prodigy ... His performance left no doubt that he has developed and matured, and that we are in the presence of a great artist.”

- Sebastian Spreng (The Knight Foundation), January 2016

 

“... he is a pianist of extraordinary talent and musicianship”

- Classical Source, January 2016