in F minor Op.5
Variations and Fugue on
a theme by Handel Op.24
OUTSTANDING INTERNATIONAL RECORD REVIEW
EDITOR'S CHOICE ABC LIMELIGHT
5* Notable New Release ALLMUSIC.COM
5 de DIAPASON DIAPASON
5* Review SINFINIMUSIC.COM
5* Review PIZZICATO
CD-TIPP NDR-RADIO BREMEN
RELEASED FEBRUARY 2013(UK)
Listen to extracts -
Brahms Sonata No.3 in F minor Op. 5 III. Scherzo
Brahms Sonata No.3 in F minor Op. 5 V Finale
"His warmth and sincerity combine with a superbly assured and powerful technique to create one of the finest performances on record (even when compared with the likes of Curzon and Lupu")
"his control of dynamics is exquisite, especially in the many shades of piano and pianissimo"
CD REVIEW: BBC RADIO 3
"Jonathan Plowright’s brilliant new release on BIS is certainly one of the best recordings of the Sonata to date….an extraordinarily powerful interpretation…. clarity prevails everywhere and in lyrical sections, assumes a limpid fluency of melting beauty… phrasing is exquisitely shaped…Plowright seems to have a dozen pianissimo dynamics at his disposal, each more quiet and still than the other… The wonderful performance of the Handel Variations that rounds out the disc is a deeply considered interpretation… I would urge you not to miss it.
INTERNATIONAL RECORD REVIEW
"Like Julius Katchen in his classic Brahms recordings for Decca of the 1960s, Plowright fearlessly probes the music’s restless mood swings from heroic outbursts of arresting power to passages of sublime poetic contentment, while never losing sight of its inexorable symphonic sweep.......he magically sustains a singing, golden sonority throughout even the most tempestuous of fortissimo outbursts, and in the long Andante second movement, in which his exemplary command of the music’s dramatic pacing feels entirely natural and inevitable"
"Jonathan Plowright's performance has a tremendous warmth...His handling of the layering of musical strands is magnificent, and above all it is the strength of his underlying emotional conviction that makes this such an admirable recording... Plowright differentiates the characters of the Variations with a brilliance of touch and beauty of tone."
BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE
"The fine singing tone and beautiful chordal playing that are his trademarks can be heard on this disc, finely projected in a superlative recording...his is piano playing that very few British pianists can match today"
"a carefully considered, yet intensely dramatised reading more tempestuous in approach than, say, Radu Lupu’s, but in its own way equally thoughtful… Plowright has a commanding technique and can bring enormous weight to bear on the keyboard when required, but he can also pull right back – as he does, for example, to realise the beautiful second subject of the first movement…. The Handel Variations are equally distinguished by perfectly executed Baroque articulations (at times taken at considerable lick)….. Please BIS can we have some more?”
"Jonathan Plowright is more than just the next 'new thing' to arrive on the piano scene...If Brahms ever wrote a symphony for the piano then the Sonata No.3 Op.5 is very much this piece, and Plowright's range of expression, his daring periods of absolute repose, extended passages of development and extremes of contrast deliver this impression as few other performances I have encountered....the sheer heft of a grand musical tradition carrying the music beyond pianism to something which engages the imagination on multiple levels...achieving a satisfying synthesis of other worldly transcendence and delicious harmonic thrills....the fireworks with which the piece ends are indeed spectacular.
I was beginning to wonder if now mght be the time to throw in the towel and do something other than this reviewing lark. Jonathan Plowright's performances soon made me into a believer again, and I suggest he might be able to do the same for you."
"Jonathan Plowright is a pianist who always excites.....gripping us from the start with its opening declamatory descending octaves and holding us spellbound through to the ecstatic close......a dazzling showcase for his superb talent."
"an impressive sense of direction and charge of energy, qualities which not every pianist captures. His Handel Variations are barn-storming, too, and the piano sound is satisfyingly meaty."
"He never lets any detail fall out of place, and he is alert to the ways in which central European dance music, the warmth, life-affirming counterpart to Brahms' intellect, is never far from even the most intricate phrases. A superior Brahms recital."
"This Brit is my sort of pianist. His spirituality, intellect and concentration coalesce to produce the finest version of Brahms’s sonata I have heard. If he can inject such spiritual introspection into the long second movement, imagine him playing the poignant adagio of Schubert’s final B flat Sonata....."
NEW ZEALAND LISTENER
"…aber was bei Plowright besonders positive auffält, ist die Klangtiefe und das Klangvolumen…. wo er genau dem Duktus der Musik folgt und zwischen Draufgängertum und Ruhemomenten die ganze Bandbreite der Ausdruckswelt des jungen Brahms erfasst. Die Händel-Variationen sind ein ebenso überzeugendes Beispiel für Plowrights Können: Zum einen in der wirklich barocken Spielweise des Themas wie dem Verständnis für die hochromantische Verarbeitung von Brahms. Ausgeglichen, mit aller Präzision und auch mit einer auffällig eigenen und persönlichen Agogik weiß der Brite hier genauso bestechend zu überzeugen wie schon in der Sonate."
"Als Höhepunkt der Brahmsschen Variationskunst sind die Händel-Variationen ein Stück, in dem jeder gute Pianist sein Talent, die Musik in ihrer Abstraktheit mit Farben und Stimmungen ausdrucksvoll werden zu lassen, voll ausspielen kann. Plowright tut es mit unendlich viel Phantasie und Poesie. Die Schlussfolgerung liegt auf der Hand: Dies ist eine hochkarätige Brahms-CD und man wünscht sich, dass BIS und Plowright mehr davon produzieren"
"Plowright und Brahms – das ist ein britisch-deutsches Dreamteam!"