Two live recordings at Wigmore Hall: Christian Blackshaw and Antonio Meneses

12 January 2012

The first recital of a series of four that Christian Blackshaw is dedicating entirely to Mozart’s piano sonatas was recently recorded by Wigmore Hall Live. Blackshaw’s “masterful touch” and “exquisitely liquid playing” have been generating unanimous praise amongst the critics.

“Christian Blackshaw’s recital, the first of four he is devoting to Mozart’s 18 piano sonatas, was exceptional – both for the quality and integrity of his playing and for the amount he revealed about Mozart’s often underestimated music for solo piano…it comes as a shock to encounter an artist of Blackshaw’s maturity and uncompromising spirit…The luminous tone he draws from the keys is a wonder in itself”
Andrew Clark, Financial Times *****

“he created such beauty in the second sonata’s Adagio that I would gladly have listened to two repeats of the opening section…In his hands the pared-down Adagio of the K570 sonata had the expressive resonance of a concerto solo”
Michael Church, The Independent ****

“He made the piano sing with a rare eloquence, conjuring poignancy and profundity… I have seldom heard a piano vocalise more soulfully than in the Andante con espressione of K311… performances that were never less than beautiful… From Blackshaw the minor-key episode of the slow movement was extraordinarily impassioned… Blackshaw’s remarkable precision and fluidity… Playing of this calibre ensures that this cycle is unmissable.”
Graham Rogers, ClassicalSource.com


The much-anticipated return of Antonio Meneses opened the New Year at Wigmore Hall. A long queue for returns characterised the event, a recital of Schubert, Brahms and Mendelssohn with Maria João Pires. The performance was recorded live by Deutsche Grammophon and, according to reviewers, “the CD should work a treat”.

“Every twist in the kaleidoscope was executed with extreme finesse…Meneses exposed the dark glory of his cello’s lowest register; dynamics swelled and ebbed like ocean waves; and there was muscle in the finale’s contrapuntal argument.”
Geoff Brown, The Times

“Meneses’ warm sound…a majestically laid-back account of Brahms’s first cello sonata, followed by a Bach Pastorale which showcased the mellow amplitude of Meneses’ sound.”
Michael Church, The Independent ****

“a player of aristocratic reserve, able to turn a melody with lovely grace…[the Arpeggione Sonata] sits perilously high for the cello, but Meneses tiptoed round its awkward corners with fastidious exactness…his warmly eloquent understatement…close to perfection.”
Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph ****

“The new year opened in style at Wigmore Hall last night with Brazilian cellist Antonio Meneses…Meneses and Pires admirably captured both the surface beauty and the heartache beneath…deeply expressive.”
Barry Millington, London Evening Standard

“Meneses’s natural poise…lent [Brahms’s Cello Sonata No 1] an elegant sheen.”
Hannah Nepil, Financial Times ****


Christian Blackshaw will be continuing his complete Mozart cycle over the next two years at Wigmore Hall. For more information, please visit Wigmore Hall’s website.  Antonio Meneses will continue touring with Pires throughout 2012; for further information about Meneses’ concert schedule, please click here.

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