Mahan Esfahani’s recording for Wigmore Hall LIVE – his second CD release this year – has once again garnered a string of stunning reviews. With music by William Byrd, J.S. Bach and Ligeti, the album has also been named ‘Editor’s Choice’ in both Gramophone and BBC Music Magazine. Here is what the critics had to say:
“With an instinctive sense of rhythm and a gift for interpretation, Esfahani has firmly established himself as one of today’s most thrilling harpsichordists.” – Martin Cullingford, Gramophone
“Byrd’s Walsingham variations are enlivened by Esfahani’s animated pacing, incisive fingerwork and effortless distinction between legato and detached phrasings… Highly recommended.” – Jed Distler, Gramophone
“Esfahani marches and dances, sings, swaggers and prays, with a sensitive balance of delicacy and vigour. He brings intelligence and grace to the Ricercars and a canon from Bach’s Musical Offering, their contrapuntal lines spun with limpid clarity. But perhaps most striking are the dazzling realizations of three harpsichord pieces by György Ligeti. These eclectic soundscapes are splashed with the exotic colours of Hungarian folk music and the acidulous tunings of mean-tone temperament; they pulsate with the syncopations of jazz or the rhythmic complexities of late 14th-century ars subtilior, and they hypnotise with the ever-turning ground basses of Baroque laments or the repeating chord patterns of rock and pop. Esfahani communicates all this, and more, with giddying technique and a perceptive understanding of Ligeti’s mongrel idiom. His two harpsichords glimmer radiantly in the Wigmore’s fine acoustic.”
– Kate Bolton, BBC Music Magazine
“He is a simply superb player. His technique is beyond criticism and his inherent musicianship goes far deeper than mere surface understanding… It is difficult not to warm to such a musician, and when one hears his performances of these Byrd pieces – so musical, so essentially re-creative in the best sense, with each note and phrase fully part of the piece itself – one can only applaud the young man’s artistry. His sensitivity is of the highest, and the brilliance of his playing – especially in the Galliard to the Fifte Pavian and the Marche Before the Battell – is breathtaking. Both the Fantasia (No. 52 of the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book) and the concluding piece in this selection, Walsingham, demonstrate the finest harpsichord playing I have ever heard, so much so that on hearing them at first, I was compelled to repeat the experience several times.”
– Robert Matthew-Walker, International Record Review
For more information about this recording and to order a copy click here.