“Superstar” Mahan Esfahani releases “ravishing” Rameau

16 December 2014

Following the enormous success and many accolades won by Mahan Esfahani’s recent recording of CPE Bach’s Württemberg Sonatas – including Gramophone Baroque Instrumental Recording of the Year, a Diapason d’Or and BBC Music Magazine Record of the Month – his second recording for the Hyperion label has been met with equal enthusiasm. Awarded 5 stars in Diapason, Mahan’s recording of Rameau’s Pièces de Clavecin has been described as “a masterclass for the instrument, confirming this young artist as a truly great player” (Philippe Ramin, Diapason).

Here is a selection of some of the other stellar reviews so far:

“A key factor in determining the longevity of an interpretation is the degree to which the performer succeeds in characterising the music and, on this point alone, top marks must go to Mahan Esfahani, who seems always to have its measure and brings unfailing wit, affection, fluency and pacing to his interpretations…Having just won a Gramophone Award for his superlative CPE Bach recording, Esfahani has surely trumped it with Rameau’s solo harpsichord works.” – Julie Anne Sadie, Gramophone

“I found his playing delightful, intelligent and insightful. He has pleasingly clean articulation throughout and can play with muscularity or delicacy, (or both) as each piece demands. His is a really impressive account of Handel-inspired Gavotte and six doubles (variations) and the A minor Suite, where he never lets momentum sag and builds up to a thrilling climax. By contrast, his Les Soupirs from the D Major Suite is gossamer light and seems to suspend time in dreamy nostalgia. Ravishing! [...] Esfahani’s set is, on balance, very successful and can be recommended to diehards and neophytes alike.” – Andrew O’Connor, International Record Review

Recently placed in The Sunday Times ‘100 Best Records of the Year’ for his CPE Bach disc and described as “an emerging superstar”, Mahan has also gained much praise for his recording of Byrd, J.S. Bach and Ligeti for Wigmore Hall Live. Editor’s Choice in both Gramophone and BBC Music Magazine, this disc has also been placed in The Telegraph’s ‘168 Best Classical Music Recordings’, which remarked: “So you think you hate the harpsichord? Iranian-born American harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani will make you think again. He makes the music so vivid you forget the instrument’s limitations”.

On top of this hugely impressive output of solo recordings, Mahan has also just released a disc of music by Corelli for recorder and harpsichord with one of his several collaborators, the Danish “Queen of the Recorder”, Michala Petri. Recorded on the OUR Recordings label, the disc has been extremely well received by the international press:

“Petri and Esfahani still manage to sound absolutely bewitching throughout this uncannily beautiful recording from Copenhagen`s Garnisionskirken. Such is the musical chemistry between them that one soon becomes fully attuned to hearing this familiar music performed on the recorder… Equally, if you`re happy enough with just harpsichord accompaniment alone, then look no further than Petri`s and Esfahani`s immaculately played and diligently prepared new accounts, which seem in every way the last word in tasteful and elegant musicianship, with a magical recording to boot.” – Michael Jameson, International Record Review

“A very well produced album. Here are two different types of artist playing in astonishing harmony. Six beautiful sonatas performed and with equal ease and many frills.” – Søren Schauser, Berlingske Tidende

“Esfahani is a wonderful harpsichordist who follows with as much taste and self-confidence as his partner.” – Carsten Dürer, The Ensemble

“These players make an absolutely terrific duo in transcriptions that seem to fall so naturally to these instruments. The very fine recording from Garnisonskirken, Copenhagen, Denmark gives a nice acoustic around the players whilst retaining detail and clarity.” – Bruce Reader, The Classical Reviewer

“Fresh, communicative, joyful music-making…I do hope that they will do more together.” – Andrew McGregor, BBC Radio 3 Building a Library

In August 2014 Mahan signed as an exclusive artist with Deutsche Grammophon.

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