Press Quotes

INTERVIEW  

    WITH

HRISTO KAZAKOV

 

http://www.fanfaremag.com/content/view/51576 

 

Debussy and Scriabin CD featured on Delmarva Public Radio (USA)

 

wsclblog.blogspot.ca


 

 

 

 

"...the concluding pages of the development section of the Molto moderato, which are simply heartbreaking. In the opening measures of the Andante sostenuto, Kazakov carefully delineates the contrast between the right hand and the rising octave figurations in the left hand, and the results are revelatory." Schubert Piano Sonata in B Flat, D960.

- Fanfare, Radu A. Lelutiu

"Kazakov has strong fingers and a good ear for clarifying the work's (Goldberg variations by J. S. Bach) knottier contrapuntal traffic."

- Gramophone, Jed Distler - May 2013

Preludes from Book 2 by Debussy - "Like Arrau's, Kazakov's Debussy has a declamatory, evocative nature that many other pianists downplay in favor of surface sheen and forward kinetic momentum. Put differently, while other pianists seem perfectly satisfied to paing musical canvasses, Kazakov seems intent on weaving together a narrative."

- Fanfare, Radu A. Lelutiu 

"In the Debussy works, Kazakov impresses with his flexibility of tempo, control of dynamics, and firm grip on the music's subtle emotional trajectory. He thinks across bar lines, at times rejecting the surface allure of the music for the sake of achieving a true narrative structure. What's most remarkable is that, as he did in his recording of the Goldberg variations by Bach, Kazakov is able to make this oft-played and elusive music sound as fresh as I've ever heard it."

- Fanfare, Radu A. Lelutiu

 

"Kazakov is supremely artful, but his playing is free of artifice. His control of dynamics, color, and pacing are masterful and on the level of the legendary Debussy of Gieseking and Michelangeli, combined with a sort of Zen-like calmness of expression that makes the music glow". 

- Peter Burwasser, Fanfare

"Out of the Bulgarian blue comes Hristo Kazakov to throughly upset the Goldberg Variations landscape… You often hear about how significant the spaces between the music are; here is a rare example from an unexpected source, a combination of incandescent thinking and very cool playing that demonstrates the role that silence can play. The superbly clear and colorful sound, recorded in Sofia’s Bulgaria Hall, completes an unexpectedly illuminating and inspiring experience that teaches us much about what it means to play Bach."

- Laurence Vittes, Audiophile Audition

 

"Kazakov is preceded by many masterful piano recordings of this music [Goldberg Variations], but the marvel of his version is a crisp freshness that seems both spontaneous and thoughtful, as paradoxical as that may sound… Kazakov often surprised me with inner lines pulled out of the notes with flair and imagination."

– Peter Burwasser, Fanfare

 

"…pianist Hristo Kazakov is a true artist and…his performance of the Goldberg Variations — easily one of the most recorded works in the pianistic repertoire — stands alongside the finest I have heard."

– Radu A. Lelutiu, Fanfare

 

"Kazakov formed a great arc over the thirty pieces which never collapsed because the pianist drew forth the characteristic element of each variation and thereby placed each piece in a tension to the others. So it was that he released the huge, ironclad, repetitively ascending and descending chords of the eighth variation wonderfully into the singing lyrical ninth variation. And before the rather cramped 26th variation he upheld the calm of the minor variation Nr 25, relishing a simple accented passing note fully."

– Sigfried Schibli, Basler Zeitung, 9. März 2009 (Translated by Bevis Stevens)
[Johann Sebastian Bach "The Goldberg Variations"]

 

"Hristo beautifully conveyed the sombre mood of the well know first movement and the lighter, happier mood of the second. The tumultuous final movement, evocative of a storm, provided a complete contrast and an exiting finish to the first half of the concert."

– Stranraer & Wigtownshire Free Press, January 12, 2012
[Beethoven Moonlight Sonata]

What kind of pianist is Hristo Kazakov? Listening to his melting performance of the first of Scriabin's op. 11 Preludes, you'd peg him as a sensitive introvert, one with an enviably soft touch, a superior sense of the rise and the fall of the phrases, and an almost uncanny responsiveness to the nuances of the music's shifting harmonic weight. Listening to his vehement performance of Liszt's Jeux d'eaux, you probably identify him as an old-fashioned virtuoso, with plenty of thunder to his interpretive arsenal. Listening to his slow performance of the first movement of the Schubert - Piano Sonata in B (it would run a good 24 minutes if he had taken the repeat), you'd think of him as a deeply meditative player, capable of capturing a rare rapt beauty (he's especially magnetic in the development). Listening to his performance of Cloches à travers les feuilles by Debussy, reticence would seem the least of his qualities.

In other words, he's a Protean musician - one whose interpretive stance changes dramatically from piece to piece (and even within a piece)...These performances are, in sum, uniformly adventurous, while uniformly unpretentious. 

 

- Peter J. Rabinowitz, Fanfare

...on Debussy (Images) and Scriabin (24 preludes) op.11

As was the case with the Bach recital, Kazakov seemingly blithely encounters repertoire that has been extremely well represented, and yet manages to offer a fresh perspective. He utterly avoids any kind of histrionics, working in a calm, evenly paced momentum that allow for fine gradations of tonal color, subtle dramatic insights, and utter respect for the composer's direction. There is something charmingly old school about this playing; at his most poetic, Kazakov even put me in mind of the magical performances of Horszowski.

- Peter Burwasser, FANFARE

on Claude Debussy (Preludes Book 2)

...There's a quality to Kazakov's touch that engages at least one other physical sense beyond that of hearing...His readings capture the essence of these pieces in a way I don't think I've ever encountered before. From head to heart and from hands on keys to feet on pedals, there's a total absorption of Kazakov into this music; pianist and composer are as one. 

- Jerry Dubins, FANFARE

Fanfare Magazine

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