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Brian Reinhart
MusicWeb International, December 2013

Ronald Brautigam’s Mendelssohn is so good it’s easy not to notice how good it is. That is, this playing feels so natural, so effortless, so perfectly songlike (cantabile!), that Brautigam uses many an artistic trick without ever sounding like he’s trying. Superb, singing fortepiano built after the design of an 1830 Graf. © MusicWeb International




Brian Reinhart
MusicWeb International, April 2013

Ronald Brautigam’s Mendelssohn is so good it’s easy not to notice how good it is. That is, this playing feels so natural, so effortless, so perfectly songlike (cantabile!) that it’s tempting to think, “why wouldn’t the music sound like this?”

That said, an awful lot of skill went into this recital of twenty-nine Songs Without Words (including five which, unpublished, are omitted from many “complete” recordings). Listen to how Brautigam is always able to “float” the melody over its accompaniment without making the melodic notes feel forced or over-emphasized; listen to how the long line is preserved so that you can easily imagine the broader “songs” (say, Op. 30/5) being sung from start to completion. Listen, in the very first track, to how incredibly busy Brautigam is keeping his left hand without showing any strain, and without letting the melody sag for a second. Occasional rubato, the most tasteful of pauses and delayed chords: Brautigam uses many an artistic trick without ever seeming to be trying at all. A lot of these selections are played very quickly, which makes their ease and luminous beauty all the more impressive. The first four books take 58 minutes, versus Michael Korstick’s 62. It all sounds natural. This Mendelssohn breathes like a living thing.

A superb recital. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review




Lee Passarella
Audiophile Audition, February 2013

Throughout, Brautigam plays with his usual polish and sensitivity; he’s really able to make an old piano sing as few others can. He plays a Paul McNulty pianoforte modeled on an 1830 Pleyel…

Overall…the combination of instrument and performer add up to an enjoyable and often thrilling musical experience.

This is such wonderful and central music that one interpretation won’t suffice for most collectors. But these pieces really should be heard on an instrument of the period; it’s truly enlightening. And I’m pretty sure that few interpretations on pianoforte will match the sympathy, skill, and sheer beauty of Ronald Brautigam’s. Bis’s lifelike SACD sound greatly enhances the experience. © 2013 Audiophile Audition Read complete review





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