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John Whitmore
MusicWeb International, May 2017

In my review of a previous release of Reto Kuppel’s recording of the solo violin music of Ferdinand David, I said: “Straightaway it must be acknowledged that the playing of Reto Kuppel is absolutely sensational and his violin is recorded in very analytical, close sound”. Kuppel’s playing in these works by Vieuxtemps is equally sensational with the added benefit a more appealing resonant sound from the warmer acoustic of the Bethanienkirche in Leipzig.

Reto Kuppel is a magnificent player with a fearless approach and fine tone. I can’t imagine hearing finer performances than this. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, May 2016

Born in Belgium in 1820, the son of a violin maker, Henri Vieuxtemps was a child prodigy at the age of nine, becoming part of a generation of touring virtuosos. Suffering a stroke at the early age of forty-three, which took the use of his right arm, he spent the remainder, of a relatively short life, composing. Many of those works were for solo violin, the great masterpiece being the Thirty-Six Etudes completed the year before he died in 1881. He dedicated it to the Paris Conservatoire with the words that they ‘will make not only skilled instrumentalists, adroit acrobatics, but musicians’. If you have ever tried to play them, you will know you have to be a remarkable technician to play many of them, Reto Kuppel taking up an extreme challenge having selected some of the most difficult ones. At times, I have the impression that he is intent on playing them at a speed few others can emulate, and while it is truly amazing—the Seventh in particular—they do sound so breathless that music is taking second place. By contrast, his more relaxed approach to the Six Morceaux is a beautiful traversal through its many facets, particularly the art of double-stopping linked to immaculate intonation, and spiccato that is so very precise. The Bach inspired final Introduction and Fugue is a particularly fascinating movement perfectly performed. Back to a technical hurdles in La Chasse, with the early work, Six Etudes de Concert bringing the disc a close with mind-blowing pyrotechnics as the bow flies across strings. Closely recorded, but a very special release, particularly if you are a string player. © 2016 David’s Review Corner



Joseph Magil
American Record Guide, May 2016

This is some of the best music of its kind that I have heard, …Reto Kuppel is an ideal interpreter with technique to burn, and the performances are very well recorded. © 2016 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Jerobear
Review Corner, January 2016

…fresh sounding, contemporary and engaging, …It is well written, and skilfully played by Reto Kuppel. © 2016 Review Corner Read complete review



Jeremy Nicholas
Gramophone, December 2015

The German Reto Kuppel…is superbly attuned to the genre… All the necessary brilliance and incisive attack is there as you would expect, but also the same breadth and power of tone which was, from all accounts, part of what made Vieuxtemps’s own playing so remarkable. © 2015 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone



David Denton
David's Review Corner, November 2015

Music history has passed through a series of performing revolutions, where one remarkable virtuoso creates new levels of unbelievable technical accomplishments. That others soon follow has always been the result, and often in abundance, as happened when Paganini bewitched the world with his violin virtuosity, only to see others, including the Belgium-born, Henri Vieuxtemps, quickly following in his footsteps. Most, like Paganini, wrote music to showcase that technical brilliance, though in Vieuxtemps we find the first of those virtuosos who were adding meaningful orchestral accompaniments for the large orchestras developed through the central part of the 19th century. Apart from seven violin concertos, he wrote numerous paraphrases on operatic melodies, salon pieces, and a wealth of material for unaccompanied violin. The 36 Etudes were composed around 1880 and were for advance students to “make them not only skilled instrumentalists, but also musicians”. The German-born Reto Kuppel, has chosen six that often push the performer to the very limits of possible dexterity. The Six Morceaux, published posthumously, are full of the most attractive melodies and come in direct descent of Bach’s sonatas and partitas. They require, particularly in the pages of double-stopping and exceedingly difficult chords,  the exact intonation that is one of Kuppel’s trademarks. Having had first-hand experience of editing, I know you could not ‘fake’ such remarkable performances, Kuppel musically dancing through the Six Etudes, the composer’s earliest work in the genre. A truly stunning release, in superb sound. © 2015 David’s Review Corner





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