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Sang Woo Kang
American Record Guide, July 2016

…[Chen] demonstrates an understanding of how to balance Liszt’s bombast with sensitivity and thoughtfulness in these transcriptions. …His playing is crystal clear in the rapid passages that populate these works. …An excellent recording. © 2016 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide




Jed Distler
ClassicsToday.com, April 2016

It isn’t just Chen’s assured, elegant and totally effortless technique that blows me away, it’s also his idiomatic flair, his use of color and touch to convey character, plus a gift for textural variety and differentiation that one associates with golden age legends. © 2016 ClassicsToday.com Read complete review



Robert Cummings
Classical Net, March 2016

This new CD featuring pianist Han Chen is extremely well played. …This is Chen’s debut recording and it is clear that he possesses an all-encompassing technique and interprets the music with intelligence and feeling.

Chen is right on target in every piece, playing with flair, energy and a true Lisztian interpretive sense. © 2016 Classical Net Read complete review



Jeremy Nicholas
Gramophone, March 2016

Perhaps the two most notable performances here are the fantasies on themes from La Sonnambula and Der Freischütz. The latter was given its premiere recording by Howard in 1999 when the score was still unpublished, a superb work despite the somewhat contrived thematic combination towards the end. Han Chen gives a more muscular and, frankly, even more thrilling performance than Howard, and is recorded in a more focused acoustic. But whether it be hyphenated Weber, Bellini, Erkel or Ernst II von Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Han Chen is impressively commanding and authoritative. © 2016 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone



David Denton
David's Review Corner, January 2016

We have reached volume 41 of Naxos’s monumental release of the complete solo piano music of Franz Liszt, and are deep into his deluge of opera transcriptions. Composing such works had become fashionable in the early part of the 19th century as they gave ready access to ‘purple patches’ from the most popular operas of the day. In the case of Liszt they offered the opportunity to write works that would demonstrate his sheer virtuosity. More often than not there was added pianistic decoration in his fantasies, plundering Bellini’s La Sonnambula to provide a score not far short of thirteen minutes, and requiring fingers to fly around the keyboard, loads of brilliant octave passages employed in its grandiose conclusion. Yet elsewhere, as in the Oberon overture, the transcriptions simply follow the original score. The disc also shows how the mighty have fallen in the music world, as demonstrated by the operas of Ferenc Erkel and Ernst, both no more than names in today’s reference books. The soloist is the young Taiwanese pianist, Han Chen, winner of the Sixth China International Piano Competition in 2013, and similar awards in the Russian and Hong Kong competitions. Now living in the United States, where he has just graduated from the Juilliard School of Music, he has already given a number of critically acclaimed recitals. The present release, his debut on disc, shows a caring interpreter who can achieve the most delicate sounds, and no doubt in time he will see the operas he is now playing, and will probably take a very different view of the music. As an addition to the Liszt series, it is a thrilling show of technical perfection. © 2016 David’s Review Corner





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