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Pamela Hickman
Pamela Hickman’s Concert Critique Blog, September 2017

Tsalka and Tibbles’ playing is fetching. Flawlessly coordinated, fresh and clean, bold, dazzling and inspired, their reading of the works strikes a happy balance between their own spontaneity and the inbuilt composure of Classical keyboard style. Splendid passagework and contrapuntal clarity make for engrossing listening, as does Dittersdorf’s concept of “orchestrating” the keyboard. Under Tsalka and Tibbles’ fingers, the Metamorphoses’ many moods and textures emerge with articulacy on Paul Downie’s replica of an 1801 fortepiano, its true, unadulterated sound proving to be an extraordinarily fine vehicle for communicating the composer’s rich and often unconventional world of ideas, colours, textures and moods. © 2017 Pamela Hickman’s Concert Critique Blog Read complete review



Stuart Sillitoe
MusicWeb International, September 2017

The performance of James Tibbles and Michael Tsalka is excellent throughout… All in all, this is a most welcome and valuable recording, one which is a winner and not just as an historical rarity, but also musically; this music deserves to be heard and in Tibbles and Tsalka we have the ideal partnership to bring this music to life. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Janelle Davis
Indiana Public Media, September 2017

Fortepianists James Tibbles and Michael Tsalka are well-matched in their performances—so seamlessly responsive in their back and forth that it’s sometimes easy to forget there are two players and not only one at the helm of the 1801 Walter model fortepiano on which they perform. © 2017 Indiana Public Media Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, August 2017

During his lifetime, the Vienna-born Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf was best known as a highly prolific composer of comic operas most exceeding Mozart in popularity. Outside of the theatre, his major project, and one of the most ambitious of the era, was to compose fifteen symphonies using the words of Ovid’s Metamorphoses as his inspiration. That the project was completed is hardly in doubt, but his publisher decided that after the first six, the whole concept was a financial risk too great to undertake, though six were performed in public in that format. Maybe it was as an effort to rectify his monetary loss, Dittersdorf set about arranging the unpublished works for four hands at the fortepiano, in the hope that he would recoup some of his loss by the sale of sheet music. What happened therein is unclear, but three of them did appear in that format, and there is evidence that he might have arranged all fifteen for the keyboard in duo format. What is puzzling about the present issue is the description on the outer-part of the packaging that offers Three ‘Ovid’ Sonatas for Fortepiano, Four Hands, when the enclosed booklet acknowledges the fact that they are four movement symphonies. Confusion, but the works themselves are hugely enjoyable, and the fortepiano used—a copy of a Walter from 1801—made by Downe in New Zealand, packs the punchy sound the composer obviously wanted. It is played by the New Zealand historic keyboard specialist, James Tibbles, and the critically acclaimed Michael Tsalka. Clean articulation and perfectly balanced playing adds to my unqualified commendation. © 2017 David’s Review Corner





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