Recital in Queen Elisabeth Hall in London:
“We don’t hear as much of Swedish-born pianist Peter Jablonski in the UK as we might, which is strange, given that he lives here. He developed a reputation for being a hard-hitting heavyweight, a criticism not borne out by his recent work, in which vigour is offset by great delicacy. There’s a maverick quality to Jablonski’s programming, however, that reveals an easy familiarity with a repertoire of considerable breadth. His latest QEH recital was no exception.
The first half consisted of two big, moody 19th-century ballades: Liszt’s Second in B minor and Grieg’s in G minor. Some pianists prefer a bright tone in Liszt, but Jablonski opted for something darker, so that the obsessive left-hand chromatic scales heaved with menace, while the arpeggios and figurations that surround the expansive central melody combined beauty with a deep sense of unease. Grieg’s Ballade – in reality a set of variations on a Norwegian folksong – has a discursive quality that Jablonski could not disguise, though the emotional range of the performance was immense, with crushing grief in the central lento, and sardonic, angry humour in the scherzando passages.
After the interval came works by Gershwin, Copland and Samuel Barber. The jazzy extroversion with which he tackled Gershwin’s Three Preludes for Piano spoke volumes about his fondness for this music, while Earl Wild’s transcription of Embraceable You was breathtaking in its dexterity and finesse. Muted and Sensuous, the fourth of Copland’s Four Piano Blues, was a wonderful mix of sleaze and elegance. The case for Barber’s Sonata – with its angular lines and sparse sonorities – could not, meanwhile, have been better put. There was one encore – Debussy’s Feux d’artifice, sensationally played.”
Tim Ashley, The Guardian
Kennedy Center, Washington DC
It may happen once a season or once in a lifetime. Along comes a talent, not merely your run-of-the-mill virtuoso, but someone, something extraordinary that makes you rethink a piece of music you thought you’ve known forever. It happened Thursday night: the piece, Grieg’s Piano Concerto; the talent, Swedish pianist Peter Jablonski. Jablonski has all the technical talent he’ll ever need. But what’s truly astounding is that he already has the spiritual weight to match…. When the notes are played they are transcendent. This reviewer has heard pianists run out the same hackneyed phrases for decades, yet none in living memory has brought the same strength, confidence, finesse and sense of rediscovery to these well worn notes.
Overwhelming impact… Undoubtedly the most staggering recital of the entire festival. Such extraordinary energy, intensity, inwardness and musical insight, all grafted on to a technique of transcendental brilliance and supreme control that is amazing, even in this age of proliferating virtuosity. I will be able to boast in later years of hearing a young Horowitz or Rubinstein at the threshold of his career.
New Zealand Evening Post
Turn to Peter Jablonski and you have a young eagle in full flight who is in complete mastery of his instrument. Be it soaring in the Liszt B minor ballade or gouging burning flesh in the Scriabin ninth sonata with his great talons, it was some of the most memorable pianism I’ve heard.
In Tchaikovsky’s 2nd Piano Concerto, all ears were tuned to the wondrous piano playing of Peter Jablonski. He made real music of a mammoth. The delicacy and inspired colouring of his playing lifted the music’s spirit. His determined rhythms, tempered by all sorts of nuances and differing emphases, made it buoyant. The technical pressures of the concerto held no fears for him. But it was the additional dimension of artistry and musical insight that made the performance so memorable.
Daily Telegraph, London
From the 1st note of Peter Jablonski’s performance of Tchaikovsky’s 1st Piano Concerto (conducted by Myung-Whun Chung), I was captivated. He played the piece magnificently and unaffectedly, giving a delightful performance.
‘In his solo recital Peter Jablonski gave a fresh performance of a wide ranging programme. His Liszt (Hungarian Rhapsodies) were consistently tense and finely rhythmic. His playing of Debussy’s ‘Feux d’artifice’ was exquisite’. ‘This artist, who made headlines with Ashkenazy, showed that he is a pianist befitting these headlines, a fresh new artist for the new century’.
During the concert evening of the Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester in the Philharmonie, the young pianist Peter Jablonski, with experience in jazz committed himself to George Gershwin. During his Concerto in F he displayed outstanding abilities, effortless but full of power, skipping over all the symphonic hurdles with internal and external drive resulting in final exultation – which nobody could hold back anymore…. Jablonski had brought the house down.
Die Welt. Berlin
He managed to combine springy rhythms and nonchalant ease with lyric expression,sparkling playing and an almost impressionistic sonority ,which was greeted by the audience with outbursts of spontaneous applause
Swedish pianist Peter Jablonski who, in his simple, non-dramatic style, proved himself to be the dream performer of the concerto, a work in which brilliance alternates naturally with poetry and tenderness With this sudden romantic surge, Grieg reveals a nature that feels quite close to our French spirit. And this balance was well expressed by the young Swedish pianist, with his simple yet sensitive touch and his impeccable technique which was made outstandingly obvious in a short piece, composed by Jablonski himself, in which to our greatest satisfaction, the pianist moves about his instrument as nimbly as a cat.
Le Figaro. Paris
The real high point, however, was the pair of Paganini-inspired pieces. Peter Jablonski was the soloist. The finest of today’s young pianists, he attacked Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody with bravura, panache and mercurial wit. (BBC Symphony/Kreizberg)
The Guardian. London