Bertrand Boissard, Diapason

Alkan: Le Festin d’Esope, Sonatine, Trois Morceaux Op. 15

[…] The works of Alkan require a truly transcendental pianism, a cool head and a remarkable coolness in front of the features and sounds of an oddity that remain unsurpassed, both in his time and in those to come.

The fierce Festin Esope which opens the CD of Vincenzo Maltempo, author of a text of great richness, is presented as a series of variations each most insane than the others. The Italian pianist, whose skills and precision are truly remarkable [...], gives us a fiery execution always well substained. He outclasses Raymond Lewenthal (RCA), who is not always clear and precise and whose sound is quite unappealing, but also that of Ronald Smith (EMI), rather dull and without follies. […]

In the Trois Morceux dans le genre pathétique [...] Maltempo puts all his sensitivity, his lyricism, his clarity of formal conception, the warmth of its marks in the service of this disturbing cycle. […]

With this passionate record Maltempo confirms his place in the restricted circle of Alkan’s best performers.

Bertrand Boissard, Diapason, Sept. 2013, 5 * * * * *

Rafael Sala, Piano News

Alkan  – Sonate “Les quatre ages” – Symphonie pour piano solo

PianoClassics 2011


“The interpreter is certainly not second to the composer: as piano compositions by Charles Valentin Alkan are in fact highly virtuosic, so bright is the pianist who faces them, the Italian Vincenzo Maltempo. A wonderful technique, sounds like carved in marble, a courageous and strong execution: difficult to overcome the intensity reached in a work like the Sonata “Les Quatres ages”. ”

Rafael Sala, PianoNews

Andrew Clements, The Guardian

Alkan: Grande Sonate Les Quatre Ages; Symphonie

Alkan’s hyperbolic piano music has always seemed an acquired taste. Monumental in its scale and ambition, and vociferously championed by its supporters, it’s too often disappointing in performance, with little to show for the huge virtuoso effort involved in playing it. But Vincenzo Maltempo pairs two of Alkan’s best-known works, the programmatic Op 33 Sonata, Les Quatre Ages, and the four pieces from the 12 Studies in the Minor Keys Op 39 that make up his solo-piano Symphony, and reveals them as music of great lyrical beauty. Maltempo does not attempt to disguise the more derivative passages (Chopin is regularly invoked and Liszt sometimes anticipated, while the first movement of the Symphony worries away at a theme from Schumann’s Op 17 Fantasy), he plays them all with such conviction and poise that the music seems totally of a piece. There’s no flinching from the most extreme technical demands – the fiendish second movement of the Sonata, Quasi Faust, is triumphantly negotiated – and the sheer strangeness and power of the invention is given free rein. Exhilarating, and a real revelation.

Etienne Moreau, Diapason

Alkan: Grande Sonate Les Quatre Ages; Symphonie

“[...] Vincenzo Maltempo is definite, imaginative and clear in mastering with intelligence moods almost Schumannian and its gradual slowdown [Grand Sonata Op 33]. In Symphony for solo piano, from the more conventional structure, this young performer (27 years old this year) find a resolute and energetic tone without sentimentality or stiffness, and tends an effective arc from the beginning to the end of this path. Without philosophizing and unostentatiously he does not hesitate to dwell on the beauty of a theme, an agreement or harmony, giving the music a certain order. We must return to the pioneering – and undervalued – recordings of Ronald Smith (EMI) to find an approach so healthy and convincing to the music of Alkan. “

Robert Nemecek, Piano News

Liszt- Piano werke – Gramola 2008

Today, where everyone is trying to rid Liszt from the stigma of only “virtuosity”, it may seem almost a provocation that a pianist just put the “paraphrase” at the heart of his Liszt program. But Vincenzo Maltempo [...] does not seem to share this view. He, on the contrary, shows respect and admiration for these works, restoring their dignity music. We did not hear an interpretation of “Réminescences de Norma” with so perfect phrasing and with such a sensual “bel canto” for a long time. Even the “Tarantella di bravura from Auber” does not seem just a mere circus number. Of course, it “roars and thunders” in Maltempo’s interpretation, thanks to his extraordinary piano technique and his “characteristic” Bosendorfer. But unlike other interpretations this theatrical effects is immersed in a thoughtful drama that the Italian interpreter materializes with an unerring instinct for balance and beauty of sound.

Nemecek, Piano News *****

Liszt- Piano werke – Gramola 2008

[...] What is most striking in this CD with works and paraphrases by Liszt is the confidence with which the Italian pianist Vincenzo Maltempo, born in 1985, approaches famous works highlighting foreground the musicality. Convincing and intelligent the selection of the program that combines with clever well known tracks to other less famous. The brilliant  and impeccable interpretation demonstrate the virtuosity of Maltempo, who is – as mentioned – primarily interested to the substance of the music.

Pizzicato *****

Giorgio Pestelli

Liszt- Piano werke – Gramola 2008

[...] A pianist of unfailing technical constitution, certified by the same fanciful choices… The interpreter rather than get into the heart of the poetic of Liszt prefers to observe it from a distance working with chisel and operating with the sharpest instruments.

Giorgio Pestelli Classic Voice

Lorenzo Arruga – Premio Venezia 2006

So … has won a 21 year old guy, a guy from the air between the artist and the scientist, not tall, bow tie and long hair: Vincenzo Maltempo [...]. I listened to the semifinals [...] and in the required secret I cheered: Mal-tem-po, Mal-tem-po! He has a loving attitude for authors and music, a warm touch, phrasing free enough to speak musically face to face with the public, and almost a little old-fashioned, but without emphasis and at ease as much as in Chopin in the Impressionists. To be adopted immediately.

Lorenzo Arruga, “Il Giornale”

Marcello Filotei, L’Osservatore Romano

[...] And it also may happen, in this homelike atmosphere, that after dinner, just before midnight, the Late night concert is less soporific than could be expected. The most chilly resist thanks to covers of wool and would be expected to flee after the last chord, since they are there from 6 p.m. listening to Baroque to contemporary music. But no, they ask for an encore. And the key to it all is still the transcriptions for piano, very rare. Vincenzo Maltempo, in addition to having an exceptional technique, delights in finding unlikely scores… In this case he offers Czerny variations on a theme of Schubert and a piano transcription of the first movement of the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 3 by Beethoven. The daredevil who wrote the transcription is a nineteenth century French composer, Alkan; the phenomenon that has faced a very difficult piece is precisely Maltempo: elegant phrasing, never ostentatious virtuosity, mastery of form and musical sense, especially in distinguishing from start to the end the part that stemmed from the orchestra from that coming from the piano. All alone with the touch. Jot this name gentlemen, a pianist is born!

Lucca – Festival “Col Legno” 2011

Gabriele Balloi – Teatro Lirico di Cagliari

[...] “Maltempo sets up a real challenge: “Polonaise No.1 in C minor,” “Hungarian Rhapsody # 13 in A minor,” “Spanish Rhapsody: Folies d’Espagne et Jota aragonesa’,’Années de pèlerinage. Deuxième Année. Sonnet 123 of Petrarch”,  “Tarantella di Bravura from Auber”. Many performers would be dizzy just to mention such a program. To Maltempo instead everything seems to come easily, [...] with a virtuosity “transcendental” that does not neglect even a single note. He digs with pique the torrential density of Liszt’s writing, reaching a clarity that depleted excesses. Bright, crisp, thorough in pedaling, remains aware of every detail even where the “romantic baroquism” of Liszt becomes more nervous and magmatic. A prodigy to keep in mind.”

Gabriele Balloi, La nuova Sardegna

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