Reviews

This page contains reviews of my scholarly and musical activities. Newest appears first on the page. Last updated 1 February 2014

A somewhat belated, but encouragingly positive, online review of the CD

J.Ph. Rameau, Harpsichord solo suites e-minor, d-minor and a-minor. Emergo EC 3921-2. 2001 (available for instance here).

“Diese CD von Tilman Skowroneck, 2001 erschienen, ist das Erfreulichste, was mir seit Jahren an Rameau-Aufnahmen in den Player gekommen ist […] Die im vorstehenden Post erwähnte Diskografie kennt diese CD seltsamerweise nicht.

Das Cembalo hat, ich habe es nicht anders erwartet, sein Vater Martin Skowroneck 1981 nach französischen Vorbildern fertiggestellt – eines der besonderen Merkmale ist die Bekielung mit Plectra aus Möwenfedern – wie Richard Egarr ist Tilman Skowroneck der Auffassung, dass dieses Naturmaterial “ein (etwas) größeres dynamisches Ausgangsniveau, eine größere dynamische Bandbreite, geringere Schärfe beim Anreißen und ein völlig andersartiges Arikulationsgeräusch beim Loslassen der Taste” erzeugt – bei dieser Aufnahme kann ich das alles auch hörend nachvollziehen. Das Instrument erklingt natürlich im tieferen französischen Kammerton, hier a = ca. 404 Hz, und eher mitteltönig gestimmt – eine von Rameau selbst vorgeschlagene Kompromißstimmung klang in E-Dur, der Tonart einer der hier eingespielten Suiten, nicht gut. So genaue Angaben würde man sich auf jeder Cembalo-CD wünschen! Das klangliche Ergebnis ist leicht dunkel, vor allem ist der Bassbereich klanglich deutlich abgesetzt und fast ein wenig an italienische Instrumente angenähert. Der etwas weichere Anriß erzeugt einen sehr angenehmen, attraktiven Grundklang, der Wechsel zwischen den verschiedenen Kombinationen der drei 8′, 8′ und 4′ Register gut hörbar macht.
Skowroneck äussert sich sehr interessant zu Rameaus Stellung zwischen Couperin le Grand und moderneren Strömungen, fragt nach dem Grad an inégalité, der für seine Musik angemessen ist, seiner Pädagogik, die im Anhang des 2. Buchs von 1724 dokumentiert ist … alles sehr lesenswert. Sein Spiel reflektiert diesen sorgsamen Umgang mit der Musik, hat bei ihm eine ruhige Grundströmung, die das spieltechnisch Schwierige, das Rameau unter anderem so faszinierte, vergessen lässt, obwohl er, wie er in seinem Text betont, die etwas komplexe Stellung dieser Stücke zwichen Virtuosität und anderen Aspekten der Musik schön ausbalanciert. Eine sehr empfehlenswerte Einspielung, die mehr Aufmerksamkeit verdient hat.”

Written on 1. October 2011 by the site administrator of Prospero – Forum für alte Musik at http://www.alte-musik-forum.de/index.php?page=Thread&threadID=704

“They gave a dazzling concert, both together and in solo performances. They began with an elegant specimen of Versailles Baroque in a suite by Hotteterre, a few years older than Bach. Bania played an exquisite solo sonata by Carl Philip Emanuel Bach that united French esprit with the elder Bach’s stringency and depth–a performance worthy of a great occasion. Skowroneck’s performance of three movements from J.S. Bach’s Partita [in A minor] was equally superb, culminating in a fluttering, butterfly-like Gigue that left nothing to be desired in either color or form.”

Rolf Haglund in Borås Tidning, 19 January 2009, about a concert together with Maria Bania, baroque flute

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From Barry Cooper’s review of my doctoral thesis Beethoven the Pianist: Biographical, organological and performance/practical aspects of his years as a public performer:

“In general, however, Skowroneck’s work is very impressive in the amount of material assembled on each topic, and the sophistication with which it is handled. The book is essential reading for anyone who wants the latest research on Beethoven’s piano playing, plus a comprehensive collection of all the significant documentation relating to this subject. There should be a copy in every major library and on the bookshelves of all pianists who wish to play Beethoven’s music in the way he envisaged.”

Barry Cooper in Svenska Tidskrift för Musikforskning X, 2007.
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“The concert ended with Pieces in D by Rameau. Here, the performer really seemed at ease … one gets the feeling that Skowroneck has been playing these pieces for a long time. His ornaments were particularly exquisite in the tender pieces, where a languid approach in every aspect of the music lulled us into a swaying trance. His timing in Entretien des Muses was particularly lovely, and his hesitations/staggering sounded natural and accentuated the instrument’s nacent resonance … Overall, an extremely satisfying concert, and a perfect way to end the meeting’s first day.”

Jonathan Rhodes Lee, 19 May 2003 on the hpschd-l. (See the whole review here; Heading: Performances).

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“[in the Triple Concerto], Tilman Skowroneck joined [the ensemble] as an articulate harpsichord soloist and, as a whole, a finely chiselled interpretation was presented which also was the conclusion of an excellent concert.”

Sven Andersson in Hallands Nyheter, 25 March 2003, about a concert with Corona Artis and Gottfried von der Goltz.

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“I thought I had an outstanding recording on modern instruments (Kocsis, Csaba), but nevertheless, it was like hearing three works unknown to me with a completely new spectrum of experiences. I will probably never again have any use for those steely and highly efficient interpretations, now that I have had the privilege of hearing the crawling venomous chromatics in the slow movements in contrast to the breakneck gestures of the speedy fugato movements. … The two musicians will play through a series of large European cities before they proceed to their planned recording, but with such high ambitions the result ought to be exceptional.”

Rolf Haglund in Borås Tidning, 12 August 2002 (Bach violin sonatas 6, 5, 4, with Antoinette Lohmann).

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“Skowroneck’s playing has grand style and takes all the space necessary to let Rameaus’ energetic virtuosity come to rest again. The harpsichord is tuned in meantone, at the low French chamber pitch a=404 Hz and it is voiced in gull feathers. Skowroneck chooses optimal conditions that in turn inspire him in such a way that now an addictive CD is waiting in the shops, crying to be bought.”

Marijke Schouten in Tijdschrift oude muziek, August 2001 about the CD with Rameau suites.

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“…Tilman Skowroneck showed in the course of the evening what it means to combine historical performance practice with a solid technique…The historical fortepiano may not produce the great tone of a modern piano, but it has enchanting nuances such as I have never heard on a modern piano. Especially in the Beethoven’s D-major sonata No. 7, I thought: yes, this is how it must sound.”

Wolfgang Westphal, 15 may 1998 in a newspaper from Rinteln/Germany.

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“…I personally favoured the concluding piece of the ensemble, the harpsichord concerto in D, partly for reasons of my earlier special feelings for this piece, which the soloist of the evening renewed by playing with outstanding technique and sensitivity.”

Erik Blomberg, May 1997, in a newspaper from Kinna/Sweden.

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“…the piano concerto [Mozart Kv 414] was performed extraordinarily well on the fortepiano by the pianist Tilman Skowroneck.”

Håkan Elwér 15 June 1996, in a newspaper from Skövde (a combined concert with Corona Artis, Scheinkvartetten and Jaap Schröder).

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“The encounter with Tilman Skowroneck is a pleasant surprise. His playing is stylistically very well worked out and yet not schoolmasterly. He has a natural rubato on the downbeats … As a whole, his playing is beautifully finished and displays a natural musicality.”

Christo Lelie in Trouw, 3 February 1994 about the CD Three Harpsichords, Seven Composers (See the whole review in Dutch here).

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“… a harpsichord solo evening of a most exclusive and exquisite kind … all the way through, Skowroneck gave an impressive performance. With knowledge and finesse he explored the limits of this varied programme. He is incredibly bold but he also has the capacity to see his ambitions all the way through…”

Rolf Haglund in Borås tidning, 10 December 1993.

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