20 Mar

Carnegie Hall debut: Reviews

Thanks to everyone who came to my Carnegie Hall recital Keys to Romance on Feb 24 – and to the several recitals in Norway ahead of my NYC debut! I am so grateful for this grand experience, and for all the attention I got in the form of reviews. Reviews are most often a scarcity nowadays, but luckily, bloggers and online journals often ‘save’ us musicians when the paper press has to prioritize differently.

Below, you can see excerpts from the four reviews I got, along with links to the full texts. Happy reading!

Michael Miller of the New York Arts: “Christina Kobb… emerges in this recital as not only an outstanding scholar and historical instrument specialist, but a master of the modern piano of impressive musicianship and sophistication. … Kobb’s studies of the keyboard technique of Schubert’s own time have shown her how to render the bass with perfect clarity and to phrase the melody beautifully with a minimum of pedal. Her playing of the Allegretto [of Schubert’s D. 537] was impeccable … This performance was not only the result of scholarship and musical application, but a colorful and sensitive revelation of an underestimated piece.

Her performance had all the bravura one could want as well as the intimate expression she has so finely cultivated in her playing…This was an especially rich debut concert for New York—rich in scholarship, thought, sensitivity, musicality and maturity—and promises a rewarding future for lovers of piano music.”

Jeffrey Williams for The New York Concert Review: “a thought-provoking evening, both intellectually and musically. … Ms. Kobb’s program notes were among the best this reviewer has seen. Her style is that of the storyteller, and while she presents musical analysis, it is nothing beyond the grasp of most, regardless of their level of music education. … The one thing that is immediately apparent about Ms. Kobb is her no-nonsense approach. If one wants extravagant gestures, flashy dress, and indulgent readings, they need to look elsewhere. Ms. Kobb is all about the music. … Ms. Kobb treated the audience to a reverent performance [of Grieg’s op. 1] that exceeded the musical value of the pieces. … [Schumann’s sonata op. 11] was the highlight of the evening, as Ms. Kobb played this love story with passion while maintaining complete control. … The filled hall gave Ms. Kobb a standing ovation at the end.”

Victor Levy of piaNYC: “I thoroughly enjoyed Keys to Romance. Ms. Kobb’s upright posture may have seemed prim to some. For me it seemed refined, even majestic. There was no artful hand waving or crouching. There were very expressive motions and revealing facial expressions completely in sync with the very beautiful sound. Enhanced by a physical expression with no deficiency, what I heard was not a sound fit for the small space in which a performer of the early Romantic era would have performed on a keyboard of the time. Christina Kobb’s passion, expressed in the reconstructed technique adapted for this occasion, filled the modern Weill Hall with all of the finesse written into the scores, as well as the full power of the emotions that the composers felt for each other, preserved and made audible for us, their enduring admirers.” (The photo above is by Victor Levy).

Daniele Sahr for Seen and Heard International: “At the piano, Kobb smiled often and figuratively danced with the instrument. … Excerpts from Clara Schumann’s Quatre Pieces caracteristiques were delivered like a gift … [In Schumann’s op. 11], her maturity as a pianist and interpreter shone through. Though Schumann famously wrote some of the most difficult scherzos, Kobb met the challenge with virtuosity and skill, never sacrificing her interpretive thread to the technical demands. … She held [the audience] in full attention and wonder.”

A special thanks to the reviewers, who took the time and effort both to get to know my work and to publish about it – I appreciate you so very much!