Reviews of the 3rd CD

PianoNews 4-2014:

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Piano Sonatas No. 10 KV 330, No. 12 KV 332 and No. 13 KV 333 Susanna Artzt, piano Orlando Records or 0009 (distribution: Naxos)

The Croatian-born, Vienna-based pianist Susanna Artzt, who was discovered by Paul Badura-Skoda, is one of the most promising talents of the younger generation of female pianists. Playing with supreme facility and great delicacy of touch, she here performs the Mozart sonatas KV 330, 332 and 333 with lots of imagination and many poignant moments. Fine dynamic nuancing, unhurried tempi, and clear and intelligent phrasing characterise this young woman's playing. The trills effervesce so lightly; and Artzt often holds the final chords right back, as in the opening Allegro of Sonata No. 13 KV 333, leaving a movement almost in suspension the moment it dies away. No caesura seems inappropriate, no ritardando overdone. Just how one would like to hear Mozart. Ernst Hoffmann


Chosen as "CD of the day" by: Radio Stephansdom


Wiener Zeitung, May 2014

Susanna Artzt: Mozart Sonatas

Mozart as though for Valentine's Day     
Susanna Artzt: Mozart Sonatas, Orlando records

The KV 330s sonatas by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – and rarely have they sounded more graceful and elegant. The Vienna-based pianist Susanna Artzt is highly regarded in this country for her approach to the pieces she plays: thought through to the smallest detail.
True to form, in "her Mozart" the ethereal-intellectual element prevails with razor-sharp finesse. And that's how it should be. Nothing flashy, nothing superficial adorns these interpretations. In the B flat major Sonata KV 333, for instance, she changes her narrative style from reserved sentimentality to final joviality, keeping her composure at all times as is proper. The F major Sonata KV 332, with its opening alternation between unconditional major tonality and minor-key dramatics, presents itself to the listener as an airily played succession of variants, with drive right from the start. Enchanting, especially the splendid hunting theme. Equally, in the popular C major Sonata KV 330 the Austrian pianist demonstrates not only her affinity with, but also her aptitude for the Vienna Classics domain. In the effervescent closing Allegretto, Artzt offers a compelling display of sure- handed technique. A worthwhile recording since it's a really loving rendition and one that doesn't strain after effects.


Reviews of the 1st CD
with pieces by Claude Debussy, Alexander Scriabin and Lili Boulanger



Review of the Compact Disc by Paul LANFEAR

Susanna Artzt`s tone colours are second to none. Her playing of the first book of Images is everything one could wish for: wonderfully paced, without any superficial mannerisms and an impeccable command of texture. L`isle joyeuse receives here an unhurried treatment that is allowed to build naturally to its ecstatic closing bars without the music becoming engulfed in its own virtuosity. In Artzt`s hands the piece certainly seems to prepare us for the Scriabin sonata that closes the disc. Estampes receives again an immaculate performance in which the sheer beauty of tone, superbly captured in this recording, leads one to hang onto every note this pianist plays. Her Pagodes and Soiree dans Grenade are as evocative as her Jardins sous la pluie is highly charged. From gardens in the rain to the gardens of the Villa Medicis, where 21-year-old Lili Boulanger spent three years before the outbreak of war in 1914. The Trois Morceaux date from that final year and this short triptych is a significant work in the oeuvre of a composer who was sadly to die only four years later. The first piece is the most harmonically daring and clearly has its antecedents in the second book of Preludes by Debussy, although Boulanger`s musical voice is distinctly her own. Susanna Artzt captures the uniqueness of this voice perfectly; from the elusive melancholy of the first piece, through the child-like serenity of D`un jardin clair to the joy and vitality of Cortege. Perhaps the impression one is left with is of the extraordinary feeling of nostalgia for childhood expressed by a composer so young. A similar degree of retrospect is implicit in Scriabin`s op.16 Preludes and this is certainly brought out in Artzt`s interpretation. In this case, of course, it is to Chopin rather than Debussy to which the composer looks back, albeit through the prism of Mussorgsky. Again the pianist`s superb control of dynamic shading allow her to articulate each melodic idea with both subtlety and clarity. This is even more the case in the Sonata. By keeping the virtuosity of the piece in check she reveals more detail and succeeds in arriving at all the peaks without the excessive accelerandi that so many pianists rely on to achieve the climaxes. This is not Scriabin played with complete abandon, but with the exemplary poise and control that seems to be so appropriate here, given the context provided by the other works on the disc. A thought-provoking recital by a magnificent pianist.

RONDO-Magazine – Germany

Susanna Artzt is indeed a very tasteful Debussy interpreter. No single detail should dominate the whole. Whoever listens to the first book of “Images” or “Estampes” will have to admire such a fullnes of tone, such finely tuned grades of the piano passages, such a delicate use of the pedal that the names of the famous pianists spring to mind. It is not only that this playing on the piano is cultivated, it is also original. Matthias KORNEMANN


Maybe it is the „multi-national“ background of Susanna Artzt (forgive me this hackneyed expression) that makes her CD so rapturous. No incompleteness or compromises here. Her music is clear without being shrill, articulate without being pedantic, lively without haste, contemplative without being boring, and all this all of a sudden on a completely unpretentious new recording. You never get the impression that there is an artificial „interpretation“ imposed between the music and the listener, rather what you hear comes in its natural musical order; this music arises in a strikingly natural way, as if it had just been written down by its composer. Susanna Artzt disposes of undisputed lyrical possibilities on the piano as well as a virtuoso´s hand, that makes the highest demands on a pianist appear as a play of ease and laughter. Susanna Artzt’s masterly interpretation - I cannot say this otherwise - of piano works by Claude Debussy, Lili Boulanger and Alexander Scriabin, is, by the way, also perfectly recorded. A grand CD. Hans WINKING


CD chosen as „CD of the month“

As a pupil of Paul Badura Skoda, after winning several competitions and performing highly praised concerts, here we have the first CD of this young pianist Susanna Artzt, who lives in Austria. And what debut! In many respects she gives credit to the premature praises, which were conferred on her by the press on her first concert tour through Germany in 1999. On the one hand it is unusual, that a CD recording is not made on a classical grand piano, but on a smaller one (in this case it is the Bösendorfer 225) which however under the fingers of Artzt creates an almost sinfonic sound. Considering the interesting programme, which this young pianist has chosen, the necessity for thundering sound is very rare. With Debussy’s „Images“ and „Estampes“ as well as his „L’isle joyeuse“ she pours out flowery worlds of sound, extremely transparent and clearly accentuated, with much emotional depth. Cultured touch is the magic word, with which Susanna Artzt’s play can be characterized. At the same time she accentuates with fascinating tension, so that these well known pieces - freed from too much icing and transfiguration - sound in a fascinating novelty. And there is something else remarkable in that recording: Lili Boulanger’s „Trois Morceaux“, which are recorded very seldom. In these pieces the composer takes up Debussy’s stile and lets it develop in the direction of Poulenc. With these 3 miniatures, too, Artzt’s play fills us with enthusiasm. In the end the pianist, moreover, proves her knowledge of different means of expression: with the interpretation of Scriabin’s 5th sonata. Here she so convincingly conjures up the world of sound of the spirit of this Russian, who was always searching for the new, achieving it with that swinging between lyricism and vehement outbreak, so that one can almost speak of a new understanding of this work. Bravo! Carsten Dürer Interpretation: 6 Sound: 6 Repertoire: 6 (This is the maximum in all three categories)


Vienna Joy of discovery If you are interested in rare recordings, you may well find them amongst other piano recitals or from other record companies: Susanna Artzt plays very clearly structured, with superior technical skills and with subtly differentiated tone colours works by Claude Debussy, Alexander Scriabin and also three little pieces by Lili Boulanger (1893 - 1918). Lili’s enchantingly pointed miniatures give an impression of which new directions this young lady might have taken away from Debussy (as Satie or Poulenc did later). (Lili Boulanger died at the age of 25) Karl LÖBL


Susanna Artzt presents a winning performance, which stimulates your appetite for hearing her in concert ... a remarkable recording. Peter COSSÉ


Susanna Artzt uses her nimble, supple skill for a vivid and unsuspiciously pleasing performance of Debussy... Her decision to put some French rarities – namely the 3 delightful small pieces by Lili Boulanger - in between the works of Debussy and Scriabin, show her discographic prudence. Susanna Artzt succeeded in presenting a recording that points to her certainly hopeful future.


Reviews of the 2nd CD
with pieces by M.Ravel, F.X.Mozart, F.Schreker and F.Chopin

Journal of the International Chopin Society in Vienna

The poetry of dance in sound – and rarities rediscovered“ This would be a fitting description of „La Valse“, the latest CD to be released by the Austrian pianist Susanna Artzt. Maurice Ravel's great piano composition La Valse (Poème chorégraphique pour piano seul) opens this hour of music in three-four time and provides further evidence of her great pianistic accomplishment when it comes to structure and subtlety of sound. Judiciously she concludes the recording with the Menuet sur le nom d'Haydn and the Menuet antique which display how masterly both composer and pianist are in early music and counterpoint. Frédéric Chopin's Three Waltzes op.64 Nos.1-3 (the „Minute Waltz“ in D flat major with its fascinating perpetuum mobile, as well as the C sharp minor and A flat major Waltzes) are uplifting throughout – the sounds close at hand but issuing from „another world“. Of the 14 pieces on this CD eight are world premiere recordings! The Waltz Impromptus op.9 Nos.1 and 2 by Franz Schreker (1878-1934) are delicately articulated pieces of positive-sounding melancholy which turns in on itself or bewitches the listener with strikingly enchanting melodies. From Franz Xaver Mozart (1791-1844), the youngest child of the great Wolfgang Amadeus, we have the Six Polonaises mélancoliques op.17. His teachers Joseph Haydn, Nepomuk Hummel, Antonio Salieri and Georg Albrechtsberger ensured that, at the age of seventeen, he was artistically equipped to leave Vienna for Poland (Lviv) where he made a career as a composer, house tutor and the founder and director of a choir for almost 30 years. The very interesting and fine-sounding six Polonaises could be briefly characterised, perhaps, as follows: „A song of melancholy“, „Faint echoes of Chopin“, „Euphonious determination“, „If it must be, then so be it!“, „Explanation as to why melancholy“, „Search for help growing more urgent“. The pianist has earned our gratitude, not only for her first-class musicianship, but also for her discovery of rarities. Helmut Batliner (Gramola Nr.98809)


A high standard of instrumental playing and interpretational ethos: it is not hard to sound the praises for pianist Susanna Artzt, who has now somewhat daringly released a collection of waltzes for the increasingly active label Gramola. It offers well-known works by Chopin and Ravel side by side with charming, now largely neglected polonaises by Franz Xaver Mozart and waltz impromptus by Schreker that are also seldom performed: an Austrian pianist who knows what she wants and who possesses the ability required to lend form and sound to what it is she wants. Peter Cossé


An extraordinary talent Three years ago Susanna Artzt’s debut CD was voted CD of the month by PIANO NEWS. In the current edition you can read a cover-story interview with Susanna Artzt about her career, her new CD and much more. Here are two excerpts from the interview: Susanna Artzt had already come to our notice when she brought out her first CD. This CD, containing works by Claude Debussy, Lili Boulanger and Alexander Scriabin was immediately named CD of the month. The editors were particularly impressed by her highly nuanced phrasing and extraordinary richness of tone. When she was a guest at the Bechstein Centrum in Cologne in September last year, we took the opportunity of speaking to her about her career so far and how she sees things. Susanna Artzt has plenty to do: she has already made a name for herself in Austria and feels she is “breaking through”. But she remains realistic: “I see what I do as a calling, a blessing. This difficult path has brought me incredibly far.“ Susanna Artzt also plays a great deal of chamber music, and prepares a number of different programmes each season. After our meeting and conversation there is no doubt in our minds: this pianist will make her way; there is more and more that she will be able to accomplish. This is because Susanna Artzt is a thoughtful, serious musician for whom playing is a joy. And you can hear that.