Martino Tirimo

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Reviews of Special Events

Schubert: The Great Piano Works at King's Place

“Martino Tirimo is one of the supreme Schubert scholars; he has completed various unfinished Piano Sonatas and produced his Urtext edition of the complete oeuvre. If this implies that, as an interpreter of Schubert, he adopts a dry and overly academic approach, nothing could be further than the truth. Having become immersed in the Schubert scores and having performed numerous complete cycles Tirimo has the uncanny ability to make the audience feel it is in the very presence of the composer.
Schubert reveals himself to a great degree in his piano pieces, writing them throughout his brief life. Hence he places every kind of emotion into the music. Tirimo replicates these utterly human feelings. He brings a remarkable clarity of thought, an empathy for Schubert's wondrous music and an architectural understanding so that the composer's often original structures become clear yet still intrigue in their innovation.
Opening with the delightful Moments musicaux, Tirimo produced a delicacy in his playing that was entrancing. The Piano Sonata in A minor was written under the shadow of Schubert contracting syphilis. It is a work that seeks to marry musical economy with feelings both tragic and sad. Tirimo maintained a firm grip on the music denying it a sense of self-pity that can easily spill over into morbid reflection. He brought out a sense of anger regarding fate dealing the composer the severest of penalties for his lifestyle. But the song-like slow movement was an oasis of calm and the beguiling finale, so simple at the opening and so stern at the end, was beautifully played.
The Sonata in D was written during a happy holiday in Gastein in 1825. Tirimo tore into the opening Allegro vivace with spirit and an unrelenting sense of momentum. In the slow movement he observed the con moto marking and brought out the exquisite invention. Throughout the energetic Scherzo and delightfully joyous finale he maintained a buoyancy of spirit, pointing to Schubert's growing compositional originality and with it prophesies of future composers.
The little but engaging encore was a Dance in D from Sechs Atzenbrugger Deutsche. From Tirimo Schubert is elevated to the very greatest level in music. A visit to the Rembrandt exhibition at the National Gallery allows an exploration of the link between these two geniuses, where all humanity seems to flow from their individual creativity. Tirimo is one of the very few interpreters of Schubert who suggests this comparison. This was the first of five Schubert/Tirimo recitals at Kings Place.”
Classical Source, January 2015

Cycle of Chopin complete works at King's Place

“This is what Chopin anniversary year ought to be all about; a thoughtfully planned adventure zigzagging through the complete works on which the listener feels privileged to eavesdrop, and where the chameleonic genius of the composer always comes first. This eighth concert in the enterprising Kings Place "Chopin Unwrapped" series was the first I've been able to catch, and I realised what I'd been missing. Martino Tirimo's two halves offered a demanding but enthralling journey from youthful buoyancy into the labyrinths of human thought and feeling.
Tirimo is not about flash and airy glitter, even if his impeccable sense of rubato frees up every number and relieves any sense of sobriety in his plain-speaking articulation. His other supreme qualities are a refusal to rush the big stuff, for me Zimerman's big flaw the other week, and a reluctance to swamp the florid passages with the sustaining pedal.
The quest, Tirimo seemed to be telling us, was to be continued - as it will be in four more concerts this June which I'll try not to miss. After all, it's rare, and surely the highest tribute to the interpreter, to come out of a Chopin recital thinking not "what a brilliant pianist" but "what a composer".”
David Nice, The Arts Desk, March 2010

“A pianist of great refinement and artistry, Martino Tirimo has constantly performed the great Romantics apart from Chopin. So this conversion, or perhaps better said, opportunity to rediscover a Master is welcome from the mind and fingers of such an aristocratic performer.
This recital used as its cornerstone three towering masterpieces: the Polonaise in F sharp minor, the Scherzo in C sharp minor and the Piano Sonata in B flat minor. In each work Tirimo achieved miracles of light and shade, tremendous power when needed, runs of the most wonderful radiance, and depths of poetic nuance. These qualities were also in evidence in the various Mazurkas; miniatures they might be, but as dispatched by Tirimo, these become intimate tone poems, galvanised by a lustrous imagination.
Tirimo uses the piano for displaying the wonder of wisdom. He achieves space when others fill the void. In Chopin he climbs the heights of Everest and strolls the foothills of Snowdonia, each surveyed through the prism of colour variance and textural clarity. The piano becomes the medium to display Chopin's great gifts for exposing desires and frailties. Tirimo and his piano, as on display in this magnificent recital, are literally indivisible in illuminating Chopin's greatness.” Edward Clark, Classical Source, February 2010

“A colossal feat, in expressive as much as purely statistical terms.”
David Nice, The Arts Desk, July 2010

Cycle of Mozart complete solo piano works at Cadogan Hall

“Last Friday, Martino Tirimo concluded his series of eight Cadogan Hall recitals that embraced the solo piano works of Mozart in their entirety. Those who missed them will be gratified to know that a 12-CD set has been released.
Tirimo's playing is so without affectation: the listener's awareness rests in the music, not in its performance. Even in the Fischer Variations K179, demanding in terms of virtuosity, the flowering of forms out of such a bland and unpromising theme allowed us a glimpse of the composer's own creative genius at work.
Greatest of the evening's contrasts was the Fantasie [K457]. Tirimo's subtle shifts in tempo and dynamic gradation revealed a world unrecognisable in place or time. The startling tonal contrasts, growling bass and languorous resignation in the D major second section before the fateful final return - this music must be allowed to speak for itself. Tirimo's intimacy with it, and his mastery of execution, allowed us to hear it as Mozart wrote it.” The Independent (5 stars)

Beethoven Piano Concerto Cycles

Directing the Dresden Philharmonic from the keyboard

“The pianist Tirimo enthralled us with superlative versatility. His enormous pianistic achievement alone demands respect, but no less impressive was the clarity of inspiration which Tirimo - whether visibly conducting or not - communicated to the orchestra... extraordinary music-making. The musical intentions of the partners were fused into an audible unity... Two great evenings with thunderous applause.”  Sächsisches Tageblatt Dresden

“Extraordinary indeed were the first two concerts of the Series, with a remarkable star: Martino Tirimo. He has pronounced personal qualities which were manifest in his superb piano playing and also in his imaginative control which he communicated to the orchestra. This breathtaking rapport between soloist and orchestra was indeed the most wonderful experience... an offering which was very unusual and which correspondingly produced a sensation.” Dresden Union

“He (Tirimo) proved himself to be a brilliant and sensitive pianist at the same time as being an inspiring orchestral conductor.”  Sächsische Zeitung Dresden

At the Royal Festival Hall, London

“Soloist and orchestra, after several performances in Dresden and elsewhere, have established a unified attitude towards their reading. In the Third and "Emperor" Concertos on Friday night, the clarity of textures, lean sonorities and avoidance of anything that smacks of a rhetorical gesture led to authentic-sounding interpretations.”  The Daily Telegraph

“It was an evening when Beethoven spoke with unusual directness and ease. The wonder was that Martino Tirimo, directing the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra from the keyboard in Beethoven Concertos, so readily made the procedure seem so natural. He communicated directly, focusing on the composer not himself. Fresh and sparkling as his account of the Third Concerto was at unforced speeds, he rose even more impressively to the extra challenge of the Emperor Concerto.”  The Guardian

At the Barbican Hall, London

Beethoven Piano Concerto No.5 with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields

“a true giant of the keyboard”
“Martino Tirimo has a list of accomplishments long enough to fill a book, starting with his conducting seven complete performances of La Traviata with soloists from La Scala, Milan – at the age of 12! More recently he has become the only pianist I have ever seen play the Tippett Piano Concerto from memory. No wonder the composer chose him to record the work under his own baton.”
“we experienced such a wonderfully fresh and vibrant Emperor Concerto.”
“Unlike so many young tyros of the keyboard Tirimo rushes nothing when speed is not needed. Instead his playing rightfully places Beethoven at the pinnacle of philosophers in music. His qualities are rarities nowadays, among them thought given to every bar and an ability to take the long view instead of adopting short term antics beloved by so many others. This was Beethoven after all, not Chopin!”
“Audiences are missing out on these treasurable qualities and concert managements should take all necessary steps to ensure his manifest talents are allowed to be heard in full flow.”
Musical Opinion

Schubert - The 21 Piano Sonatas

“A triumphant new series.”  The Guardian

“One of the achievements of the 1997 Schubert year.”  The Daily Telegraph

“It will be keenly sought after by collectors.”  The Gramophone

“Martino Tirimo is at present engaged in performing the complete Schubert piano sonatas at Wigmore Hall, all of them being recorded by the BBC for future transmission, which is of considerable interest, for Mr Tirimo is quite simply an ideal Schubert interpreter... inhabiting the poetic world of each [sonata] with absolute conviction and projecting that world with touching simplicity via the technique of the most sophisticated mastery, for Schubert, the perfect confluence of interpretative qualities, yet so rarely heard.

Mr Tirimo's performances were firmly based on a perfect understanding of the lyrical quality of the composer's symphonic thought, the dramatic structure emerging from song, and his handling of the singing quality of the sonatas' basic material was relaxed, radiant, yet suggested the coiled spring, so that the literally tremendous development in the "Reliquie's" first movement could move from disarming simplicity to greatest power by the most natural path imaginable”  Anthony Payne, The Daily Telegraph

Tirimo as conductor

“Tirimo, the conductor and Schubert scholar, got right to the heart of the 'Unfinished'. The two-movement symphony, under his direction, became a thrilling experience.”  Dresden Union

“The powerful inspiration that an orchestra could derive from a musician of Tirimo's stature was further revealed in Schubert's B minor symphony. Under conducting of such complete insight the musicians of the Philharmonie rose to magnificent heights: I have rarely heard them play so well.”  Sächsische Neueste Nachtricten

“Orchestra and public were fascinated by his authoritative and elegant conducting. A freedom and deep inner joy could not have been more happily intensified in Dvorak's symphony No.8 in G major op.88 - what a thrilling development towards belief in hope, confidence and rejoicing, right to its tempestuous dancing finale!”  Sächsische Zeitung

“Whenever Martino Tirimo steps onto the platform of the Dresdner Philharmonie, the musicians prepare themselves for great achievements... a glowing testimony to Tirimo the masterly musician and inspiring conductor. He revealed an outstanding feeling for Mozart's sound-world... (in the Haffner symphony) Tirimo displayed remarkable conducting skills and presented the symphony with refreshingly musical sonority and spirit - a totally successful performance, which was deservedly loudly applauded.”  Dresden Union