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Joseph Moog

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Joseph Moog Press Reviews

"A particular interest here is Anton G. Rubinstein's D minor concerto...Moog is easily a match for its bravura...Moog's is a talent worth watching."
Telegraph, February 18th 2012
Rubinstein & Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos (Onyx Classics) 

"Joseph Moog, 'Young Artist of the Year' 2012 at the ICMA (International Classical Music Awards), reinforces the excellent impression we have of him. His performance is effortless and authoritative!

The young German pianist gives Rubinstein's fourth piano concerto, once played by Ignaz Paderewski and Sergei Rachmaninov, a refreshing briskness. The piece is given a pulsing, colorful interpretation, which makes this imaginative and creative composition come to life.

But Moog’s technical ability is not actually revealed until the 3rd Rachmaninov concerto.  It's not only the virtuosic, clear as glass and lightning fast runs, the fascinating power and grandeur, but also the precise sureness of emphasis, the use of light and shadow, the interchanging of dark and brilliant tone qualities, his abundant interplay of colors and the artistic spontaneity that is born in the melting pot of musical intelligence - which is why Moog’s playing, as technically brilliant as it is, is never just for show. Nicholas Milton, as an intelligent accompanying conductor, collaborated well and inspired the orchestra to give their best, even though this orchestra performs at a level several classes below Moog. For that reason, the recording technician could have put Moog more in the forefront. Minor objections to such an impressive piano performance." [translation]
Pizzicato, March 2012
A. Rubinstein: Piano Concerto no. 4; S. Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto no. 3; Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, Nicholas Milton; 1 CD Onyx 4089

"...The Young pianist Joseph Moog's scintillating virtuosity and knack for uncovering inner voices positively delights in all three movements [Rubinstein], and yields nothing to Marc-André Hamelin's extraordinary 2005 Hyperion recording [...] During solo sequences without the orchestra [Rachmaninov], Moog takes advantage of the spotlight, and lets his imagination run wild as he highlghts the thick piano textures' inner counterpoints (both real and implied) and daringly stretches out the first-movement cadenza..."
Classics Today, March 2012
Moog & Milton's "Rocky 3" and "Ruby 4" disc (Rachmaninov 3 & Rubinstein 4 concertos), Onyx

m&t Meilenstein
„Musik und Theater“  Zürich CH October 2011
In a talk with M&T, the young pianist Joseph Moog responded to the question as to whether he must often practice purely the technical difficulties: “Actually, the literature I play in concert is practice enough.  For example, ‘Hexameron” by Franz Liszt –  there is enough in that piece to keep my technique in good shape.”  Well, he has mastered this ‘Hexameron’, in conjunction with the Liszt year 2011 – and how!  A pianistic pinnacle of pathos followed by exploding fireworks in quick succession, with no need to fear being anywhere near Moog’s technical limit.  As a matter of fact, Moog’s hands give Liszt’s perhaps craziest pianistic tongue twister such a “tangible” and shining interpretation, that one’s amazement simply never lets up.  The pure youthful desire of a 23-year-old can be felt in his commanding performance, and at the same time, there is a creative force at work, making sense of every note, every motif and even the most obscure virtuosic swagger and filling them with brilliance.

With a subconscious sense of assurance, using broad-reaching associations and a sure eye for middle voices which Moog reveals in every measure with masterful intelligence, this extremely talented pianist captivates his listener again and again.  And the same holds true for the other 6 pieces on this altogether fabulous Liszt Recital CD.  Joseph Moog’s true artistry is his ability to bring these stylistically diverse works back to their inherent level of quality, freeing them from their questionable reputation of being so-called “Liszty pieces” by lending them meticulous precision, rhythmic clarity and musical sensitivity.  With ease, he seems to simply lay down the highly virtuosic Polonaise No.1 and the Ballad No. 2 and he displays an equally high level of artistic intelligence in his interpretations of both the pensive, expansive transcription of Beethoven’s magnificent song “Adelaide” as well as Bach’s contemplative Prelude and Fugue BWV 545 (draped in Liszt’s pianistic sound-cloak).  With these works, it is not enough to just play the right notes (which in itself presents a tremendous challenge).

Using the utmost discipline in phrasing and rhythmical eloquence, with every measure, the young pianist shows how he has made this music a part of himself.  This serious piano enthusiast clearly demonstrates that with Liszt, dramatic power and musical significance are not emphatically just a part of the quantitative overall sound mass, but are instead a question of personal interpretive skill (although Moog, similar to Goethe’s sorcerer’s apprentice, is more than capable of bringing the sound masses to a boil).

Without question, there are several very impressive new CD releases in honor of the Liszt year – but Joseph Moog’s brilliant Liszt kaleidoscope is in a class by itself. Also in terms of recording technique: even audiophiles are guaranteed to get their money’s worth. The sound in its own instrumental presence and large-scale authenticity is simply gorgeous.
Werner Pfister [translation]

Critiques from Joseph Moog’s 2011 Rachmaninoff tour in the Ruhr region of Germany

Sept. 8, 2011: Dortmund, Konzerthaus: Rachmaninoff Paganini-Rhapsody

“Benedikt Stampa, Director of the Konzerthaus, did not overstate things when he introduced the exceptional 23-year-old virtuoso Joseph Moog as someone who is currently ‘launching an attack on the world’s top pianists’. His playing combines utmost pianistic brilliance with profoundly expressive fluency (…)”
WAZ – Der Westen 

Sept. 11, 2011: Recklinghausen, Sept. 12/13: Gelsenkirchen, Sept. 14: Kamen: Rachmaninoff  3rd Piano Concerto

“...A young master pianist with noble brilliance: Joseph Moog inspired a standing ovation and fantastic applause from his audience. He possesses a mature expressiveness which combines with a full, gentle touch and captivating musical artistry as well as a seemingly endless variety of colors. (…) Fascinating, with what seismographic precision he integrates the musical flow and his free interpretation with the orchestra (…)”
Recklinghäuser Zeitung

“...Moog presented himself as a tone-color aesthete and revealed the fine structure of the work, and effortlessly ignited the fireworks of the prestissimo trills at the end of the piece.  The Earl Wild transcription of Rachmaninoff’s song ‘The Little Island’ was like a dream of flowing sparkling champagne-like runs (…) Heiko Mathias Förster, Music Director, can claim to have presented a new star among the world’s top pianists with the merely 23-year-old Joseph Moog as a soloist. Rarely does one experience such intense mutual sensitivity in the interaction between the soloist and the orchestra.
This interaction resulted in pure listening enjoyment, which inspired a standing ovation and cries for an encore from the audience."
WAZ – Der Westen 

"The soloist, Joseph Moog, not only mastered the rhythmically complex passages with effortlessness, but also succeeded in gently and sometimes pensively bringing out the typically Russian melodies, in spite of the hasty virtuosity of the composition. The work, outstandingly well performed by the merely 23-year-old soloist, was Rachmaninoff’s third piano concerto, which is rightly known for being very perilous.  The solo passages are spirited and exaggeratedly virtuosic. The pianist must master the rhythmical complexities, obscurities and an incredible number of notes. And Joseph Moog is more than capable of maintaining total control, even in the most virtuosic passages, and giving the abundant notes structural refinement and tonal color."                                                 Gelsenkirchen, Der Westen                                                         


"...brisker, better recorded and more individually characterised reading among six other superb Liszt interpretations encompassing Joseph Moog's Liszt programme. [in comparison to Pfaff's recording of Liszt's Valse Impromptu, the review continuing relating to Joseph Moog's disc...] It opens with the jointly composed Hexaméron, based on the march from I Puritani, whose highlights include the most supple and fleet traversal of Herz's fluffy note-spinning contribution I've ever heard.
In the seldom-played C minor Polonaise, Moog shaves two-and-a-half minutes from Stephen Hough's 12-plus minute mark, sharpening the dance rhythms with gruffer swagger and dashing though the central section's less inspired pages.
While the B minor Ballade's introspective passages have plenty of breathing room, the virtuoso outbursts arguably set new speed records, and without the slightest trace of banging.
The same holds true for the Beethoven/Liszt Adelaïde's fatigue-inducing repeated chords, although Moog's finger legato and controlled rubato most memorably take wing in the unabashedly garish Trauerwalzer Variations after Schubert. Moog closes this highly recommended progamme with a Bach/Liszt C Major Prelude and Fugue, BWV545, whose powerful and sonorous impact evokes more than merely a Baroque organ at full throttle."
Gramophone, Jed Distler, October 2011


"...Brave, individual programming from a pianist who is making a name for himself. Few other young pianists would risk such a programme but Moog, still 21, is bristling with talent and assurance. Moog played with unerring precision and exhilarating abandon. Another impressive disc from a name to watch..."
Gramophone, Jeremy Nicholas, July/August 2010

"...Moog is definitely one of the most interesting interpreters of his generation, more so, he examplefies a new magnetism for the classic audience...."
Klassik-Heute - Peter Cossé, 22.04.2010


"...Pianist`s Choice: A frighteningly intelligent and powerfull master of the instrument who in every respect is in a class above his colleagues. With pianists like Moog around, classical music cannot truly be in a credit crunch..."
Pianist Magazine Aug/Sept 2009

"...With extraordinarily disciplined phrasing and rhythmical precision, yet still incredibly clear and plastic in the shaping of the musical themes, the young soloist demonstrated how great virtuosity is optimally combined with a musical interpretive idea..."
Frankfurter Allg. Zeitung, June 2009