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Michael Roll

  • Pianist


Michael Roll press reviews

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra - October 2004

"The evergreen popularity of the Schumann and Grieg Piano Concerti, frequently coupled on recordings, are yet rarely heard in one programme. Under Marin Alsop's perceptive direction Michael Roll embarked upon this delightful spirit. Having performed the Schumann under Sir Malcolm Sargent at the age of 12 we were assured of an in-depth appreciation of this sparkling work. His articulation and expressive style ensured all the marvellous melodic lines, including the lovely central intermezzo, were stated with wonderful authority, the virtuosic demands met with unassailable artistry all assisted by the BSO's warm and transparent orchestral textures. The Grieg Concerto has a wider range of moods and Roll was the man to exploit them in a spellbinding account. The first movement cadenza alone invited adulation for his immaculate playing from whisper quiet to barn-storming bravura. The slow movement too was so beautifully and poetically phrased, leaning on final notes with almost unbearable sentiment. Roll revelled in the finale; a truly memorable experience." Mike Marsh, Bournemouth Echo

West Australian Symphony Orchestra/Tuomas Ollila - March 2003

"This was a performance of all-embracing splendour. Deeply probing in its more expressive episodes and scintillating in virtuosic passages, Roll's reading took us into rarefied territory. The finale was unforgettably fine. In one of Beethoven's most successful essays in musical humour, Roll evoked its outbursts of backslapping joviality and peekaboo insouciance with the kind of playfulness that brought to mind Zequinha Abreu's 1943 piano hit Tico-Tico. And the lyricism with which he clothed the central largo was musicality of the highest order. Roll's accounts of Beethoven's 1st and 3rd concertos have been so exceptionally fine that WASO might consider mounting the complete cycle of Beethoven's piano concertos with him as soloist - it would be a musical coup for the city."

"After his WASO performances, Roll followed up with a piano recital at the Octagon of works by Beethoven. His account of the Scherzo from the Sonata in C from opus 2 was deeply impressive, the Trio section surging with rugged power. In its more reflective moments, Roll played in gently lyrical fashion. His passionate account of Schumann's colossal Fantasy ended a memorable recital from a prince of the piano." Neville Cohn, The West Australian

Queensland Orchestra/Andrey Boreyko - May 2002

"Then came the entry of soloist Michael Roll. It was as if we suddenly were at a different concert. Roll highlighted every contrast, every change of character in the work. There was no hint of bombast or extravagance. Whether crisp and choppy, smooth and lyrical, soloing or accompanying, every line and nuance was as clear as a bell." James Harper - Courier Mail

Neue Philharmonie, Westfalen/Tabakov - December 2000

"The other star of the evening was Michael Roll who has a worldwide reputation as a Beethoven interpreter.... The christalline purity he brought to the slow movement - seldom heard in this way - made for a movingly poetic Largo. Roll (whose facial expressions were clear pointers to the work's sound world and structure) was not afraid to stress a particular musical point in an individual way whether it be in rests, resonances, rapid passage work, arpeggio phrases or pedalling yet always in a logical manner. His Chopin Nocturne encore - dreamily impressionistic - was also a gem." Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung

"The British pianist Michael Roll shone in Beethoven's first concerto. He is a formidable virtuoso with a splendid technique, conjouring up some glorious passage - work and tasteful ornamentation... The intensity and solemnity of the slow movement were inspirational.... The audience did not let him go until he had given a Mozart encore. This exceptional performance only served to emphasize his reputation as one of the leading British pianists of today." Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung

"One has heard this concerto in so many different performances and believes one really knows it - then along comes a Michael Roll and plays it in such a way that one finds oneself hearing this piece as if for the first time. To begin with the public is taken aback - Roll interprets the music not only with his hands but also every fibre in his body. Every conceivable emotion is expressed in his face from wittiness to defiance, light to shade and the smallest detail is brought to life is a most unsentimental manner. I have seldom heard Beethoven like this and the orchestra appeared electrified by the unique presence of this pianist. Roll's Beethoven playing was absolutely masterful and the calls of bravo were most deserved. If anything he reached even greater heights in his deeply poetic Chopin encore. We really must hear this pianist again." Ruhr-Nachrichten

The soloist Michael Roll excelled in Beethoven's first concerto with a performance of utmost refinement and nobility. His fluid and energetic playing displayed an exceptionally wide range of dynamics as well as rhythmic vitality which constantly directed the listener to fresh ideas about the work. Roll weaved magic in the deeply spiritual Largo where his phrasing had a most moving intensity. The wonderful pedal staccati in the coda were breathtakingly realized. The orchestra under Emil Tabakov were a homogenous partner who supported the soloist sensitively and with a fine feeling for colour." Recklinghäusen Zeitung

Mozart Cycle, Essen - October 2000

"In the Mozart Cycle in Villa Hügel one heard a fresh and unencumbered performance with the internationally renowned pianist Michael Roll. Joie-de-vivre and charm were there in abundance whilst Roll was directing.... Roll's sovereign and exciting style carried over to the orchestra... His convincingly direct and always natural way of conducting as well as his captivating pianism held the audience rapt... it was a musical Experience which was received by the audience with great enthusiasm." Dagmar Schenk-Güllich, NRZ

"Roll understands that Mozart is master of the natural. In other words, he does not over articulate and avoids any harshness. In the quicker movements he is always looking for repose as well as the impulsive, whilst in the slow movements he generally emphasises the cantabile line.... Roll's warm-hearted and sparkling wit were a delight. The central work was a well-crafted performance of the Symphony No 21 in which Michael Roll could concentrate completely on conducting, where he succeeded in shaping a lively and never rough-hewn Mozart. One could feel the natural breath and phrasing in the clarity of texture in the Andante, and in the Minuet he avoided any kind of repetitiveness. So, once again, we were left in no doubt that Mozart's unique sound-world is only revealed when the music's natural flow is left undisturbed." Michael Stenger, Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung

Vienna Symphony Chamber Orchestra - Konzertsaal Tallin, Estonia - Mozart K453 - September 2000

"One could feel the emotional core of the interpretation, as one could feel by the imaginative freedom of tempo that he adopted in the first movement, as well as the somewhat romantic approach to the slow movement, where he combined different shadings of dynamics and colour with great charm and subtlety." Igor Garsnek

International Piano Series, QEH London

"...The full house for Sunday's Queen Elizabeth Hall recital showed, however, that Roll has not lost contact with the London piano-loving public... Roll established from the first note his genuine, concentrated and absolutely distinctive command of instrument and music... the authority of Roll's Beethoven brooks no argument. His Schubert likewise... an impressive token of Mr Roll's mature mastery." Max Loppert, Financial Times

"... after what seems a mystifyingly long time, he returned to the QEH offering a straight down the line, no frills, no nonsense programme of great music played with a force and reality that compelled attention in every bar.... what he offers is so supremely satisfying, so manifestly the product of tireless thought and preparation. .. The sheer voltage of Mr Roll's playing was remarkable, tense and super-charged yet relaxing when frequently necessary into the most moving and reflective beauty.... in the supremely taxing closing pages of the Beethoven and Schumann Mr Roll carried us all to the highest musical plain. His audience included several celebrated pianists (most notably Radu Lupu), an impressive tribute to the regard in which he is held."Bryce Morrison, Music & Musicians

Hallé Orchestra

"Nobody is better equiped than Michael Roll to interpret the spirit and delicacy which mark all Mozart's work. So it was a real pleasure to see the gifted pianist back in full flow with the Halle. Perfection at his fingertips, and blending splendidly with the orchestra. Roll delighted a packed and enthusiastic hall with a masterly performance of Mozart's Piano Concerto No 22. Full of beautiful little exaggerations, he showed just the right touch of showmanship. Nothing was predictable, nor was anything out of place. Like the music itself, his reading reflected the whole range of human sensibilities. The slow movement was simultaneously sad and happy, while the finale was bright and cheerful. Every note, every figuration, even when the theme returned for the umpteenth time, meant something new..." Tom Waghorn, Manchester Evening News