Review in “The Boston Musical Intelligencer”
July 22, 2019
Review by Leslie Gerber
The Israeli pianist Daniel Gortler has collaborated at Maverick before. From the way he played three of Brahms’s late Intermezzi, he seems overdue for a full recital. Gortler completely convinced us, with very relaxed, rich- toned, rather rhythmically free traversals. He then joined with the Catalyst Quartet for a super-sexy performance of Franck’s Piano Quintet, one of the greatest examples of musical erotica.
Durban KZN Phil, South Africa
April 1st, 2016
Review by Michael Green
Beethoven’s piano concerto No. 1 in C major (dating from 1797, it is actually the second of his five piano concertos) was played by Daniel Gortler with an interesting and impressive combination of strength and delicacy.
This was no doubt the main attraction for the audience – Beethoven’s music has unmatched drawing power – and the prolonged applause at the end indicated that they thoroughly enjoyed the performance of a pianist of calm demeanour and high skills.
Ha’aretz (translated from the Hebrew)
February 1st, 2014
Who contributed the most touching rendition of Schubert at last week’s Schubertiad Festival? Daniel Gortler, with a major songs selection, together with the soprano Talia Or.
The “accompaniment” (in quotation marks because in Schubert’s pieces the piano is an equal partner) provided by Daniel Gortler was refined and unobtrusive.
Tri-C Classical Piano Series: Daniel Gortler at CMA.
October 29th, 2013
Robert Rollin, ClevelandClassical.com
When Israeli pianist Daniel Gortler entered the stage for his Sunday afternoon recital at the Cleveland Art Museum’s Gartner Auditorium, he radiated poise and concentration. Jet setter Gortler is on faculty at the Buchman-Mehta School of Music at Tel Aviv University and is guest piano studies professor at New York University’s Steinhardt School Department of Music. He regularly plays piano concertos and concertizes in solo and chamber music recitals around the world.
His program concentrated on the genre of piano fantasy and fantasia, and featured works by Mozart and Schumann. This was a clever choice because both composers are noted for their ability to string many themes together in a manner that makes their pieces seem structured and beautifully organized.
Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Brahms Concerto No.2
April 23, 2012
Israeli pianist and teacher Daniel Gortler took on board the piece’s challenges, reading deeply into its text, addressing its power, drama and contrasts, as well as its lyricism.
He allowed the piano to intertwine with the orchestra, using the work’s virtuosity to match the orchestra’s power and textures rather than as a means to showy playing; and he took part in instrumental dialogue in all its guises, sharing in Brahms’ delectable instrumental colors – marvelous use of horn, ‘cello, etc.
May / June 2011
Steven Hall, Editor
CD and DVD reviews
AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE
May / June 2011
Schumann / Daniel Gortler
R. Schumann 2 CDs Album, Romeo.
International Record Review ,Britain.
February 2011 Edition
The Israeli pianist Daniel Gortler has been performing to steady international acclaim since winning third prize in the Geneva Competition in 1984. His recordings include the complete Mendelssohn Songs Without Words as well as a collection of Schubert songs with soprano Sharon-Rostorf Zamir (both for Romeo Records). In the present two-disc Schumann set, which is my introduction to his playing, he reveals a high level of technical refinement and-more importantly- a distinctive musical personality. In this over-familiar repertoire, which sometimes invites interpretative extremes, he wins by playing simply and directly. This is not to say that he plays without color and imagination, for these are in abundance, but rather to say that at no moment does he let his pianism draw our attention away from the music. He seems to deliver the letter as well as the spirit of these scores in a way that is rare among younger pianists.
Tri-C Classical Piano Series: Gartner Auditorium, Cleveland Museum of Art
Daniel Hathaway, clevelandclassical.com
The Israeli pianist Daniel Gortler played a brilliantly understated concert of music by Schumann and Mendelssohn for the second event in the Tri-C Classical Piano Series in Gartner Auditorium of the Cleveland Museum of Art on Sunday afternoon, November 14. Letting Schumann’s Symphonic Etudes, the Arabesque and ten of Mendelssohn’s Songs Without Words largely speak for themselves without putting his own personality in the way, Gortler nonetheless left his own stamp on these pieces by thoughtfully pointing up their many subtleties and placing every note as carefully as a curator would place valuable objects in an exhibition. The result was a memorable afternoon of piano music with no over-the-top pianism to be seen or heard.
Schumann Concerto, May 2010
Israel Symphony with Pianist Daniel Gortler Conducted by Ilan Volkov, Opera House Tel Aviv.
Ora Binur, M’aariv Newspaper
Israel has a reason to be proud of its homegrown talent.
The conductor of this concert, Ilan Volkov, is a talented, successful and promising young man.
Pianist Daniel Gortler gives Schumann’s Piano Concerto depth with his mature and flowing playing and meaningful and very special personal interpretation… …To play Schumann this year is not a simple challenge…
Mr. Gortler’s tempi are unique: the first theme a bit slower than usual, and than he relishes the rubati in a beautiful second theme in the spirit of Chopin… He plays the third movement dance-like and with deliberate weight and always fascinating.
With his charm Gortler gives the audience a moving and winning experience…. He further showed his capability for intimate playing in his encore, another selection by Schumann, an excerpt from the Symphonic Etudes.
***** Highly Recommended
Noam Ben Zeev, Haaretz Newspaper
Schumann concerto in the first half, brought to the audience the soloist – Pianist Daniel Gortler, a Virtuoso, who shows in his playing a rare combination of expressiveness and an intellectual depth. It is gratifying that a pianist of such an international stature is performing on the Israeli concert stage.
Mendelssohn: Songs without Words, all. Daniel Gortler, p Romeo 7273 [2CD] 120 minutes
BECKER, American Records Guide
This is a serious contender among an outstanding group of performers that includes Daniel Barenboim and Benjamin Frith (not reviewed in ARG). The Israeli pianist, currently on the faculty of Tel-Aviv University, sings through this music with just the right amount of tonal variation and crisply spins many of the pieces with charm and delicacy. There is nothing remotely routine about his playing.
That much said, many listeners might prefer Barenboim’s more straightforward accounts on DG or the pianism and full sound that help to distinguish Frith on Naxos. Both Barenboim and Frith are budget recordings. Romeo, on the other hand, has tacked on a label showing “Specially Priced 2 CD Set”. Amazon.com gives a price of $29.98-not exactly a giveaway.
Gortler plays with great warmth and is especially sensitive to the shading required for each piece. The engineers have supplied a suitably plush recording from the Jerusalem Music Center that allows for comfortable listening at any volume.
Were I pressed to have just one performance of these life-giving pieces, I would now turn to Gortler. This was recorded in 1997. The notes are adequate, but tell us nothing about each piece.
Mendelssohn: Songs without Words, all. Daniel Gortler, p Romeo 7273 [2CD] 120 minutes
Burton Rothleder, Fanfare Magazine
Mendelssohn composed his “Songs without Words” between the ages of 19 and 36. The complete “Songs without Words” consists of eight books of six songs each-48 brief piano pieces, each a masterpiece. And that is what we have here, but we also have more. We have the young Israeli pianist, Daniel Gortler, who is a consummate musician and who conveys Mendelssohn’s various moods embodied in these brief pieces with delicacy, or force, or poetry, or humor, where appropriate. Gortler is clearly a major talent, and these pieces allow him to express this talent as a labor of love.
Mozart Piano Concerto K.466, Israel Philharmonic, Yoel Levi
M’aariv Newspaper, Israel
…Gortler is a very personal pianist. This was reflected from his very personal rendition of Mozart’s tragic work. His pianistic touch is both transparent and crystal clear. While others may emphasize the tragedy expressed in Mozart’s concerto, Gortler prefers to emphasize the tenderness and nobility. The Bach encore added a measure of sheer joy derived from the flowing harmonies emanating from his agile hands and the intimate warmth, which Gortler delights us by his playing.
Mozart Piano Concerto K.482, Houston Symphony, Christoph Eschenbach
The Houston Chronicle
Gortler seemed so at ease with the dimensions of his musical personality… He offered a lyricism that was unusually eloquent…
The Houston Post
…His light sparkling tone, his even scale technique and his fine projection of mysterious mood of the central variations and the fluffy, playful spirit of the final rondo resulted in a charming performance
Recital in Frankfurt, Germany
Frankfurter Algemeine Zeitung
…No doubt, the Schumann Fantasy was a high point a sweeping performance from the opening chords till the climactic ending.
Schumann Piano Concerto, San Francisco Symphony, Valery Gergiev
San Francisco Chronicle
…A splendid debut…Gortler won my heart immediately… His entire performance was along similar lines – dramatic when needed to be, but on the whole preferring pastels to Day-Glo… Gortler infused Schumann’s concerto with an air of fantasy and inner lyricism.
Recital, Hamptons Music Festival.Â Mendelssohn and Brahms-Handel Variations.
The East-Hampton Star, NY
…His expressive and sensitive interpretation of the work, in which each phrase created a sense of anticipation for the next, was both tightly controlled and expressive…A spectacularly impressive performance of Brahms.
Recital, Cape-Town, South Africa
…A pianist of high caliber…Gortler’s performance was so diverse, artistically refined and thought provoking that one left the hall with great cultural fulfillment…The hallmarks of his playing are undoubtedly an arresting cantabile tone, a clean transparent technique and a strong structured mental ability.
Recitals, New York City
Charles Michener, The New York Observer
On a recent evening, while the rest of the world was glued to the spectacle of bombs raining down on Baghdad, I found myself enthralled by the spectacle of a young man seated at a piano in the elegant paneled library of the Lotos Club. The occasion was a fund-raising gala for the Music Festival of the Hamptons, and the listeners-well-heeled men and women in evening dresswere not the sort to get sappy over one of Mendelssohn’s “Songs Without Words,” no matter how exquisitely delivered. But as the pianist, a young Israeli named Daniel Gortler, played the Song in D major, a Romantic miniature that rippled with straight-from-the-heart tunefulness, I felt a current of common feeling run through the room-a sense of profound gratitude that we were here together in a safe place.