With his debut album, Love and Death, the young British pianist takes on epic themes, expressed in works by Prokofiev, Bach, Liszt, Schumann, Wagner and Granados

03 May Northern Chords Festival

04 May Northern Chords Festival, Love & Death

07 May Philharmonia, Royal Festival Hall

06 June BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Cardiff

07 June BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Swansea

Martin James Bartlett, the brilliant 22-year-old British pianist, releases his debut album “Love and Death” today ahead of appearances with the Philharmonia, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and at the Northern Chords Festival this weekend.

Since his 2014 victory in BBC Young Musician of the Year competition, Martin James Bartlett has built a considerable international reputation. “Love and Death”, with its imaginatively conceived programme, gives proof of his artistic range: "I'm absolutely thrilled to release my debut album Love and Death on Warner Classics,” he says. “These are two elemental themes that have inspired breathtaking masterpieces from poets and composers for centuries. My album features gloriously beautiful music by Bach, Schumann, Wagner, Liszt and Granados, culminating with an impassioned and fiery 'War' Sonata of Prokofiev and I can't wait to share it with everyone."

In creating the programme, Bartlett’s starting point was Liszt’s transcription of Schumann’s passionate song ‘Widmung’ (‘Dedication’), set to a poem by Friedrich Rückert. “It is a love song that also speaks of death,” he explains, “and it concludes with a quote from Schubert’s ‘Ave Maria’, introducing the idea of heavenly love.” These themes are explored throughout the album.

The Times has written that “the wit and colour in pianist Martin James Bartlett’s playing [is] thrilling,” while the Telegraph has spoken of his “astonishing delicacy and punch”, and Nice Matin has described him as “an accomplished artist who counts among the greats of his generation”.

In 2015 he made his BBC Proms debut at London’s Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He returned to the Proms in 2018 and in the course of the 2018/19 season he makes his debut with the BBC Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales and Philharmonia (Royal Festival Hall, London), also playing recitals worldwide.

His 2017/2018 season included a Mozart concerto under the baton of Sir Bernard Haitink, engagements with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra and a recital debut for the Musashino Foundation, BBC Proms, London Mozart Players, Manchester Camerata, and recitals in Madrid, the Duszniki International Chopin Festival in Poland as well as throughout the UK.

Winner of both second prize and the audience prize at the Bad Kissingen KlavierOlymp competition in October 2018, he began 2019 by participating in Sir András Schiff’s masterclasses at the Salzburg Mozartwoche, having taken masterclasses at the 2018 Verbier Festival Academy with Schiff, Richard Goode and Sergei Babayan. His schedule for the current season also includes appearances with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Janacek Philharmonic Ostrava in the Czech Republic and at the Klavier-Festival Ruhr, Kissinger Sommer and Mecklenberg-Vorpommern festivals in Germany as well as at the Biarritz Festival and at Piano aux Jacobins in France.


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