Axel Schmitt was absolutely brilliant with his solo. With flying hands and almost motionless pose, he beautifully conjured Beethoven's concerto into the hearts of his listeners.
Axel Schmitt gave a commanding recital that vindicated the excitement he had caused earlier this year when he performed Rachmaninoff's 2nd Piano Concerto. [He] displayed a tender touch on Chopin's Polonaise-Fantasie, with breathtakingly beautiful transparency.
Powerful and expressive in his technique and meticulously planned in his mind, he launched into MacDowells Piano Concerto No. 2. Expression and color determined Schmitt's performance.
The catalyst for such a ravishing Rachmaninoff was piano soloist Axel Schmitt, who completely captured its character in a stunning interpretation. He cascaded over the keys with an absolutely stunning originality that made us sit up and hear it anew.
Wonderfully drastic sounds and incorruptible rhythm in the Vivace of Prokofiev's Eighth Sonata.
The audience experienced an artist of mature, extremely rich ability of expression.
Prokofiev's Sonata No. 8 was written during the difficult time of the Second World War. In the three-movement piece, which is full of powerful, vital, and expressive passages, Schmitt could demonstrate all of his musicality: virtuosity, temperament, but also a great sense of melody and poetry. His interpretation showed high powers of expression and a great technique.
Liszt's "Rhapsody espagnole" was one of the pieces Schmitt played when he won the first prize at the Liszt Competition in Pasadena. In his interpretation, he completely mastered the challenges of this very difficult piece. Here, the young pianist demonstrated a technically flawless, colorful picture of sound, which in spite of all its complexity had a great transparency. He used the keyboard like his playground, which was brought to life by his tender and dynamic attacks and impulses. In the end, the listeners knew that they had experienced an unforgettable evening.
A demonically sparkling Rhapsodie Espagnole by Liszt.
Confidence and control distinguished Axel Schmitt's playing, who showed his greatest strengths in Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto in C minor. It was admirable how he prevailed against the powerful vibrations of the orchestral score. A great evening, which completely inspired the audience.
His full and unforced tone sounded like Grieg at every moment. He knew how to sing with the top voice without getting sentimental. And in his strikingly mature rendition, he was able to structure the chordal passages in the center of the cadenza culminating in a climax of musical tension, which in itself can be praised as a fortunate coincidence.
As a soloist in Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Major, the 18-year-old Axel Schmitt from Titisee-Neustadt proofed a great pianistic talent. The interpretation of the young pianist was characterized by his unforced relaxed manner, technical perfection, and a natural, convincing interpretation especially evident in the mature rendition of the slow movement.
The choice of soloist for Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto could hardly have been better: With his eighteen years, pianist Axel Schmitt played like he is already at the highpoint of his career. His interpretation was characterized by great sense of balance, commanding elegance, and an approach evoking chamber music. Technical problems do not seem to exist for this young musician. Every trill and passage is executed with splendid accuracy. With his rational yet emotional style of performance, Axel Schmitt did the greatest service to the piece. In addition, he displayed a immense sensitivity to the orchestra, to which he always paid attention and gave the crucial cues.
The fantastic farewell-scene from the ballet Romeo and Juliet seems even more dense and shocking in the piano version than in the orchestral score. Especially, when it is played with such verve, such elegance, in short such skill. For contrast, Schmitt followed with a masterwork of motor activity: The Toccata op. 11, a perpetuum mobile of energy that satisfies even the highest demands of virtuosity.
He quickly walks to the stage, sits down at the piano, focuses for a few seconds, and places his fingers onto the keyboard. One will not be able to see these fingers for the next minutes -- but to hear. The passages of Liszt’s “Gnomen-Reigen” fill the hall, full of emotion, yet incredibly precise. The raging applause is inevitable.
Mozart’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in E-flat Major, K 482, was a special treat for the audience. With great self-confidence and brilliant finger-virtuosity, pianist Axel Schmitt shined in the solo parts and interludes in E-flat and C Major. The 16-year-old pianist was completely in his element at Liszt’s “Gnomenreigen”, which he played as an encore.
Mozart's Piano Concerto in E-flat Major K 482 with the sixteen-year-old pianist Axel Schmitt was one of the highlights of the concert. He has an amazing artistic range with a singing sound quality, tasteful power, noblesse, and calmness.
He phrased the first solo with self-confidence; the dialogues between the piano and the accompanying wind instruments seemed completely unforced because the young pianist never left the lead entirely to the conductor. Beautiful the harmonic contrasts, which gave so much color to the performance. Especially in the development, Axel Schmitt displayed a great versatility of touch. Nuances and dynamic changes between mezzopiano and pianissimo and a keen sense of musical development -- all of it distinguished this Mozart performance. Beautiful his rounded legato without pedal, the brilliant execution of trills and embellishments, the phrasing matching the orchestra's, and the long lines.