In 2019, at the age of 22, Alexandre Kantorow became the first French pianist to win the prestigious Tchaikovsky Competition. Before then he had released three acclaimed albums, awarded distinctions such as Diapason d'or de l'Année and Gramophone's Editor's Choice and earning Kantorow descriptions ranging from 'Liszt reincarnated' to 'a firebreathing virtuoso with a poetic charm and innate stylistic mastery'. The present recital, his first release since the Tchaikovsky Competition, offers plenty of scope for virtuosity, poetry and charm, always filtered through an acute stylistic consciousness. The programme is constructed around three rhapsodies, a genre whose improvisatory character corresponds perfectly with the spirit of Romanticism but here interpreted by three highly distinct artistic temperaments: Franz Liszt, Johannes Brahms and Béla Bartók.
Kantorow is obviously an outstanding pianist and musician with an agile technique that allows him perfect clarity in the most complex textures, abundant sensitivity and refinement, and maturity well beyond his years. Arrival finally at the 11th Liszt Rhapsody feels like the achievement of an oasis of purest classicism and succinct expression, and provides a showcase for Kantorow’s ability to maintain clarity and poise at breakneck speed.
– Gramophone (Editor's Choice, Novembere 2020)