A bright, crystal-clear sound, technical invulnerability, athleticism and rationality in the use of the means, but most of all though: no sentimentality. Even when there are wonderful melodies, Wunder always keeps the control. He plays only 4 tracks, Chopin’s third Sonata, then the Polonaise-Fantaisie, for which he got the special prize in Warsaw, the forth Ballad and finally Andante Spianato et Grande Polonaise brilliante Op. 22. And already the first passage of the Sonata shows how Wunder handles the kitsch-and-art-machine “rubato” rationally and organically at the same time, how clear the different rhythmical layers come together, if written by Chopin or just now free conceived. The dashing fast scales in the final sound like happy dislocated knuckles. And the slow introduction of the Polonaise-Fantasy, on which Wunder worked for a long time, sounds like superb romantic idle, like tones that are spontaneously picked out of one’s memory. That’s art!
Frankfurter Allgemeine | Christiane Tewinkel
Die Presse | Stefan Musil
Wunder lets his virtuosity serve music. He listened to subtle phrases with lots of musicality and always natural; where it’s necessary he knows how to show his power.
This 26-year-old Austrian has a fine knack for Chopin's dreamy elegance: With agile fingers he tickled the ornaments in the Grande Polonaise out of the keyboard, as it would be a breeze. Speed limit? There is non for him in this repertoire. And yet he does not just start racing, but always takes time to listen to the wistful sounds. Gorgeous, how he dipped the melodies of the F minor Ballade, or the Andante spianato in different colors, here a silver glance or there a bit of a tone down - and the phrase as a question mark hung in the air. Even before the break, the pianist was always in control.
The Independent | Andy Gill
Displays a poise and tonal command way beyond his tender years.
Ingolf Wunder is the undisputed wunderkind of the Austrian piano scene, so enthusiastically admired that his second placing in last years Chopin International Competition brought down contempt upon the jury. This debut for Deutsche Grammophon allows us all to judge his competition pieces, from the masterly handling of the mandatory "Polonaise-Fantaisie in A flat major" to the dazzling resolution of extrovert and introvert sensibilities displayed in the "Piano Sonata No 3 in B minor": the Scherzo alone moves from rippling, ebullient industry to soul-searching intimacy, and back again, within three minutes, Wunder displaying a poise and tonal command way beyond his tender years.
The Irish Times | Michael Dervan
On his first all-Chopin CD he plays four major works – the Sonata in B minor, the Polonaise-Fantaisie, the Fourth Ballade, and the Andante spianato and Grande Polonaise brillante – in a measured, aristocratic style. It’s the kind of approach that’s all too rare at competitions. Wunder’s tone is full and noble, and he allows the music to unfold with natural ease, forgoing temptations for any kind of grandstanding. At the same time his musicmaking has a sinewy grip that can generate cumulative power in a way that makes for compelling listening.
Die Zeit Volker | Hagedorn
Polish and French spirit
It doesn’t look that difficult, these few paw strokes across the octaves, then an urging spinning melody across sixteenth-waves. But in bar 54, a sixteenth scale in the right hand soughs from the sky, and after four such scales these superfast tones don’t seem to end. The youngling seems to be happy. The two hands are dancers, the right fingers fly through the final of Chopin’s last Piano Sonata sparklingly, as if it would be possible to go even quicker, if needed. No record-attempt, that’s expression. A drama is passing by, in which everything is drawn sharply, accents pick up one’s ear and life is fizzy. That’s how Ingolf Wunder plays on YouTube, when he was 20 years old. The Jury did’t like it, the young Austrian didn’t reach the finals of the Chopin Competition 2005, the world’s hardest and oldest Piano tournament. Five years later he came back and overtook everybody, even the winner. In Chopin he’s very interested in the question of the composers identity. “Truly Polish” he is supposed to be. “He wanted back to Poland, but couldn’t. That’s why his music is full of desire for something he couldn’t have” The music also has Parisian esprit though and ambiguity, and all that is at Wunder’s disposal. One can hear that on the CD in Opus 22. In the middle part of the Andante spianato he created an intimacy, that let’s time stop, in the Polonaise Sixth cascades are thrown down the stairs in fine hilarity, the “ornament-phrases” swing and appear at the same time as gestures, in which the essentials are casually outlined.
Die Welt | Kai Luehrs-Kaiser
There hasn’t been such a talent in decades in German-speaking countries.
On his Debut-CD Ingolf Wunder really pulls his weight in the third Sonata, celebrates the Polonaise-Fantasie more melodious and tragic than usually nowadays. The artistic will of the avowing “Chopinist” draws the longest bows effortlessly, that one calmly confides in his narration. His peal of thunder doesn’t have only elemental force, but at the same time weather prognostic double meaning. It is structural. There hasn’t been such a talent in decades in German-speaking countries.
Wiener Zeitung | Edwin Baumgartner
Recital in Vienna
His Chopin is shining in almost every available, orchestral colour, it’s free of pianistic poses and of unequalled nobility. Sound architecture and phrasing result in a complete harmony. Absolutely overwhelming!
straight.com | Lloyd Dykk
Displays a talent destined for fame
A Vancouver Chopin Society presentation. At the Magee Theatre on Saturday, February 26. His name is a publicist’s dream. The Austrian pianist Ingolf Wunder is just 25 and attracting major attention, having won seven international contests and tied for second in the 2010 International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw. He also recently signed a contract with Deutsche Grammophon. And, yes, he is indeed a wunderkind. Unlike almost all the other pianists in the Chopin Society’s current four-concert series, who fit only two or three pieces by the composer into their programs, Wunder offered a program that was all Chopin. Some of it was relatively minor, like the fluffy and rarely played Bolero in C Major, Op. 19, but all of it was played with ardour, finesse, and technical expertise to burn. Wunder seems destined for fame. The elegance, effortlessness, and maturity he has at his young age seem all but impossible, and his modesty is exceptional—this is no Lang Lang. The Nocturne No. 3 in B Major, Op. 9 was played with ineffable gentleness and beautiful control, while the popular Waltz No. 1 in A-flat Major, Op. 34 had that essential glamour of the French salon. One of the many things that stood out in Wunder’s playing, aside from his aristocratic tone, was his natural feeling for rhythm, with no exaggeration in his rubato—an element which, if overstressed, can leave you with a touch of seasickness.The four mazurkas (Op. 24) were deliciously played, especially the Erik Satie–like first and the exciting fourth one. There were also two of Chopin’s greater pieces: the Ballade No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 52, which was full of fire and ice with an explosive finale, and the fourth and finest of his Scherzos, the one in E major (Op. 54), again showing Wunder’s incredible evenness of touch. The latter was as graduated as a string of pearls, and had a fleetness that many pianists would kill for. In a word, the concert was, well, wunderbar. There was also a poster exhibition in the lobby called “The Many Faces of Chopin”, consisting of more than 40 works designed by young artists and professors from the faculty of architecture and fine arts at the Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski Krakow University. The exhibition, which is travelling around the world, contains many stunningly original images. But the truest portrait of Chopin wasn’t visual—it was aural.