Ingolf Wunder came away from the 2010 Chopin competition in Warsaw with prizes for the best concerto performance and the best Polonaise-Fantasy, even though he only came second overall. It has taken a while for the 28-year-old Austrian to get noticed in London; this recital in the Southbank's international piano series was his first at the venue. He will surely be back very soon, however; its a long time since Ive heard a young pianist make such an impression on his debut in the Queen Elizabeth Hall. On this evidence, Wunder seems a fearless player, with a totally secure technique that he never flaunts unnecessarily, and the musical intelligence to put it to good use. That fearlessness is clear in his programming, too: this recital was not a sequence of jewelled miniatures designed to charm and beguile, or of showpieces intended to impress, but serious and muscular music-making, which opened with Beethovens Eroica Variations and ended with Liszt's monumental B minor Sonata. Just to show that Wunder can charm and beguile as well as anyone, there was some Chopin in between: the B major Nocturne Op 9 No 1, spun out like the finest silk, and the Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise Brillante, equally ravishing to begin with, and then wonderfully paced and varied as the tension mounted towards the close. It was difficult to imagine that the pianist who could float a line so exquisitely in Chopin could make Beethovens variations so earthily direct and physical, almost challenging, or generate as much dramatic excitement in the Liszt, while ensuring that every section of the Sonata was clear within its overall scheme. In both works, the security of the playing was taken for granted and it wasn't until the encore, Arcadi Volodos gleefully OTT paraphrase of Mozarts Rondo alla Turca, that Wunder showed that he can strut his stuff as flagrantly as any flashier pianist. A wonderful recital.
The Guardian | Andrew clemens
Serious muscular music-making
To create fairy-tale characters with 88 keys. Especially with the impressionistic ‘moon-sound-painting’ Wunder was able to captivate ears and hearts of the listeners. He showed this way that he is not only a specialist for highest levels of difficulty but also for deep, emotional simplicity.
Wunder's deliciously characterful interpretations show just what the piano is capable of, across a wide range of musical eras and styles.
RUHR NACHRICHTEN | Julia Dass
Wunder’s touch is remarkable. That’s why Mozart’s Sonata KV333 the “Linzer Sonate” sounded so original and sensitive. To bring poetry into the music is one of Wunder’s great strengths.
300 for piano lovers.
You’ve got a Scarlatti Sonata on one hand, famous works like the Flight of the Bumblebee followed up by a Morricone piece and the Star Wars theme. The warmth of the Deutsche Grammophon sound brings Wunder into the living room and makes it sound like he’s performing for you. Altogether a highly enjoyable recording that is terrific for those piano lovers out there.
A display of artistry as it is of technique.
Wunder is a gifted musician whose refinement and subtlety are apparent in all aspects of his playing, and are in every way equal to his virtuosity and intensity, so this CD is as much a display of artistry as it is of technique.
Technique, although abundantly available, places itself not in the center of his qualities. It is rather the mature sensibility that not many of his colleagues of this generation display and only few of the older generation are able to show. Even the quickest passages are clearly structured, sound-wise and timing-wise well balanced. He lets the piano sing. All the virtuosity displayed in the encore (Hungarian Rhapsody) served to show the fine musical differences and to let them speak - magic!
Rolf de Marchi
Chopin’s piano music mastered playfully
The piano talent Ingolf Wunder showed his abilities in Basel and Zurich with works by Mozart, Chopin and Liszt. Nomen est omen: The young Pianist Ingolf Wunder lived up to his name and played works by Mozart, Chopin and Liszt in the „Rising Stars“ series of the „Allgemeine Musikgesellschaft Basel (AMG)“ on the highest interpretative level. Arthur Rubinstein is to be his biggest role model when it comes to works of Frederic Chopin, said the pianist Ingolf Wunder, born 1985 in Klagenfurt. In 2010 he was awarded the 2nd prize at the International Chopin-Competition but was acclaimed as the real winner by the enthusiastic public. As a matter of fact the spirit of the polish piano-magician was somehow perceivable. Memories of Rubinstein. As once the Pole, Ingolf Wunder was able to play for example the Grande Polonaise Op. 22 with stupendous virtuosity and succeeded to get the perfect pairing of ingenuous elegance and gripping composition of the inserted parallel chords. He lets the melody line in the right hand sing, while the left made the underlaid arpeggio-carpet curl softly. Ingolf Wunder has made his name in musical circles not only because of his success in Warsaw. His first CD published in 2006 with works by Frédéric Chopin, Maurice Ravel and Franz Liszt, and the second CD with works by Chopin were highly acclaimed by the critics. For his concert at the Stadtcasino Wunder had chosen Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6 and the Valse-Caprice No. 6 from the "Soirees de Vienne" - two more harmless works which he and his technique transformed into delicately shimmering musical gems, that flattered the ear. With an astonishing maturity he also resisted the temptation to take the Piano Sonata No. 13 in B flat major KV 333 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as a superficial sideline and gave the interpretation the necessary seriousness and respect.
Gramophone | Jeremy Nicholas
Tchaikovsky and Chopin
Two very good performances . . . [Ashkenazy] is at pains to let us hear Tchaikovsky's scoring in meticulous detail . . . Ashkenazy and Wunder make entirely empathetic partners . . . [Chopin]: [Wunder] plays this concerto superbly -- in particular the Romanze and the last movement -- and the recorded sound has a ringing clarity and depth.
Music magazine Buenos Aires
Chopin and Beethoven
To play with words, Wunder is a wonder. Born in 1985, he is certainly a bright light among young pianists: impressive command of dynamics from ppp to fff, extremely agile and fast fingers, good taste and stylistic sense. He played an almost perfect Sonata No.14, Moonlight, by Beethoven, and followed with beautiful Chopin performances: Nocturne Op.9 No. 3 and two Ballads (No. 1 and 3).
Il Giornale di Vicenza
Chopin and Beethoven recital in Verona
The pianist Wunder miracle not only by name.
Classical Net | Brian Wigman
Genuine talent and artistry.
[Tchaikovsky 1]: The fireworks are impressive. Wunder has a huge and commanding tone, well recorded . . . He plays excitingly and with conviction. In the "big" moments, the pianist relishes the spotlight. Elsewhere, he plays like a young firebrand . . . A great performance . . . [Chopin 1]: [the orchestra plays] with attention to details -- and thus clarifying the much-maligned orchestral textures -- as a main attraction . . . [Wunders] obvious gifts for Chopin are fully on display . . . this album displays genuine talent and artistry.
Elegance and poetic intelligence
Wunder’s elegance and poetic intelligence makes him perhaps one of the most well-rounded talent among them. Many pianists can play the kind of scintillating Scarlatti heard on his new album Ingolf Wunder 300, but almost none of them play Mozart sonatas in ways so relaxed and genial – and with such an ingratiating legato. But in the Horowitzian spirit of outrageously theatrical transcriptions, Wunder presents John Williams’ theme from Star Wars, perhaps not realizing that such anthem like movie music means to be pithy and repetitive and don’t always leave much room for thematic development needed when the piece is taken out of context and put in a concert setting.
There is not a single moment of doubt that he got his name unjustly, because in his interpretation of all the bravura pieces, he shows next to tremendous virtuosity, which never drifts into shallowness, a mature understanding of the structure[…] Pollini’s sentence “I think one gets closer to Mozart with age” is this time not true. Because Wunder captures the details best possible. [...] What follows makes one equally speechless. As with Mozart, the pianist widens and condenses tempos and expands the cosmos of the score into another dimension [Chopin’s g minor ballad]. [...] Here he shows that he can also be a lion on the keyboard [Liszt Csardas macabre]. So one asks himself, is he only equipped with a phenomenal technique? That’s absolutely not everything, because despite dashing speed one can absolutely understand the middle part of Rachmaninov's g-minor prelude as a conversation between tenor and soprano.[...] With this concert the pianist spurts with full throttle into pole position of the young pianistic acrobats.
nw-news.de | CHRISTOPH GUDDORF
There aren’t miracles every day
Standing ovations at the end of the concert - the enthusiastic audience in the Chamber Hall of the Rudolf-Oetker-Halle doesn’t even want to let the pianist Ingolf Wunder go. (!) After four encores and crossing not less than five stylistic periods the young Carinthian came back home so to speak - to the composer, who has given his career that started ten years ago another artistic nuance. By winning the second prize, several special awards and the audience prize at the prestigious Chopin Competition in Warsaw last year, as well as the exclusive contract with the label Deutsche Grammophon and a recording of Chopin's solo works, he has now recommended himself as an interpreter of the music of the Polish-French composer. But to the amazement of the audience wonder has modified its program to raise the bar even a little bit higher still. Because Mozart, with its playful lightness, profound seriousness and transparent sound is still one of the true challenges of a pianist. Wunder proves in the B flat Sonata (K. 333), that he is already capable of mapping out Mozart’s entire range of expressions. The second half of the program was reserved for Chopin. After the not quite unjustly rarely performed "Bolero" (Op. 19) Wunder captivated with finely illuminated versions of the fourth Ballade and the “Andante spianato et Grande Polonaise” that went to their extremes and were rarely ever heard like that. Not just a "tour de force", but also an emotional balancing act. To speak once in a superlative: A miracle - and a name you should remember!
Die Presse | Dr. Wilhelm Sinkovicz
Ingolf Wunder at the Schubertsaal Wunder has a distinct energy for virtuosity and doesn't shy away from thundering octaves and complex Drive mechanism. He binds however all these effects to a musical ground of impressive sound discourse. Here roars not only a tiger on the Steinway, here is someone who lets phrases sing with the right breathing. For this young artist Rubato-Kunst was obviously laid on the cradle...
Luxemburg Tagblatt | Greg Foetz
A prodigy is born
A prodigy is born Breathtaking and wonderful. Flawless expressiveness.