ARTEK RECORDINGS CD23: Anton Nel - Piano; Mozart, Sibelius, Granados, Debussy, and Schubert;
"Since his first-place victory in the 1987 International Naumburg Competition, pianist Anton Nel has maintained a busy career divided between performing and teaching, and he appears to be playing as wonderfully as ever. The virile demeanor, forceful articulation, and subtle rubatos Nel brings to Mozart's A major sonata freshen up this overplayed staple with little trace of self-conciousness. A strong sense of projection and robust lyricism similarly inform Sibelius' D-flat Romance, a work that often comes off sounding flaccid and inconsequential. Nel's vivacious, idiomatic account of Granados' Allegro de Concierto does full justice to the composer's slithering syntax and meaty textures. And if you like your Debussy sinewy and linear rather than tinted and misty, Nel's Estampes certainly will please you with its strong left-hand underpinnings in the outer pieces and hotheaded central climax in La Soirée dans Grenade."
"At times you might wish for likeminded abandon and big dynamic contrasts throughout Schubert's Wanderer Fantasy, yet there's much to savor in Nel's crisp and clean pianism. I especially like his terse, headlong, and sparely pedaled treatment of the Adagio, and how his light touch keeps the difficult Allegro airborne and unclotted. In sum, this is a solid and often stimulating release from a pianist who records all too little."--Jed Distler