Joseph Moog’s ability to combine exquisite technical skill with a mature and intelligent musicality set him apart as a pianist to be taken very seriously. A champion of rare and forgotten repertoire as well as composing and arranging his own works, Joseph was awarded the accolade of Gramophone Young Artist of the Year 2015 and was also GRAMMY nominated for his 2016 recording pairing the Grieg and Moszcowski concertos.
In the 2017/18 season Joseph continues to demonstrate his affection for rare repertoire when he makes his debut with the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra playing Jerzy Gablenz’ Concerto in D flat major Op. 25. His diverse repertoire is further showcased this season with concertos from Brahms, Gershwin, Grieg, Liszt and Rachmaninov.
This season he appears throughout his native Germany and surrounding nations, including engagements with the Beethoven Orchester Bonn, Bruckner Orchester Linz, Sinfonieorchester Münster, Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen, and a return to the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Kaiserslautern.
In recital, he returns Wigmore Hall with a programme of Haydn, Chopin and Liszt, followed by recitals in Brussels, Haarlem and Paris.
November 2017 sees the release of Joseph’s eleventh recording, featuring Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2 and Strauss’ Burlesque.
Video & Audio
19:30 27 Apr 2018 Warsaw Philharmonic Concert Hall, WARSAW More info
JERZY GABLENZ Piano Concerto in D flat major
Ensemble: Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Pawel Kapula
18:00 28 Apr 2018 Warsaw Philharmonic Concert Hall, WARSAW More info
JERZY GABLENZ Piano Concerto in D flat major
Ensemble: Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Pawel Kapula
19:30 01 May 2018 Stadttheater Münster, MUNSTER More info
GERSHWIN / WILD Piano Concerto in F
Conductor: Nicholas Milton
Ensemble: Sinfonieorchester Münster
19:30 02 May 2018 Stadttheater Münster, MUNSTER More info
GERSHWIN / WILD Piano Concerto in F
Conductor: Nicholas Milton
Ensemble: Sinfonieorchester Münster
18:00 06 May 2018 Stadttheater Münster, MUNSTER More info
GERSHWIN / WILD Piano Concerto in F
Conductor: Nicholas Milton
Ensemble: Sinfonieorchester Münster
20:00 12 Jun 2018 Sakip Sabanc Museum, ISTANBUL More info
FRANZ JOSEPH HAYDN Fantasia in C Major HOB XVII/4
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor for piano Op. 27 No. 2 ‘Moonlight’
FREDERIC CHOPIN Scherzo No. 1 in B minor Op. 20
FREDERIC CHOPIN Nocturne No. 5 in F-sharp major Op. 15 No. 2
FRANZ LISZT Petrarch Sonnet 1, No. 47 in D flat major
FRANZ LISZT Petrarch Sonnet 2, No. 104 in E major
FRANZ LISZT Petrarch Sonnet 3, No. 123 in A flat major
FRANZ LISZT ARR. MOOG Hungarian Rhapsody No. 12
19:30 15 Jul 2018 Corn Exchange King's Lynn, city TBC More info
GEORGE GERSHWIN Rhapsody in Blue
Orchestra: Hallé Orchestra
Conductor: Stephen Bell
From The Green Room
Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2, Strauss Burleske
Chopin: The Piano Sonatas
Grieg & Moszkowski: Piano Concertos
Tchaikovsky · Scharwenka: Piano Sonatas
Rachmaninov & Rubinstein
Franz Liszt - Recital
Joseph Moog - Klavier
Franz Liszt - 2 Piano Concertos
01 Jun 17 Singapore International Piano Festival - debut Victoria Concert Hall
”In this powerful and impressive opening concert at this year’s Singapore International Piano Festival, he affirmed his Young Artist of the Year 2015 win from Gramophone magazine and his Grammy nomination last year.
The theme for this year’s piano festival is Fantasies And Memories. Fittingly the concert began with one of Haydn’s most well-played fantasies, Fantasy In C Major, Hob. XVII:4.
This is a work the composer described as a capriccio (a lively, capricious work) and one that was “not particularly difficult”. Moog certainly had no technical issues with it, even at the very brisk tempo he chose. He played with abundant energy and wit, generating a strong, rounded tone.
His performance of Chopin’s Sonata No. 2 Op. 35 was equally impressive and not just for its technical brilliance. Thoughtful phrasing and well- judged pacing highlighted the contrast between the galloping first theme and the lyrical second subject. This worked well again with the dirge and the contrasting melody in the third movement, Funeral March. The Steinway grand piano at the Victoria Concert Hall was in very fine tune, allowing Moog to draw out a profoundly rich and deep tone that was perfect for this sombre movement. The tricky second movement scherzo and diabolically fast finale were handled tunefully, without fuss. Moog’s lack of mannerism or self-indulgence throughout the sonata was most welcome. Still, at times, one sensed that the pianist’s relationship with the work was one based on deep respect, rather than great affection.
The second half of the concert opened with Book 1 of Debussy’s 12 Etudes For Piano. Each of the six etudes focuses on a particular pianistic technique, but Debussy never allows the technical intent of any etude to limit his musical ideas or originality. Moog was dazzling in his control and precision, showing off greater levels of virtuosity with each etude. Ironically, his touch and accuracy were almost too clean and one misses the blurred, gossamer brushes on the keyboard that Debussy piano music sometimes calls for.
The evening closed with Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 12. The fact that Moog performed his own arrangement of the work seemed to inject a sense of boldness and liberation into his performance. The gypsy themes, bold tempo changes and gradual build-up of intensity all felt completely natural and unforced. It was clear that this young pianist was fully relishing the moment, which made it a fitting ending for a very strong Singapore debut.”
Mervin Beng, Singapore Times (1st June 2017)
12 Mar 17 Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 2 Orchestre Métropolitain Maison Symphonique de Montréal
‘’Yannick Nézet-Séguin brought us a young 29-year-old German pianist, Joseph Moog, … [who] played the Second Sunday with class, precision, and a power notable from the outset from the magnificent clarity of the first phrases.’’ [TRANSLATION]
Christophe Huss, Le Devoir (13 March 2017)
15 Nov 16 October 2016 Hong Kong Sinfonietta Brahms Piano Concerto No 2
“…Born in 1987, pianist Joseph Moog, Gramophone magazine’s 2015 Young Artist of the Year, has made a name for himself playing ego-driven repertoire such as Rachmaninoff and relatively obscure works such as those of Moszkowski, but the piece he played on his Hong Kong debut doesn’t fall into either of those categories.
The antagonism between soloist and orchestra that’s characteristic of the concerto form is wholly out of place in the Brahms Concerto No. 2, where the heart and the head are just as important as the fingers. Throughout the concerto’s 50 minutes, Moog maintained an appropriate balance between being the central figure and a team player […] Coming as it did after the Haydn symphony, Poppen and Moog approached the work with an emphasis on subtlety and classical attention to structure rather than romantic bombast. With echoes of Webern in the air, Brahms’ romantic side seemed to take care of itself.”
Martin Lim, South China Morning Post (17th October 2016)
22 Sep 16 September 2016 Husum Piano Festival Liszt Hexameron
‘’All advanced piano antics of that time are united in the Hexameron, and so one needs virtuosic hands and pianistic magic-sounds, in order to play it […]. The 29-year-old Moog has these hands and this magic.’’
‘’Alle avancierten Klavierteufeleien jener Zeit sind im Hexameron vereinigt, und so braucht man schon virtuose Allerkönnerhände und pianistische Zauberlaune, um es so zu spielen, wie es gespielt werden muss […]. Der 29-jährige Moog hat diese Hände und diese Zauberlaune. Und so hörte man – nicht zum ersten Mal in Husum, doch erstmals in virtuosexpressiver Unbedingtheit – diesen Pariser Virtuosenspiegel.’’
Michael Struck, Kieler Nachrichten (29th August 2016)
28 Sep 16 September 2016 Bergische Symphoniker Strauss Burlesque
”Pianist Joseph Moog gave a stunning performance of Richard
Strauss’s Burlesque. Virtuosity and imagination entered into a congenial relationship. […] At the end, Strauss lets the pianist relax a bit from this musical ride across Lake Constance. Almost quietly the piano died and the timpani sent a last greeting. Then, with a sigh of relief from Scarlatti, Moog left the audience breathless.” [Translation]
”Der Pianist Joseph Moog legte mit der Burleske von Richard Strauss eine atemberaubende Leistung hin. Virtuosität und Fantasie gingen eine beglückende Beziehung ein. […] Zum Schluss lässt Strauss den Pianisten von diesem musikalischen Ritt über den Bodensee ein wenig ausruhen. Fast still verklang das Klavier und die Pauke schickte noch einen letzten Gruß hinterher. Mit einer heiter gelösten Zugabe von Scarlatti ließ Moog das Publikum wieder zu Atem kommen.”
Jan Crummenerl, RP Online (29th September 2016)
18 Aug 15 Onyx Classics Grieg & Moszkowski Piano Concertos Recording
“…Seekers of the unusual might recall Moszkowski’s concerto featured on the first ever disc, back in 1991, of Hyperion’s multivolume Romantic Piano Concerto series, but, even so, this vivid, dynamic piece has not managed to find many other champions. Its phenomenal demands might be a dissuading factor, though pianists seem to tackle Brahms and Rachmaninov with equanimity […] Moog surmounts the piece’s formidable technical hurdles to make sumptuous, glistening and, indeed, memorable music. The disc would be worth having for the Moszkowski alone, but the Grieg acquires a freshness and new momentum in the clarity, panache and melodic warmth that Moog brings to it…”
Geoffrey Norris, The Telegraph (20th June 2015)
“…Grieg’s 1868 Piano Concerto seems almost ubiquitous – though you might want to ask when you last hear it live. Regardless, it’s a piece that needs freeing of the dust of routine, which is exactly what Joseph Moog does on his latest recording, captured live in Saarbrücken last year. The Concerto’s famous opening gestures have an improvisatory quality here, triggering a bouncing Allegro with surprisingly tender voicing from pianist and orchestra alike. The Adagio is no less rapt, though you’re left wanting for truly unbridled romance. That abandon is partway provided by the ducking and diving Finale, with its vivid contrasts and Norwegian colour…”
Gavin Plumley, Sinfini Music (13th August 2015)
Classic FM Album of the Week, 15th June 2015
“One of the world’s finest young pianists is back, this time championing a piece that has fallen into neglect alongside and evergreen favourite. The piano concerto by Moritz Moszkowski (1854-1925) is an unjustly forgotten work […] Moog gives to the work’s brilliant, fluid writing his own strong sense of style and melody. The Grieg is so familiar it’s hard to give the listener something new, but Moog is on excellent form, showing off his huge virtuosity and panache.”
Classic FM (15th June 2015)
Gramophone Editor’s Choice, September 2015
“Whatever scintillates and delights is here in super-abandance […] neither Bar-Illan’s recording nor any other (Piers Lane and Michael Ponti) come within distance of Joseph Moog’s. From Moog everything sparks and thunders. A virtuoso to the manner born, notes stream from his fingers like cascading diamonds, his playing alive with what David Fanning so wittily called ‘the boggle factor’. Hear him leap, released, like a greyhound straining in the slips, from the Andante’s dreams into the Scherzo […] as the concerto approaches its grandiloquent close, you will witness a heart-stopping bravura of a sort rarely encountered. After this, the evergreen Grieg Concerto comes as something of a makeweight. But Moog’s engulfing command is complemented by poise and reflection (the first-movement cadenza and first entry in the central Adagio). His sprint to the finale’s finish could hardly be more joyous or exhilarating. This is entirely a young pianist’s view, though in truth Lipatti was only two years older than 28-year-old Moog when he made his famously regal recording. Moog’s performance is greeted with a storm of cheers, wolf-whistles and all. Clearly he is already among the most brilliant of pianists; and in the Moszkowski his orchestra and conductor let their hair down and relish every bar of this delectable fin-de-siècle virtuoso fling.”
Bryce Morrison, Gramophone Magazine (September 2015)
27 Apr 15 April 2015 Royal Northern Sinfonia at the Sage Gateshead Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No 2
“…Joseph Moog brought all of his international reputation and unbridled performance skill to the stage in the highlight piece of the evening, Sergei Rachmaninov’s glorious Piano Concerto No.2 in C Minor. Radical in comparison with English compositions of the time, this music, for all its innate tunefulness, can easily be identified as a forerunner to George Gershwin’s piano and orchestral works some 20 years later. And whilst one encore piece should be accepted as a thank-you, this audience was granted two. Firstly Moog played Alexis Weissenberg’s piano arrangement of the Broadway musical song, April in Paris. Rarely have I witnessed louder appreciation expressed at the venue…”
Rob Barnes, The Journal (27th April 2015)
01 Feb 13 CD Review July/August 2010 Recording
“…Brave, individual programming from a pianist who is making a name for himself. Few other young pianists would risk such a programme but Moog, still 21, is bristling with talent and assurance. Moog played with unerring precision and exhilarating abandon. Another impressive disc from a name to watch…”
Jeremy Nicholas, Gramophone
02 Feb 13 Franz Liszt - Recital Recording
“…brisker, better recorded and more individually characterised reading among six other superb Liszt interpretations encompassing Joseph Moog’s Liszt programme. [in comparison to Pfaff’s recording of Liszt’s Valse Impromptu, the review continuing relating to Joseph Moog’s disc…] It opens with the jointly composed Hexaméron, based on the march from I Puritani, whose highlights include the most supple and fleet traversal of Herz’s fluffy note-spinning contribution I’ve ever heard.
In the seldom-played C minor Polonaise, Moog shaves two-and-a-half minutes from Stephen Hough’s 12-plus minute mark, sharpening the dance rhythms with gruffer swagger and dashing though the central section’s less inspired pages.
While the B minor Ballade’s introspective passages have plenty of breathing room, the virtuoso outbursts arguably set new speed records, and without the slightest trace of banging.
The same holds true for the Beethoven/Liszt Adelaïde’s fatigue-inducing repeated chords, although Moog’s finger legato and controlled rubato most memorably take wing in the unabashedly garish Trauerwalzer Variations after Schubert. Moog closes this highly recommended progamme with a Bach/Liszt C Major Prelude and Fugue, BWV545, whose powerful and sonorous impact evokes more than merely a Baroque organ at full throttle.”
Jed Distler, Gramophone
04 Feb 13 Rachmaninov & Rubinstein Moog & Milton's "Rocky 3" and "Ruby 4" disc Recording
“…The Young pianist Joseph Moog’s scintillating virtuosity and knack for uncovering inner voices positively delights in all three movements [Rubinstein], and yields nothing to Marc-André Hamelin’s extraordinary 2005 Hyperion recording […] During solo sequences without the orchestra [Rachmaninov], Moog takes advantage of the spotlight, and lets his imagination run wild as he highlghts the thick piano textures’ inner counterpoints (both real and implied) and daringly stretches out the first-movement cadenza…”
“Joseph Moog, ‘Young Artist of the Year’ 2012 at the ICMA (International Classical Music Awards), reinforces the excellent impression we have of him. His performance is effortless and authoritative! The young German pianist gives Rubinstein’s fourth piano concerto, once played by Ignaz Paderewski and Sergei Rachmaninov, a refreshing briskness. The piece is given a pulsing, colorful interpretation, which makes this imaginative and creative composition come to life. But Moog’s technical ability is not actually revealed until the 3rd Rachmaninov concerto. It’s not only the virtuosic, clear as glass and lightning fast runs, the fascinating power and grandeur, but also the precise sureness of emphasis, the use of light and shadow, the interchanging of dark and brilliant tone qualities, his abundant interplay of colors and the artistic spontaneity that is born in the melting pot of musical intelligence – which is why Moog’s playing, as technically brilliant as it is, is never just for show. Nicholas Milton, as an intelligent accompanying conductor, collaborated well and inspired the orchestra to give their best, even though this orchestra performs at a level several classes below Moog. For that reason, the recording technician could have put Moog more in the forefront. Minor objections to such an impressive piano performance.” [translation]
“A particular interest here is Anton G. Rubinstein’s D minor concerto…Moog is easily a match for its bravura…Moog’s is a talent worth watching.”
“…Joseph Moog is only 24 years of age, yet already a distinguished virtuoso and an extraordinary musical genius.
His Rachmaninoff never sounded out of control or trite, and in spite of its extreme technical difficulties, it even had a chamber music quality at times. Joseph Moog is not a vain keyboard macho, but instead applies his abilities intelligently and audibly to the overall sound.
The performance Joseph Moog presents in this CD can be compared to performances of the giants of his craft. He is a true virtuoso of the black and white keys, equipped with supernatural piano technique and a truly romantic sound.
But the most remarkable thing about him is his artistic individualism, his comprehensive knowledge of all piano literature and his musical curiosity.
With his CD, Joseph Moog reinforces his top ranking, not only among the German piano virtuosos of his generation…”
Wilfried Schäper, Radio Bremen
“Joseph Moog is a young pianist with a superb technique and a warm tone. He also composes. On this album, he interestingly pairs concertos by two of Russia’s foremost pianist-composers. Anton Rubinstein’s Fourth Piano Concerto actually was in Rachmaninoff’s repertory as a soloist. Drawing attention to the neglected Rubinstein concerto by following it with a more famous work is a device that certainly is welcome. The opening movement of the Rubinstein is heavily influenced by Schumann’s piano concerto, particularly its first movement. Moog here takes on the mantle of the Schumannesque lyric poet, his tonal palette featuring halftones of grays and browns. Moog’s second movement is a true andante , or walking tempo, unlike some other performances. He plays the affecting opening melody simply and directly, introducing a shadow of melancholy that he sustains beautifully throughout the movement. The concluding Allegro constitutes a showcase for Moog’s bravura playing, with exciting exchanges between the soloist and orchestra. The two evoke the finales of the Mendelssohn piano concertos, with their combination of virtuosity and sobriety. With an advocate like Joseph Moog, we may hope that the Rubinstein concerto returns to its once notable position in the concert repertoire. I feel that Rachmaninoff’s Third Concerto, while extremely popular, is absurdly underrated as music. In it, the soloist embodies the role of the hero, as in Chopin’s concertos. As with Chopin, pianistic display demonstrates our fascination with the hero, while elucidating his character. Unlike Vladimir Horowitz, who gave us a highly demonic hero in this work, Moog’s hero is very human, even humane. His first movement exhibits quick tempos, as favored by the composer. Moog here creates a kaleidoscope of emotions, with mercurial changes in mood. The cadenza exhibits much beauty of tone. Nicholas Milton’s dark orchestral introduction to the next movement recalls the Isle of the Dead , Rachmaninoff’s previous opus—an atmosphere broken by a cascade of chaos from Moog. His scansion of the most complicated phrases is wholly convincing, even at rapid tempos. The finale starts at a speedy pace, rather than the march rhythm we are so accustomed to. Moog pays particular attention to dynamics, fleshing out the hero’s character with subtlety. He maintains tonal beauty even in rapid, soft passages, which possess a breathless excitement. Moog never pounds. The concerto’s final peroration has a sweep that might lift you out of your seat. The superb performances are captured in audio quality that is excellent, rich, and full. For an alternate view of the Rubinstein, there’s the slower, moodier version by Larisa Shilovskaya with Alexander Anissimov. I prefer Moog’s. Classic renditions of the Rachmaninoff include Van Cliburn, Byron Janis with Charles Munch, and, if you don’t mind a cut and monaural sound, Moura Lympany. Joseph Moog strikes me as an important talent whose versions of these concertos should wear very well. The Rubinstein indeed could be a reference edition, while I would recommend the Rachmaninoff to anyone who finds performances of this work hackneyed beyond endurance. Joseph Moog seems to be a pianist’s pianist.”
Dave Saemann, Fanfare Magazine
05 Feb 13 Husum Piano Rarities Festival Husum, Germany
“…the young Joseph Moog made a glorious Husum debut, as he addressed the topics of “adaptation, paraphrase, appropriation” in an exemplary manner.
His own unique and highly complex etudes, which he performed with inspiring technical mastery and seeming effortlessness, were not the only astounding part of his performance.
He presented Liszt’s Paraphrase on Verdi’s Ernani with an ample, lavish sound and a dangerously reckless brio, while also demonstrating crystal clear brilliance in Schumann’s Concert Etudes after Caprices of Paganini.
He is to be commended for his rediscovery of Walter Gieseking’s enigmatic Chaconne on a Scarlatti theme, with its striking harmonies, as well as the forgotten Trois Images oubliées by Claude Debussy, which were a very effective finish.
Joseph Moog, a brilliant rarity discoverer, who will undoubtedly always be a welcome guest in Husum from now on…”
Schleswig Holsteinischer Zeitungsverlag
11 Feb 13 Onyx Classics Scarlatti Illuminated Recording
“…At 24 years old, Joseph Moog knows no fear. He takes the virtuosic slaloms eyes wide open and then reins back without brakes for the onset of Baroque curlicues. I have a feeling we’re going to hear much more of Moog. German-born, he has an original turn of mind and an impressive technique. The music is never less than unexpected, with an occasional wistful quirk that hints at might-have-beens. Contrary to the usual rules, this album could be a career-making release…”
Norman Lebrecht, Sinfini Music
“…Many play Scarlatti’s sonatas, but only a very few play them well: Pogorelich, Perahia, Pletnev, Tharaud … and Joseph Moog. The young pianist seems to have banned the thought of a cembalo from his head, as he obviously wants to draw the maximum effect from the piano. It was not without reason that he placed a transcription, by either Carl Tausig, Ignaz Friedman or Walter Gieseking, after each original sonata. This reveals his interest in sonorousness. This is not another cembalo rendition of Scarlatti on the piano, nor is it one based on fanatical research and diversification as with Pogorelich. Moog takes a more direct, unwavering approach. Now, no one should think that he simply plays through the sonatas. Absolutely not! If you will please allow me this seemingly paradoxical thought – he shows that speed by itself is not movement. Movement is created through very refined agogics, remarkably subtle articulation and phrasing, and the use of dynamics; and Moog is in total command of them all. And he wouldn’t be Joseph Moog if he didn’t allow his own temperament and his inherently authentic way of playing to play a role. This gives these sonatas, both in their original and transcribed forms, lots of color, some pleasingly spirited warmth, and brings out a genuine reminiscence of folk dances, which most certainly influenced Scarlatti. Also, Moog does not take a “romantic” approach to do this, but instead does so with total ease, and crystalline clarity, using clever tonal nuances and his unique ability to bring the pieces’ structures to light with an ever-changing richness in color. The white lights on the cover photo are the sum total of the entire color spectrum that resounds from the sonatas.
Between the youthfully impetuous, full of zest for life and thoroughly happy fleetingness of Sonata K135 and, just 14 tracks later, the reserved swaying nostalgia of K32, Moog traverses through extremely contrasting mood images. And in the circus-like gigue (Scarlatti/Friedman), the serene K466, the reflective, good-natured K380 (medicine for the soul, certain to be effective as an antidepressant) and the agile scampering of K519, one thing is never lost: the positive attitude, the intensely human and thus total authenticity of the music, in which there is no artificiality, like that in which Pogorelich cloaked his Scarlatti Sonatas.
All of that combined reveals Moog as a Scarlatti interpreter with unlimited resources, who, with this CD, has written the Gospel of Joseph for the Scarlatti bible…” [translation from French]
“…I’ve a weak spot for hearing the baroque keyboard repertoire played on a modern piano. Bach has been endlessly rearranged and transcribed, and Joseph Moog’s collection includes much more obscure retreads of Scarlatti, made by Carl Tausig, Ignaz Friedman and Walter Gieseking. Strangely, the originals don’t sound at all primitive or bare when compared to the revamped versions. Scarlatti’s sonatas are compelling, mischievous pieces. You’re prompted to laugh out loud at the hyperactive D major jollity of the K96 sonata, four minutes of zany rhythmic playfulness and bombast. Then you’ll be floored by an elegant, sinuous bass line, as with the more expansive F minor sonata K466. Moog’s reading of the K70 is one of the most electrifying bits of pianism you’ll hear. The two hands battle unsuccessfully for supremacy, and the sonata is articulated with supernatural accuracy. Sample the Sonata in E K380 and marvel at Scarlatti’s crystalline two-part writing, giving way to some deeply peculiar chord progressions and parping horn calls. Why isn’t this music better known? The Tausig and Friedman revamps are sumptuous but don’t add that much, apart from juicily thickening the textures. Scarlatti’s eccentricity is happily preserved. Walter Gieseking’s Chaconne on a theme by Scarlatti sticks out like a sore thumb, as the theme of Scarlatti’s K32 sonata is transmogrified in epic, anachronistic style over a compact seven minutes. All magnificently strange and supremely entertaining, dispatched with panache and good humour…”
Graham Rickson, The Arts Desk
11 Aug 13 Liszt Piano Concertos No 1 & 2 La Roque d'Antheron Festival Sinfonia Varsavia / Fayçal Karoui, Conductor
“…le phénoménal pianiste allemand du haut de ses vingt-cinq printemps retrouve le grand steinway de concert et les musiciens de Varsovie pour affronter les deux concertos pour piano et orchestre de Franz Liszt. Le jeu de Joseph Moog époustoufle dans le premier concerto par son intériorité limpide évitant tout effet démonstratif d’aucune sorte, la puissance de son jeu mêlé à une agilité lumineuse et ronde. Son jeu se trouve très affirmé dans le deuxième mouvement nous transportant sur les rivages d’une béatitude émerveillée enrobée d’une grande tendresse. Son jeu se trouve magnifié par l’aspérité et l’austérité des cordes, des bois et des cuivres du infonia Varsovia. Soliste et chef d’orchestre ne font qu’un ! Triomphal accueil du public à la fin du premier concerto laisse juste le temps au jeune soliste de se jouer de la complexité du deuxième concerto offrant une interprétation d’une grande sérénité stylistique mettant en lumière les tourments inspirés du génie du compositeur hongrois. Son interprétation bouleverse, provoque des sensations fortes tant elle est mûrie : Joseph Moog alterne la délicate retenue demandée par l’oeuvre avec une puissance altière, vivace et subtile…C’est juste étourdissant de facilité sous les doigts du pianiste d’outre-rhin. On tient là une interprétation idéale des concertos de Liszt à en oublier les légendaires dans le même répertoire Brendel, Bolet ou Berman. Une fois encore, l’accord est parfait entre le chef d’orchestre et le pianiste. Le public crie son enthousiasme devant tant de talent ! Joseph Moog nous offre un bis d’un Debussy comme irradié par la grâce d’une soirée rare et magique où le temps rejoignit le pas suspendu de la cigogne…”
arts-spectacles.com, Serge Alexandre
29 Apr 14 Paris Debut Auditorium du Louvre - Recital
“Joseph Moog entre en scène d’un pas décidé, fixe le public, le salue en souriant. Point de mignardises dans la Sonate Hob.XVI.24 de Haydn, mais un poids sonore étonnant. L’adagio ne diffuse pas un chant éthéré venu de l’au-delà, il vit et vibre. Nous sommes bel et bien sur terre, ce que viennent confirmer deux pages de Liszt. Superbe Ballade n° 2, abordée fortissimo à la main gauche, le decrescendo n’en revêtant que plus de relief. L’artiste de vingt-six ans n’englue pas les mesures intimistes dans une lenteur complaisante. Il avance et dompte les moments fougueux avec héroïsme.
Joseph Moog : vingt-six ans et tous ses dons
Au bord d’une source, ainsi que les Images oubliées de Debussy, possèdent une robustesse inattendue. Un piano bien campé sur ses pieds, sans jamais rien de filandreux ou d’évanescent. Gaspard de la Nuit de Ravel se distingue par la sensualité d’une Ondine de chair et de sang, curieusement nuancée dans sa montée inexorable. Une réserve : un Gibet pour le coup un peu trop nourri et manquant de mystère. Le virtuose allemand se confronte à Scarbo en prenant tous les risques, osant des fulgurances exaspérées : la fin de la première partie confine à l’exceptionnel. C’est un diable qu’il fait sortir de sa boîte et on apprécie les passages subitement joués sans pédale, qui procurent beaucoup de contraste et d’énergie à cette lecture flamboyante. Un programme décliné avec intelligence, d’importants moyens techniques au service d’une conception saine et très personnelle des œuvres : aucun doute, Joseph Moog compte parmi les meilleurs pianistes de sa génération.”
Récital de Joseph Moog. Paris, Auditorium du Louvre, le 24 avril.
10 Jul 14 Onyx Classics TCHAIKOVSKY - SCHARWENKA Recording
Joseph Moog, the 26-year-old German pianist, earned plaudits for a 2012 release of Anton Rubinstein’s Fourth Concerto (Onyx 4089). “Easily a match for its bravura” and “a talent worth watching” were among the comments in this paper’s review, although the reception was a little more muted for his Rachmaninov’s Third Concerto. Here Moog returns to do battle with two formidable beasts of the solo piano repertoire, Tchaikovsky’s G major (“Grand”) Sonata of 1878 and the Second Sonata of the same era by the German-Polish composer-pianist Xaver Scharwenk. TheTchaikovsky sonata, deficient though it is, has exercised a curious fascination on pianists who are blessed with the blistering technique to play it. Sviatoslav Richter and Mikhail Pletnev represent the chief competition in the current catalogue, but Moog is right up there with the requisite weight, agility and dazzling panache. He brings to the first movement an invigorating element of impulsiveness and urgency that makes it sound far less bloated than can often be the case.
Tchaikovsky’s flaw here was to see the sonata in terms of a sort of concerto manqué, with inflated gestures and elaborate flurries of virtuosity that echo the First Concerto and pre-echo the Second. But he allows space for sensitivity, as Moog shows in the passages of more inward-looking lyricism, and he brings delicate charm to the picturesque writing of the second movement, reminiscent of Tchaikovsky in his miniaturist mode of “The Seasons” […] The four Scharwenka piano concertos have received quite a lot of attention on disc, but the solo works less so. In 1992, Seta Tanyel recorded the Second Sonata (now on Helios CDH55132) as part of a wider survey of Scharwenka’s music, and hers is still a pleasurable and formidable option. Scharwenka, as Tanyel revealed, was a perceptive and instinctive explorer of the piano’s expressive potential, without recourse to Tchaikovsky’s hollow tricks, and Moog makes the same point here, deftly and fluidly shaping the romantic contours, igniting the fireworks, keeping the energy levels high and, in the slow movement, mining a seam of genuine emotion.
Goeffrey Norris, Telegraph
The young German artist Joseph Moog has been causing something of a stir in pianistic circles, with an
easy virtuosity and a propensity for unusual repertoire. Don’t be distracted by the slightly gimmicky James
Dean-esque cover: this guy can really play. His achievement in Tchaikovsky’s aptly named ‘Grande Sonate’ is to avoid making its more hectoring passages sound simply like a bangfest. This is partly because he’s alive to every opportunity to display its more delicate moments, and partly because he surmounts the composer’s outlandish technical demands with ease. Only in the slow movement is there a sense of not quite being up to the great Sviatoslav Richter in terms of poignancy. Xaver Scharwenka was born in Poland a decade after Tchaikovsky, outliving him by more than 40 years, but their sonatas were written in the same year 1878, when Scharwenka was just 28. The fact that it’s a more accomplished work than Tchaikovsky’s is perhaps due to the Pole’s prodigious keyboard skills. Moog makes a serious addition to the catalogue here, with a performance of real thrust and aplomb, more so than Seta Tanyel’s groundbreaking recording of some two decades ago. The shorter pieces demonstrate Moog’s more poetic side and form a neat bonus to a compelling disc.
Harriet Smith, Sinfini Music
“Tchaikovsky hat zwei Klaviersonaten geschrieben, die erste im Jahre 1865, die zweite, in G-Dur, op. 37, im Jahre 1878 in Clarens, am Genfer See. Der Komponist benannte sie ‘Grande Sonate. Dennoch hatte er Bedenken bezüglich der Wirkung dieser Komposition, denn erst als er Rubinstein in seinem neuen Werk gehört hatte, war er « einfach überrascht über das künstlerische Niveau und die erstaunliche Kraft, mit denen er diese ein wenig trockene und komplizierte Sache spielt ». Diese erstaunliche Kraft findet sich auch bei Joseph Moog, der den ersten Satz sehr zupackend und virtuos spielt, ohne aber je ‘laut’ zu wirken. Sein Siel ist transparent und detailreich. In Moogs souveränem Spiel zerbröselt das gestalterisch sehr herausfordernde Andante nicht, sondern bleibt ‘zusammen’. Das kurze Scherzo wird hoch virtuos gemeistert, genau wie das Finale, dem Moogs Anschlagskunst mit feiner regulierter und abgestufter Dynamik zu optimaler Wirkung verhilft.
Der deutsch-polnische Musiker Xaver Scharwenka (1850-1924) ist eher als Musikpädagoge und Musikwissenschaftler bekannt denn als Komponist. Seine Zweite Sonate ist ein Stück leidenschaftlicher Musik, das vom Pianisten höchstes technisches Können verlangt. Joseph Moog hat es minutiös erarbeitet und wurde so frei, um es als souveräner Gestalter in kontrollierter Leidenschaftlichkeit zu spielen. In dieser Interpretation ist tatsächlich der Gegensatz von intellektueller Durchdringung und künstlerischer Spontaneität aufgehoben. Scharwenkas Musik bekommt dadurch eine singuläre Ausdruckskraft, die zeigt, welch großartiges Werk da so schlimm vernachlässigt wurde.”
For sure, Joseph Moog’s account of Tchaikovsky’s romantic piano sonata is a very fine one, but the hit on his new CD is his passionate performance of Xaver Scharwenka’s sonata, a long neglected work which now stands up to full attention.
Remy Fanck, Pizzicato
“A young artist with no fear of boldly pitting himself against the most demanding repertoire, and one whose individuality and voice are never lost among its virtuoso demands […]…it takes a real virtuoso to make the gnarly, block-like piano-writing of Tchaikovsky’s underrated Grande Sonate sound pianistically idiomatuc and supple. Joseph Moog not only succeeds in doing this but also delivers one of the modern era’s best recordings of this work…”.
Jed Distler, Gramophone (Awards Edition)
03 Feb 13 RACHMANINOV Piano Concerto No 3 2011 Tour Ruhr, Germany (Various)
“Benedikt Stampa, Director of the Konzerthaus, did not overstate things when he introduced the exceptional 23-year-old virtuoso Joseph Moog as someone who is currently ‘launching an attack on the world’s top pianists’. His playing combines utmost pianistic brilliance with profoundly expressive fluency (…)”
WAZ, Der Westen
“…A young master pianist with noble brilliance: Joseph Moog inspired a standing ovation and fantastic applause from his audience. He possesses a mature expressiveness which combines with a full, gentle touch and captivating musical artistry as well as a seemingly endless variety of colors. (…) Fascinating, with what seismographic precision he integrates the musical flow and his free interpretation with the orchestra (…)”
“…Moog presented himself as a tone-color aesthete and revealed the fine structure of the work, and effortlessly ignited the fireworks of the prestissimo trills at the end of the piece. The Earl Wild transcription of Rachmaninoff’s song ‘The Little Island’ was like a dream of flowing sparkling champagne-like runs (…) Heiko Mathias Förster, Music Director, can claim to have presented a new star among the world’s top pianists with the merely 23-year-old Joseph Moog as a soloist. Rarely does one experience such intense mutual sensitivity in the interaction between the soloist and the orchestra.
This interaction resulted in pure listening enjoyment, which inspired a standing ovation and cries for an encore from the audience.”
WAZ, Der Westen
“The soloist, Joseph Moog, not only mastered the rhythmically complex passages with effortlessness, but also succeeded in gently and sometimes pensively bringing out the typically Russian melodies, in spite of the hasty virtuosity of the composition. The work, outstandingly well performed by the merely 23-year-old soloist, was Rachmaninoff’s third piano concerto, which is rightly known for being very perilous. The solo passages are spirited and exaggeratedly virtuosic. The pianist must master the rhythmical complexities, obscurities and an incredible number of notes. And Joseph Moog is more than capable of maintaining total control, even in the most virtuosic passages, and giving the abundant notes structural refinement and tonal color.”
Gelsenkirchen, Der Westen
02 Oct 14 September 2014 New Ross Piano Festival Ireland
“…The young German Joseph Moog included some striking contrasts of programming in his recital, juxtaposing Beethoven and Fauré but unifying their sound-worlds with a common thoughtfulness and sensitivity of playing. Then, without letting go of that thoughtfulness, he entered the arena with a selection of Rachmaninov Études-Tableaux, bringing out the ferocity, for example, of the Op 39 No 6, which had the sudden viciousness of a shark attack. He offered a quiet étude of his own as an encore, hundreds of rapid notes in the silkiest of cascades…”
Michael Dungan, Irish Times
20 Apr 15 April 2015 North American Recital Tour Vancouver & Kalamazoo
“…In a postconcert Q&A moderated by the Vancouver Recital Society’s Leila Getz, Moog revealed that he approached his introductory sonata the way a conductor might approach a Beethoven symphony: by attempting to tease out its inner voicings, illuminating the work’s rich counterpoint through clarity of interpretation and variety of tone. He succeeded brilliantly. As one audience member pointed out, the third, “Adagio cantabile” movement was especially luscious, although it was not so much a reinvention of the score as a faithful re-creation of Beethoven’s original intent.
Much the same could be said of Moog’s approach to the Liszt, the Chopin, and the Rubinstein—the last heard here in Moog’s own intelligently truncated arrangement. These were pieces designed to wow, and they did […] Yet they were not without substance: Moog’s take on Liszt’s Réminiscences de Norma suggested that a minifestival devoted to opera transcriptions might not be a bad idea, while in Chopin’s first sonata the German pianist discovered some unexpectedly jazzy rhythms. (Again, this was explained in the postconcert talk, when Moog professed his admiration for African-American pianist Art Tatum, the swing-era innovator and Chopin fan who first infused jazz with a classical touch.) […] Moog’s a musician whose talent knows few limits.”
Alexander Varty, The Georgia Straight (12th April 2015)
POISE, STRENGTH AND VARIETY FROM YOUNG JOSEPH MOOG
“Joseph Moog is certainly a pianist to get to know, and I have seldom seen a young artist exude so much poise, strength and confidence in their playing. From the gleamingly-projected runs to the chiseled clarity and firmness of his articulation, this elegant 27 year-old German certainly makes one think anew about what to expect from those of a tender age […] I certainly had no questions about Moog’s performance of Beethoven’s ‘Pathetique’ Sonata that opened the concert. This was beautifully structured playing of astonishing maturity, finding ample space and variety to register both the work’s strength and beauty. Articulation was judged to perfection, with some nice individual touches in phrasing. Both the opening and closing movements had an engaging sense of purpose and emotional resolution and the slow movement flowed with just the right degree of expression and repose. Even in the Finale, I was very impressed with how the pianist could gently retreat from its ongoing motion and find, for a moment, a quiet and more contemplative world…”
Geoffrey Newman, Vancouver Classical Music (12 April 2015)
“…His wins include two International Classical Music Awards plus the 2012 prize as “Young Artist of he Year.” (Moog is 28 this year.) His Sunday recital at Wellspring Theater did not disappoint a large audience. Beethoven’s Sonata No. 8, Op. 13, in C Minor (“Pathetique”) opened the program impressively. Moog evidenced outstanding technique from the start, thus allowing him to explore the subtleties of melodic lines and textures. Though the middle movement (“Adagio cantabile)” seemed rushed, Moog kept an even pace, making a convincing case for his tempo. The close came off brilliantly, with music box tunes sounding natural in Moog’s intelligent interpretation. Moog proved equally inspired through very different means in Liszt’s flamboyant and gorgeous “Reminiscences de l’opera ‘Norma’ (de Vicenzo Bellini).” This piece, now played far too infrequently, represents one of Liszt’s grand piano transcriptions of popular nineteenth-century operas. As a foremost pianist of his time, Liszt composed epic works demanding outrageously difficult feats by pianists–plus steady composure. Moog used lightning fast fingers and flawless articulation for Bellini’s glorious arias to sing out. Liszt’s favored arpeggiated and chromatic runs , offset with shimmering trills, dominated the performance. The clarity of notes was unbelievable, given the heavy “note traffic.” Moog possesses magical hands. Blazing technique also underpinned the remaining works. Moog’s rendition of Chopin’s Piano Sonata No. 1 in C minor, Op. 4 displayed how uncharacteristic the piece is. Edgier and more impelled than Chopin’s usual writing, the Sonata avoids any caressing and limpid features. Octave and chord runs lend a firmer, almost brash quality, though Moog made certain melody sang out . The “Presto” close was magnificent in its clarity […] Listeners surely will be encountering Joseph Moog often in the future.”
C.J. Gianakaris, MLive (20th April 2015)
In September 2015 Joseph was announced as Gramophone Young Artist of the Year.
Click here to read a tribute by Jermey Nicholas in Gramophone Magazine online, with a particular focus on Joseph’s fabulous discography:
“…the familiar coupled with the unexpected, masterly accounts of standard repertoire matched with a no-less-compelling advocacy of unfashionable and/or neglected works of the past. Courageous, you might say, for a young artist yet to establish himself internationally. Adventurous, certainly, and imaginative too, none of which would matter a jot without the musicality and impeccable technique to bring it off…”
Jeremy Nicholas, September 2015