"...What an impressive calling card for the young pianist."
Philip Clark - International Piano - June 2000
"...This release is part of Naxos’s excellent Laureate Series, where young competition prize-winners from around the globe are given a recording contract. Chen has won quite a few, most notably the 2004 Sydney International Piano Competition, and it’s easy to see why. I look forward to hearing more from him."
Tony Haywood - MusicWeb-International.com - May 2007
"...Malaysian-born pianist John Chen plays everything with supple finesse and just the requisite touch of dispassion, carefully exposing every shift in colour and sonority."
The Guardian - February 2007
"...John Chen, on this new Naxos disc, is a wonderful pianist who plays with (and is recorded in) exceptional clarity. He illuminates the music’s mercurial character without rushing things ... at the same time he has an unforced sense of this music’s rapture and enchantment and employs a seemingly unlimited array of colors and attacks to bring them to life. In short, this is a superlative performance, and given Naxos’s resplendent sonics—up-close, immediate, powerful, luxuriously rich—I’d rate it the best ever. Any lover of gorgeous piano music will be thrilled with this release, as will all devotees of Dutilleux, especially as it’s filled out with no fewer than eight shorter works (Three Preludes, ’Au Greé Des Ondes’, ’Bergerie’, ’Blackbird’, ’Tous Les Chemins’, ’Resonances’, ’Petit Air’, and ’Mini-Prelude’) that have seldom or never been recorded. The early items are charming, whimsical, decorous miniatures in the manner of Poulenc at his best behaved. Three Preludes, written from 1973 to 1988, is a dazzling cycle of glittery, epigrammatic translations from the sound-world of Dutilleux’s orchestral poems. Each shows the hand of a master engraving exquisite sounds onto silence."
Lehman - American Record Guide - June 2007
"Born in Kuala Lumpur but a New Zealand citizen, John Chen was the winner of the prestigious Sydney Piano Competition in 2004 when he was 18. Rather than yet more Schumann or Chopin, he has sensibly chosen as his CD début to record more offbeat repertoire, the complete piano music of Dutilleux, and it is difficult to imagine it being served more brilliantly or idiomatically. The Piano Sonata of 1948 was one of the composer’s first works to attract wide attention, and it remains the most important, thoughtful and beautifully written. Yet each of the smaller pieces makes its mark crisply and without inflation, consistently inventive, with intriguing titles adding to their charms. Chen’s playing is magnetic and well controlled, but giving the impression of a pianist improvising. There have been excellent accounts of these pieces before, including one of the Sonata by its dedicatee, Geneviève Joy, the composer’s wife, but this is now a first recommendation. Very good sound." ***
The Penguin Guide - January 2009
"...This is a significant disc in two ways. First, the complete Dutilleux piano music at bargain price in fine performances and recording is a must for all fans of this composer, second, here we have an introduction to a pianist who is clearly a major talent."
Colin Clarke - Fanfare - August 2007
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