News & Press
01 December 2017
“Cooper asserts her stylistic credentials right at the start of the disc in Robert's Humoreske, playing with a warm, golden tone and fluidly finding that distinction between the extrovert and introvert traits that were key to Schumann's musical personality – identified by him as the outgoing Florestan and the musing Eusebius who inspired his creativity.
Cooper's articulation is clearly defined but also effectively varied in touch and colour, her phrasing in the more meditative music is mellifluous, a quality that beautifully spills over into the F sharp major Romanze and also into the Aria that forms the second movement of the F sharp minor Sonata.
Here, too, in the sonata's other movements there is no absence of the necessary sinew and ardour.”
Geoffrey Norris, Saturday Telegraph Review
“Fresh and inspiring, her playing eschews any vestige of sentiment around the love song element of the programme – this was, ultimately, a tragic tale. There's a real joie de vivre about the vigour of the Humoresque's Florestanian episodes, even while Eusebius, the introvert and poet, seems ever present just beneath the surface. These two characters, Schumann's alter-egos, were after all two sides of the same individual. A rich, empathetic and beautifully calibrated recital.”
Jessica Duchen, BBC Music
“…It would be impossible, I suggest, to imagine a finer or more perceptive performance of the Humoresque than this: Imogen Cooper’s technique is fully up to Schumann's occasionally difficult demands, and her part-playing in this work especially reveals the composer's growing fascination with Bach's contrapuntal writing. But perhaps it is her poetical playing, so full of the most subtle and touching meaning, that will initially catch the listener’s attention, for it is all placed at the service of the overall conception of this great work: as just one example out of many, her octave playing in the Intermezzo section during the third part of the work is so effortless and expressive. If one might query the dynamic contrasts which almost immediately follow, they arise so spontaneously and so full of nuance that one is borne along on this outstanding artist's re-creation of the music. Her account of the fascinating F sharp major Romanze is both graceful and finely drawn, with genuine variation of colour where appropriate.”
Robert Mathhew-Walker, International Record Review
“Stunning, from all angles”
International Piano, November 2015
31 December 2013
It is an auspicious start, and as well as confirming Cooper to be an imaginative, warm-hearted and compelling musician, it reveals a special affinity for Schumann’s distinctive dual personality of introverted dreamer and extroverted man of action.
Sinfini Music on Brahms and Schumann, Chandos, March 2013
Read more reviews of this CD here
Imogen Cooper's artistic sensibility - highly personal, interpretatively penetrating, yet never didactic - reflects a sympathy with the music so intimate and compelling that it seems for the most part to transcend the very concept of interpretation...The result focuses equally on the richness, range and daring of Schumann's imagination, and on his stunning craftmanship as a composer.
BBC Music Magazine on Schumann: Fantasiestücke, Op. 12, Kreisleriana, Op. 16; Brahms: String Sextet, Op. 18, April 2013
Cooper's immaculate technique and excellent sense of proportion reinforce her deep, cultured musicality in performances which are wholly exceptional in my experience: such clarity of detail and architectural understanding are to be greatly admired. Her immaculate pianism and thoughtful musicianship are a constant source of wonder throughout this disc, consistently placed at the service of the music and its composer.
Robert Matthew-Walker, International Record on Schumann: Fantasiestücke, Op. 12, Kreisleriana, Op. 16; Brahms: String Sextet, Op. 18, March 2013
Her way with Debussy's 'Poissons d'or' in particular made it seem as if those incomparable golden fishes were eyeing possible fishermen. Today we can reflect on the way this pianist's artistry has blossomed and evolved into a greater sense of imaginative freedom, finding a truer balance of sense and sensibility.
Bryce Morrison, Gramophone on Schumann: Fantasiestücke, Op. 12, Kreisleriana, Op. 16; Brahms: String Sextet, Op. 18, March 2013
The poise of Cooper’s playing holds one breathless…Cooper’s sense of rightness of colour and her exquisite balancing of textures fully justify her reputation as one of the great Schubertians of our time.
Sunday Times on Schubert Live Volume 3, 16 May 2010
Cooper’s sensitivity to the new light shed by remote keys is unfailing, and above all she tells the strange adventure of Schubert’s most tormented A minor sonata with unerring judgment.
David Nice, BBC Music Magazine on Schubert Live Volume 3, June 2010
Imogen Cooper, it seems to me, offers a near-perfect balance of head and heart in Schubert, her expressive technique and musical personality wholly in the service of the composer.
Gramophone Magazine, July 2010
Read more Schubert Live Volume 3 reviews here
Recorded live by the BBC in the QEH in 2008 and 2009, two generously filled discs showcase some of the best Schubert playing you’re likely to hear anywhere. A pair of desert island discs, full of electricity pathos and profoundity, with all the intensity and none of the drawbacks of live performance.
Graham Rickson, theartsdesk.com on Schubert Live volume 2, 24 April 2010
Every note amply justifies Cooper’s Schubertian credentials. She maintains perfect balance between intellect and emotion…Her tempos are beautifully judged, as is the voicing of the inner or supporting parts. The same poetic intelligence, control and feeling of immediacy characterizes the shorter pieces. Outstanding.
Stephen Pettitt, The Sunday Times on Schubert Live volume 2, 22 November 2009.
Cooper is wholly authoritative, with a clear sense of thematic structure and of tonal architecture, and these are combined with melodic playing of the utmost refinement and breathtaking variety of tone…this is Schubert playing of the highest calibre, all the more so for being captured live, the excitement of the event being entirely palpable.
Nicholas Salwey, International Record Review on Schubert Live volume 2, December 2009.
Read more Schubert Live Volume 2 reviews here
Imogen Cooper's live Schubert takes its deserved place alongside the greats. Free from the confines of the studio, Cooper rises to the occasion with performances that show a courageous advance on her already distinguished work. This is true, most strikingly, in the great penultimate A major Sonata, D959. The catalogue may be filled to the brim with outstanding discs of this epic work yet few more deeply charged or felt performances now exist on record.
Gramophone Magazine, September 2009
This ability to balance opposites perfectly, to project a knowing innocence (the second piece) and to set a gentle Ländler against elemental energy (the final piece) is what makes Cooper’s version special.
International Piano, July 2009
These discs are played by Imogen Cooper with the combination of poetic insight and magisterial grasp of structure that makes her such a great artist. The subtleties in her phrasing seem to be natural emanations of a total rapport with this composer’s music.
The Sunday Telegraph, May 17 2009
Read more Schubert Live Volume 1 reviews here
With Cooper you have the undiluted essence of Mozart through and through - unique, universal and, in most cases, ultimately Utopian. Long may this series continue.
BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2010. Recording of Mozart Piano Concertos K482 & K456
As always, her passagework is exquisite – impeccably even yet full of life, never mechanical....The pianist and Northern Sinfonia are like one single, beautifully responsive entity.
Sunday Times, 14 November 2010. Recording of Mozart Piano Concertos K482 & K456
Given the many virtues of Imogen Cooper's recordings of Mozart's Piano Concertos Nos. 24 and 25...the commanding accounts of the two featured here come as no surprise. As in that previous release, she shines as a musician of taste, temperament and style conciousness.
International Record Review, January 2011. Recording of Mozart Piano Concertos K482 & K456
...the qualities that make Cooper quite simply one of the finest pianists this country has produced make her perfect for Mozart duty.
Gramophone, January 2011. Recording of Mozart Piano Concertos K482 & K456 Northern Sinfonia Read more Mozart Piano Concertos K482 & K456 reviews here