a transcendental technique wed to an impeccable musical understanding
the sort of performer who eschews theatrical showmanship in favor of giving his full attention to communicating a composer’s musical thought
at once unique, satisfying, and interpretively unimpeachable
one of those pianists whose technique draws attention not to itself, but to the music
We are here to recommend what this album deserves for its quality, for its freshness, and its excellence: Gold.” (.. Antonio Soria, Melómano, La Revista de Música Clásica)
These are instant classics – they should be the next set of studies to be surmounted by serious pianists. [Bengtson’s] peerless technique and pianism are exactly what the devilishly difficult studies need to be effective. (.. Nathan Faro, American Record Guide)
On a scale of one to ten I would give it an “eleven.” (Miguel Ángel Pérez Martín, Doce Notas)
“Among the most thrilling piano recordings I’ve heard in recent years .. a triumph” (Meltzer)
“Stunning piano playing” (Clarke)
“A major release” (Rabinowitz)
Interview with critic Robert Schulslaper, Studies in Rhythm and Sound: Matthew Bengtson Plays New Piano Works by Roberto Sierra, Fanfare magazine, July/August 2023
“…Big-boned pianism, rich tonal colors, and dazzling technique are on display here. Has Scriabin ever been played better? Only Horowitz and Richter can compare to what Bengtson achieves on this disc. … exciting music-making.” (.. Lawrence Budmen, American Record Guide, Jul/Aug 2005)
“…Bengtson is a Scriabinist for the 21st century, one who embraces the interpretive objectives most valued by his contemporaries. … To that end, he can now join those esteemed Scriabinists upon whom future generations can rely for definitive interpretations.” (.. John Bell Young, Fanfare, Jul/Aug 2015)
These performances are ones to compare others to. I hope we don’t have to wait another 10 years for more Scriabin from Romeo and Bengtson. (Harrington)
We spend with Bengtson over an hour in a rarified labyrinth, infinitely and ineffably compelling. (Lemco)
Bengtson grasps Scriabin’s emotional world with acute understanding. … these recordings [are] among the finest contemporary interpretations. (Sanderson)
All of the acknowledged great pianists who have tackled these sonatas have their own take on them, .. and Matthew Bengtson can hold his own with any of them. (Bayley)
.. easy mastery of the quirky rhythms of the music. (Burwasser)
Bengtson can caress Scriabin’s phrases in a breathtaking way … these performances are often striking in their color. (Rabinowitz)
Interview with pianist and critic John Bell Young, Celebrating the Scriabin Centennial with pianist Matthew Bengtson, Fanfare magazine, July/August 2015
The performances add up to over three hours of stunners. (Don O’ Connor, American Record Guide, January/February 2018)
Matthew Bengtson plays with technical assurance and a sense of authority in his understanding of Szymanowski’s modes of expression and unique musical voice. (..Jerry Dubins, Fanfare, Nov./Dec. issue, 2017)
Bengtson’s playing throughout the duo selections is superb — energetic, vibrant, technically impeccable, and in perfect coordination with his partner. He is equally compelling on his own. His account of the four Études of op. 4 (1902) is fluent, well controlled, and effectively shaped.
Breathtaking virtuosity, as well as vivid color and effective characterization, are to be heard in Masques, op. 34.
It is clear that Bengtson’s intensive study of this music [Mazurkas] has given him a deep understanding of it. (..Daniel Morrison, Fanfare, Nov./Dec. issue, 2017)
An ideal advocate of this repertoire [The Mazurkas op. 50 and 62], Matthew Bengtson’s virtuosity reveals all the evocative nuances in these scores. … Bednarz and Bengtson have produced a fascinating, expressive recording that will help to familiarize modern audiences with the Polish composer’s works. (..Maria Nockin, Fanfare, Nov./Dec. issue, 2017)
Bengtson is a first-class musician who pays attention to niceties of style regardless of the composer being offered, and even Sviatoslav Richter played Szymanowski with a similar muscularity.
Performances to be enjoyed over and over and over again. (..Lynn René Bayley, New Recording of Szymanowski’s Violin and Piano Works, The Art Music Lounge, an Online Journal of Jazz and Classical Music, August 21, 2017)
Radio interview with Sarah Cahill on KALW-FM (San Francisco) about my Scriabin recordings and projects.