Chopin Trois Nouvelles Etudes, Impromptus Op.29, Op.36, Op 51 & Rondeau Op. 16 S
Dagbladet - Ståle Wikshåland
1 April 2010
Christian is out with a solo album on Simax, and it is, in every way, a remarkable release. Rarely have the dice been extended and tilted towards a five before finally settling on a four. But let me start somewhere other than with broad objections. For this is a release that shows us a rare talent among our young pianists – or even among our pianists in total. He plays through the etudes and impromptus by Chopin before he takes on Schumann’s “Waldszenen” in a long and beautiful sweep. He never loses the unique projection of his piano for a single moment, one of the softest velvet I’ve ever heart.
Chopin Trois Nouvelles Etudes, Impromptus Op.29, Op.36, Op 51 & Rondeau Op. 16 S
Stavanger Aftenblad - Arnfinn Bø-Rygg
1 April 2010
All indications suggest that Ihle Hadland can develop into a Chopin and Schumann-interpreter of rank. I think that anyone who has followed Chistian Ihle Hadland's development, and heard him in the last year in the concert hall, has expected something great of his solo debut on CD. And I can assure everyone, myself included, that we will not be disappointed! In the works of Chopin and Schumann, this year's jubilee, he shows how much he has achieved as a pianist and musician. That he has chosen to perform relatively rarely performed works by two of the music world’s piano giants, speaks only to his advantage. Ihle Hadland could easily have shone in both more familiar and more virtuosic works. The programme choice is tastefully done, with an eye for pieces that require nuance, dynamic range, delicious rolls and sparkling run, and this is what we, in Norwegian, call a ‘foredrag’: A presentation of the piece itself. The opening of Chopin's Impromptu in A-flat major op. 29 sets the standard at once. The way he sort of floated in with the brilliant opening passage is like listening to the most idiomatic Chopin interpreters, with roots going back to Arthur Rubinstein. A feel for rhythm and natural tempo shift is part of this. The three "New Etudes" Chopin wrote for the famous collections op. 10 and Op. 25 are simple and intimate, with the greater demand on nuance. Ihle Hadland’s playing here is beautiful and exquisite. In the Impromptu in F sharp major, op.36, we hear how he can build up a run to dramatic heights and his runs are superb pearls of virtuosity. Ihle Hadland’s performance of this last impromptu, op. 51. in G-major, brings a dreamy quality which takes us beyond time and place. The last piece of Chopin, the earlier Rondeau op.16, we do not hear often, either in the concert hall or on CD. It places greater demands on virtuosity than the other Chopin pieces, but Ihle Hadland has virtuosity in abundance. The dynamic range here is rarely big, but Ihle Hadland’s musical presence is enormous and he shows masterful control over the keys and moods. (…) It says something about Ihle Hadland’s versatility that he is equally at home performing Schumann as Chopin. His interpretation of Blumenstück op.19 creates a canvas with both bright colours and crisp lines. Waldszenen is an aesthetic pleasure to hear, Ihle Hadland interprets each of the nine pieces’ characters perfectly and precisely. In the first piece he leads us sensitively, but steadily into the woods. "Verrufende Stelle" I could have accepted as even more "verrufen", that is haunted, uncanny (unheimlich), in keeping with the early German Romanticism. It is too delicate and not quite scary enough. Schumann's wife, the famous pianist Clara Wick, avoided performing this piece because it had a motto of the poet Friedrich Hebbel, “where there is talk of a flower that is red, among the other pale, but it is not from the sun, however, that it drank human blood.” In return, the "Vogel als Prophet (Bird as Prophet) is performed in a way that we rarely hear nowadays. Ihle Hadland actually makes the music become a bird - we hear the trills of the bird within the landscape space and see the bird's eye view, when it disappears into the air. The sound quality on this CD is one of the best, as so often with Simax. The only thing I can pick on with this CD is that we hear the pedal too clearly, it is especially distracting and disturbing in the slow sections.
Wigmore Hall / Lunchtime Recital / 28.01.2013
The Independent / Michael Church
28 January 2013
But when the young Norwegian pianist Christian Ihle Hadland took the stage the next day, one could hardly believe it was with the same piano. With its opening horn-motif followed by pearlised runs, the first movement of Mozarts K576 set up an intimately singing tone which was maintained throughout; the intricate counterpoint was brilliantly delineated. The Adagio was restrained but exquisite, and the finale was a celebration of sparkling vigour. But if this was as good as it gets in Mozart pianism, what Hadland did with Schuberts Sonata in A D959 was remarkable. In his hands the initial Allegro which usually seems labyrinthine had pellucid clarity; to the problematic Andantino, whose plangent barcarole is broken by the anguished musical equivalent of a nervous breakdown, he brought an underlying and unifying - calm. The joyful disintegration of the Rondos Lied-like theme made a magical conclusion to this Olympian performance (to be rebroadcast on Radio 3 this Saturday.)
Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra / Grieg Piano Concerto / Andrew Litton
The Guardian / Andrew Clements
1 February 2013
Touring Norwegian orchestras don't leave home without at least one piece by Grieg in their luggage, and for this concert it was the Piano Concerto, with Christian Ihle Hadland as soloist. It's not easy to make such a familiar work seem freshly minted, but Hadland quickly showed why he is so highly regarded he is one of the current crop of BBC New Generation Artists with a performance that was both lyrically flexible and muscular when required; for all his subtleties, there was nothing small-scale about any of it.
Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 21 & 22 - Christian Ihle Hadland
Classic FM Website
4 February 2013
Two of Mozart's best piano concertos given a new lease of life in a fresh new interpretation by Christian Ihle Hadland and the Oslo Philharmonic. John Suchet's Album of the Week, 4 February 2013. Where sometimes the well-known middle movement of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21 ('Elvira Madigan ') risks becoming an exercise in wading through musical treacle, Hadland's refreshingly speedy interpretation injects some of the composer's signature cheeky charm back into the piece. The sense of ensemble is impeccable throughout - as the horns echo the piano, or the piano echoes the strings, you can almost see the twinkle of joy in Mozart's eye as the cheery tunes are bounced effortlessly between each section of the orchestra. Christian Ihle Hadland's piano solos are edgy and characterful, but other members of the orchestra are given the time to shine in this brilliant recording. Listen out for Mozart's trademark horn lines glowing through the orchestral textures, or even a swelling oboe duet or an unexpected flutter of a flute. Every repeated listen to every movement will uncover another musical surprise. A delightfully pithy album of concertos, bringing Mozart's piano music to life.
The Financial Times / Andrew Clark
3 February 2012
Mozart Piano Concerto / Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra
16 March 2013
This immaculately produced disc contains scintillating readings of two genial Mozart piano concertos. Ihle Hadlands polished, witty playing suits the musics character perfectly. Marvellous too to have both works accompanied so richly by a downsized Oslo Philharmonic under Arvid Engegård. Period-performance purists should listen carefully to the orchestral winds and horns in K482 and reflect upon what they might be missing. The Oslo players are fabulous, particularly a pair of fruity bassoons characterful when issuing their riposte to the orchestras opening flourish, later cheekily embellishing the Rondos main theme. Hadland plays a first movement cadenza provided by Britten for Sviatoslav Richter. Stylistically it doesnt quite fit, but its a fascinating listen, at one point lurching boldly into the 20th century before neatly reassuming Mozartian garb. Hadland doesnt undersell either concertos grandeur. K467s first movement has just the right amount of pomp and wit. The over-familiar slow movement, used by a thousand telephone call centres, is played at a flowing tempo. Theres a sonorous plucked bass, and the piano line sings. Hadland's last movement sparkles. All is invigorating, never sentimental. Sublime, in other words.
Norway's New Piano Lion Plays Mozart With Velvet Paws
8 August 2013
"Some times it is not the known brand which wins the consumers' test. Angela Hewitt has a vast public all over the world and her project with recording all Mozart's piano concertos with an orchestra from Mantova has been under careful preparation for a very long time. Hyperion is also known particularly for producing superb sound. In the other end of the scale of expectations is Christian Ihle Hadland in the beginning of his career, and the Oslo Philharmonic which definitely is not known as experts in Mozart. Then why is it that it is the 30 year old Norwegian on the local label which is put in the player again and again whilst Hewitt's soon ends in the stack of medium Mozart recording? The answer is delicate fingers. Hadland's touch is always so delicate that the piano voice remains soft and dreaming - without ever losing focus on rhythm in the many rows of scale notes which drape the immortal themes." "One of the concertos, no. 21, which today is named 'Elvira Madigan' should be impossible to give new life, but Hadland succeeds beautifully. The well known second movement with the quirky disconnected melody is given a little extra tempo and he keeps a safe distance to clichés with his fine sound in tight rein. The music becomes a stylish dance - which points forward. The orchestra and Hadland seem to be in agreement regarding both balance and timing in the transformation from dialogue to merry summer happiness. No. 22 is different seeking in its nature. Hadland offers play and music with a shrt distance to smile in the same high quality, where one enjoyes the normally large orchestra playing in a careful and warm version." Henrik Friis
Hadland's Beethoven - The Proms
5 September 2013
Theres something intriguing about the young Norwegian pianist Christian Ihle Hadland: his musicality is very subtle, and no other pianist can match his poised and pearlised touch. But since his London performances had hitherto been confined to chamber music, Beethovens Second Piano Concerto with the Oslo Philharmonic under Osmo Vanska would be different sort of test. The surprise was that he turned that into chamber music too. His passage-work during Prom 69 had an intimacy one doesnt normally associate with Beethovens concertos, and he gave the cadenza a musing quality. The lovely dialogue between piano and orchestra in the Adagio was lifted into something magical, an effect only possible when soloist, conductor, and orchestra have worked together as long as these have done. Hadlands encore, a Byrd Galliard, was a typically left-field choice.