Charles Foreman Pianist

Reviews

“Your performance of Vox [Balaenae] in this recording is one of the very finest I have ever heard — Bravo moltissimo! I admire the technical excellence and incredible musicality and sensitivity of your trio. Please relay my thanks and appreciation to your colleagues!” (George Crumb, on the Shawnigan Trio recording, Vox Balaenae)

* * * * *

“On the strength of a well-conceived and equally well-annotated evening of beautiful music – performed accordingly – that took place Wednesday at the Rozsa Centre, lovers of chamber music and song would be well advised to take in as much of the remaining music in this summer’s Mountain View International Festival as possible…

“…Moments that especially stood out in what quickly turned into ninety minutes of generally divine music-making included…anything pianist Foreman put his hands to – especially the Schumann take on Chopin…” (Bob Clark, Calgary Herald, August, 2010).

* * * * *

“I have just listened, the third time, to your interpretation of my Four Portraits from Memory. It is breathtakingly beautiful: poetic, mysterious, full of stunning detail. You, truly, joined me as a ‘co-creator’ with this performance!” (Istvan Anhalt, on the 2008 premiere of his new piano piece, Four Portraits from Memory)

* * * * *

“…Charles Foreman, who dominated the evening with an outstanding display of bravura playing….Chopin’s Ballade in G minor took on in Foreman’s hands the emotional strength, the elegance and clarity that one might imagine its first auditors revelling in at the first performance. No self-indulgent nostalgia was to be found here, only a splendidly evocative re-creation of a long-dead style.
“Similar imagination was lavished on Beethoven’s Andante favori, the discarded second movement of the Waldstein sonata. This is not a work that normally inspires more than the moderate respect accorded pieces of charm and style. All the more fascinating, then, was the manner in which the pianist, with infinite dynamic gradations and dangerously slow tempi, raised the Andante up from its generally credited ‘minor’ status.
“The Liszt Paganini Etudes are circus acts of the highest order. Some critics may be correct in questioning the purely musical quality, but as long as there are pianists like Foreman who can fly through their technical hazards without batting an eye, they will remain a welcome part of any program.” (Eric Dawson, Calgary Herald)

* * * * *

“Un petit mot pour vous dite merci d’avoir choisi ma “Ballade” et de l’avoir si bien executeé: grand intelligence, sens musical et approche pianistique puissante et coloreé! Bravo! J’avois entendu cette pièce quelquefois mais je ne la reconnaissais jamais…votre enregistrement constitue une sorte de ‘première’ pour moi…je reconnais enfin ce que j’ai ecrit!” (Jacques Hétu, on the recording of his Ballade) (“A little word to thank you for having chosen my “Ballade” and for having played it so well: great intelligence, musicality and a pianistic approach that is powerful and colourful! Bravo! I have heard this piece a number of times, but I never recognized it…your recording is a kind of ‘premiere’ for me…I finally hear what I wrote.”)

* * * * *

Charles Foreman’s most recent solo CD on the Unical label, Sounds of a Century, was greeted with rave reviews from Bob Clark in the Calgary Herald (“Foreman produces a big, compelling sound, sharply detailed and alive, that distances his interpretations from the usual perfunctory and lacklustre renditions…[an] epic and sure-handed adventure”) and from the CBC’s Rick Phillips on Sound Advice, who gave it five stars out of five.

* * * * *

His Centredisc album, Ballade, achieved universal critical acclaim: “Charles Foreman’s performance is superb” (Stephen Ellis, Fanfare), “…all his playing seems to go right to the heart of the music…Foreman has done his country a service” (Ronald Gibson, Winnipeg Free Press), “Charles Foreman plays with a vitality and brilliance that recall the electrifying performances Horowitz used to give” (Robert Markow, Music Magazine). Re-released as a CD in 1991, Ballade still garnered rave reviews: “His playing is of the highest calibre: a powerful technique perfectly balanced with a respect for the implications of the scores’ inner poetry…This is a pianist from whom I would like to hear much more” (Richard Perry, Kingston Whig-Standard).

* * * * *

Of A Little Romance, his CD with violinist Edmond Agopian, Bob Kerr of CBC Radio’s Off the Record commented, “…a record of the year…astonishing playing…If I were trapped on a desert island and could only take five CDs, this would be one of them.” His CD with baritone Donald Bell on Unical Records includes “…one of the best Dichterliebe’s ever put on disc” (Kingston Whig-Standard).

* * * * *

Foreman was a founding member of the Shawnigan Trio from 1990 – 1998, whose many concerts in Germany have earned kudos from the press. Fono Forum gave the trio’s first recording, Vox Balaenae, their highest rating (“recommended for especially meaningful interpretation”), and comparing the Crumb performance to earlier recordings, stated: “…in the subtle balance of the Shawnigan Trio, the 20-minute opus finally comes into its own.”

* * * * *

“…in a fine performance such as last night’s, Liszt’s piano masterwork [the Sonata] has an inevitability that mocks classical considerations…a grandly conceived and executed reading. Schumann’s Fantasia brought the musician the greatest inspiration of the evening. As close to flawless as any performance could be, Foreman’s was a superb exhibition of celerity in the service of art, eloquent phrasing and sensitivity to one of the most passionate love-letters ever set to music.” (Eric Dawson, Calgary Herald)

* * * * *

Charles Foreman made his debut playing the Brahms Second Piano Concerto with the Chicago Civic Orchestra in 1972. The critics said he “…played with the kind of authority in style and technique that the complexity and content demand. Foreman has all it takes” (Chicago Sun Times).

* * * * *

He won the Belgian Radio Prize in the 1975 Queen Elizabeth Competition in Brussels, where the late Jacques Stehman proclaimed him “master of his talents, which are remarkable, full of assurance, proof of a refined musical perception, he coaxes the attention by the authority and eloquence which he asserts. All is played with a natural facility – in short, a name to remember” (Le Soir, Brussels).

* * * * *

“Foreman first impressed the audience by his very sensitive and musical playing of Beethoven’s Andante favori. Then he wowed them with a display of digital dexterity. The vehicles for the latter were the two most famous of the Liszt etudes on a theme by Paganini (No. 2 in E flat major and No. 6 in A minor) as well as Chopin’s Ballade in G minor…Foreman’s performance of the Liszt and Chopin pieces could only be described as terrific…” (Eugene Cramer, The Albertan)

* * * * *

“Charles Foreman has expressed a particular interest in the music of Karol Szymanowski…his Masques, Op. 34 [are] wild, exotic specimens of virtuoso pianism that found Foreman performing at his peak.
“There is no way to adequately describe the mesmerizing effect of his performance, the apparently limitless range of color and dynamic extremes he can coax out of the instrument. From the exotic impressionism of Scheherazade through the bitter mockery of Tantris the Fool, he never ceased to fascinate. Not even the curious example of a Polish composer creating a Spanish tone poem in Don Juan’s Serenade could detract from the power, the depth of his performance.” (Eric Dawson, Calgary Herald)

* * * * *

“It would be hard to imagine how the Chopin studies could have been played better…It may be that Foreman should run for political office on the strength of his piano playing – certainly the Pleiades audience would have elected him to any post he asked for, by acclamation, for the way he played Gershwin.” (David Zack, Calgary Herald)

* * * * *

“The highlights of the evening were Roussel’s Joueurs de flute and Böhm’s Grand Polonaise, during which Foreman and Aitken graphically depicted the humour behind the movements with the type of musical and technical sensitivity that could not help but etch the memory…The evening concluded with Prokofieff’s Sonata, Op. 94. The pianist was at his most sensitive and imaginative, while Aitken’s virtuosity was agreeably self-effacing. Both artists dispatched the Scherzo with splendid panache…Foreman was incredibly deft in this movement…At the end of this piece, one was left thinking not just of the virtuosity of the performance, but also what a marvelous composition it was.” (Pat Robinson, Lethbridge Herald)

* * * * *

“So many ideas are piled into the Piano Rag Music, many of them requiring the pianist to play in two keys at the same time, that a successful performance isn’t the easiest thing to pull off. In playing the Stravinsky, however, Foreman was at his pianistic best…Languorousness turned out to be an important feature of his approach to the classic rags of Joplin, Lamb and Scott, the three giants of the genre. Not that he couldn’t rev up the tempo for Joplin’s Maple Leaf Rag or Scott’s Kansas City Rag, but a relaxed, easy-going manner seemed more natural to him. One might have even been tempted to call Foreman an exponent of sleepy-time rag, had he not brought his recital to a wake-up close with Zez Confrey’s Kitten on the Keys. But liveliness was obviously his to offer.” (William Littler, Toronto Star)

* * * * *

“The encore season of the International Chopin Music Festival opened Saturday night to a standing-room only audience at the UTEP Fox Fine Arts Theater. Charles Foreman of the University of Calgary was the featured performer. Opening the program with an almost continuous 50 minutes of playing, Foreman displayed his technical versatility and emotional involvement with the music of Frederic Chopin…he succeeded in presenting Chopin on a level that few artists would tackle.” (Fran Zimet, El Paso Times)

* * * * *

“What a pleasure to receive your CD of my Trio! The performance is perfect, emotionally and technically. I couldn’t be happier. Thank you. And thank-you again.” (Ned Rorem, on the Shawnigan Trio recording of his Trio for flute, ‘cello and piano).

Advertisements
 
%d bloggers like this: