Dance-like and brittle
Neue Zürcher Zeitung
"Chamber music for violin and piano occupies a different status in the respective oeuvres of Igor Stravinsky and Dmitri Shostakovich. While Stravinsky’s duos are predominantly arrangements of orchestral works, Shostakovich’s Sonata op. 134 is his only work for this formation and represents a weighty composition from the composer’s late phase. Violinist Judith Ingolfsson and pianist Vladimir Stoupel’s idea of coupling Stravinsky’s Divertimento of 1932 and Shostakovich’s Sonata from 1968 on one recording offers the opportunity to explore the differences between the two works. The Divertimento, which is based on the ballet The Fairy’s Kiss, makes use of a number of Tchaikovsky’s salon songs and piano pieces. It is lovely how Ingolfsson and Stoupel bring out Stravinsky’s approaches and alienations. In the introductory Sinfonia, both romantic melodiousness and mechanistic motion can be heard. Throughout all four movements, the performers allow the dance-like character of this ballet arrangement to shine out.
Shostakovich’s three-movement Sonata proves to be much less accessible. The duo in no way spares the listener, leading him through the unwieldy rhythmic and melodic structure and emphasizing the Sonata’s non-sensual character at every opportunity. Splendidly presented is the final movement, a fifteen-minute-long Largo in the form of a passacaglia that contains the whole Shostakovich in a nutshell."

Power Centers of Time, Mirrored
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
"The main work of the evening was Igor Stravinsky’s unfortunately very seldom played Concerto for piano, wind band, double basses, and timpani from 1924. It very clearly highlights reminiscences of the music of the early eighteenth century, for example, when the first movement calls to mind the structure of a French overture, or when the piano’s sound – rhythmically complicated, dry, emotionlessly shaped – gives the impression of a harpsichord. In the outer movements, at least, expressiveness is allowed only here and there in the orchestra.
Soloist Vladimir Stoupel mastered the task with exemplary artistic power and – especially important in this piece – utmost rhythmic precision."

The One-armed of the World War
Stoupel and Ingolfsson in the International Theater
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

"A concert in the International Theater in Frankfurt offered the opportunity to become acquainted with Schulhoff’s very ambitious and demanding Piano Suite for the left hand. We owe this to pianist Vladimir Stoupel, who played the five movements with subtle stylistic differentiation: from the beginning with the impressionistic timbres up to the percussive, toccata-like, and dissonant movements in bright expressionistic colors. And with Shostakovich’s Sonata for violin and piano, op. 134, Stoupel and Ingolfsson showed themselves to be an excellently attuned duo. They sharpened the contrasts of this late work, whose radical nature and modernity were shown to best advantage."

 

audite
CD REVIEWS:

DAS ORCHESTER, Germany - April 2012 - Werner Bodendorff
Stravinsky/ Divertimento and Shostakovich/ Sonata for Violin and Piano

"Two major Russian composers of the “classical modern” are united here on a CD with two contrasting chamber music works: the fleet-footed Divertimento by Igor Stravinsky and the brittle sounding Violin Sonata by Dmitri Shostakovich from the last phase of his life.
As if the work was written especially for them, the renowned artists Judith Ingolfsson and Vladimir Stoupel offer a supple and effortless performance of the Stravinsky. They pay great attention to the lyrical and melodic passages, illuminate the specific Stravinskyian coloring, and bring out his subtle rhythms, which they, on the one hand, render optimally with precise attacks, and clean and warm bow strokes, and, on the other, congenially fathom this music and perform it with excellent ensemble playing: Stravinsky in magical-dreamlike garb.
These are attributes that also clearly come to light in the second piece. The three-movement work by Shostakovich is anything but dreamy, but typical for the resigned and haggard composer. The unbridled anger, which cuts to the quick, is immediately perceptible. This was to be heard already in the 1969 interpretation by Oistrach and Richter that was long considered the epitome. But this interpretation, too, gets under your skin, inasmuch as Ingolfsson and Stoupel play the movements equally as intensive and fraught with tension, yet somewhat slower, very sensitively savoring the seemingly impotent emotions, almost to the breaking point. Thus, in spite of the roiling anger, many things appear more conciliatory and fragile in retrospect: meanwhile with a subtle idea of forgiveness."

 

PLATTE11 - March 2012 - Heinz Gelking
Stravinsky/ Divertimento and Shostakovich/ Sonata for Violin and Piano

"The Divertimento by Igor Stravinsky and the Violin Sonata by Dmitri Shostakovich – a more contradistinctive program for violin and piano can hardly be put together, even though both composers were naturally of Russian birth, and inasmuch as there is common ground in terms of content. In 1932 Stravinsky, a citizen of the world residing in Paris, arranged an orchestral suite based on the ballet Le baiser de la fée that arguably contains more Tchaikovsky than Stravinsky. It would be possible to imagine a shrewd interpretation in which, conversely, more Stravinsky than Tchaikovsky is to be heard – played cleverly and sharp-edged. However, Judith Ingolfsson and Vladimir Stoupel dispense with such “alienation effects.” They unabashedly make the most of romantic cantilenas and inspire with perfectly attuned duo artistry. It is clearly obvious that the two have performed together often and already for a long time.
  Then a stark transition to the Sonata for Violin and Piano in G Major, op. 134. It was a present from Dmitri Shostakovich to David Oistrach for his sixtieth birthday. Judith Ingolfsson and Vladimir Stoupel display enormous versatility in mastering this transition. Whereas the Divertimento sounded surprisingly urbane and close to drawing-room music, they play the Shostakovich Sonata rather “more extreme” than David Oistrach and Sviatoslav Richter, the performers of the premiere, who were possibly more restrained not only for musical reasons, but also due to political considerations. Incidentally, with this benchmark in the background, one can only marvel at the technical and musical competence of Judith Ingolfsson and Vladimir Stoupel."

 

The STRAD - March 2012
Powerful recordings of two highly different Russian violin works

"Stravinsky's Divertimento is an arrangement of the music from his ballet The Fairy's Kiss, a homage to Tchaikovsky. Judith Ingolfsson and Vladimir Stoupel work hard to bring out the subtleties in the music, ensuring that this never feels like an accompaniment to a spectacle that's eluding us. Icelandic violinist Ingolfsson, a professor at the Stuttgart Hochschule, has a gorgeously rich and incisive tone, and her colourful shadings of Stravinsky's elegant and magical themes have a feather-light touch. She is given impeccable support by Stoupel, who achieves a delicious transparency of texture. Recorded sound is bright and clean, with a nice bloom on the violin.

Darker thoughts shadow Shostakovich's Sonata, yet here the players dare to rein in the expressive intensity, allowing it to creep in gently – the effect is as if one can hear Shostakovich refracted through the delicacy of the Stravinsky. It serves to increase the sense of bleakness and melancholy, from the slow build of the opening Andante through to the driving, dancing second-movement Allegretto. The passacaglia variations of the final, circling Largo, where the undertone of Bach's fugues seems ever present, are a well of tragic intensity – a gripping ending to a powerful and haunting reading."
—Catherine Nelson

Audiophile Audition - February 2012
Two wildly divergent faces of Russian composition ★★★★★
"...Stravinsky's fairytale ballet Le Baiser de la Fee is certainly one of the most tuneful scores Stravinsky ever penned, and even today maintains a wide popularity....
This ballet received no less than four reworking's, entirely within the work ethic of the composer, who would make as many versions as needed to supply the needs of any ensemble or performers who wished to have performing scores for their own purposes. On this recording we have the first such arrangement, suggested to the composer by violinist Samuel Dushkin. It works well, and remains a popular adaptation. Stoupel and Ingolfsson play it with a lot of rhythmic flexibility and enjoyment.
The Shostakovich is an entirely different emotional experience, one of the most harrowing sonatas in the literature, and light years divorced from the insouciance of the Stravinsky....
Stoupel and Ingolfsson again take no precautions with this work, understanding it primarily as a nihilistic meditation on ultimate death, but playing it with a prophylactic reasoning that still maintains focus on the piece as pure music devoid of too many extra-musical associations. It works—they are able to refocus our attention on the notes themselves and present an accessible and cogent argument.
The recording is first-rate with the surround sound floating the two artists nicely all around. Short timing, but excellent concept and performances."
—Steven Ritter


Gramophone Magazine - March 2012

"Ingolfsson and Stoupel draw the Bach inspiration out in the deceptively straightforward opening Andante and in the long Largo finale to Shostakovich's Sonata, a marvelous, haunting piece of extended musical thought which is handled with superb control. There is also a less readily identifiable but very Russian sense of energy in the more vigorous dance music, which can seem to be on the verge of breaking out of control, especially in the Shostakovich's central movement. Both composers also respond to the inspiration of bell sounds, something again very Russian and vividly invoked here.
These are both strong, perceptive performances, recorded closely and lucidly, in which the complicated ambiguities in the music of both composers take hold powerfully below the sometimes jaunty surface."

 

Pizzicato Luxemburg

pizzicato

Bursting with Excitement
"With his Divertimento, Igor Stravinsky took up the classical tradition of Haydn and Mozart. He did this with his own characteristic, strongly rhythmized musical language, which is the first thing that strikes us about this recording. The duo Ingolfsson-Stoupel plays very communicatively, taking the listeners along on an exciting musical journey. Judith Ingolfsson elicits a nearly infinite palette of timbres from her violin – here and there filigree and gentle, then powerful, bursting with energy. At the same time, the duo never neglects the enigmatic, humorous character of the genre.
Dmitri Shostakovich composed the Violin Sonata op. 134 during the final years of his life, years that were marked by the composer’s physical decline. Even though one should guard against interpreting the work from a biographical point of view, there is no mistaking the farewell to life. With impressive rhetorical skill, Judith Ingolfsson and Vladimir Stoupel emphasize the work’s rather morbid mood. They fashion the Sonata keenly and pointedly in the Allegretto, and with fateful vehemence and a real storm of emotions in the concluding Largo."

 

RBB Kulturradio
kulturradio.de

kulturradio

Virtuoso and resolute
"Violinist Judith Ingolfsson and pianist Vladimir Stoupel have made a new recording of two major chamber music works of Russian modernism: the Divertimento by Igor Stravinsky and the Violin Sonata by Dmitri Shostakovich.
Judith Ingolfsson and Vladimir Stoupel present the two works scrupulously and yet with great lightness. Their Stravinsky is convincing above all as a result of the virtuoso rendition of the lyrical melodies. They play the Shostakovich Sonata a bit slower than usual, which is however quite beneficial for the piece. Judith Ingolfsson really puts her all into the sustained tones, producing in a warm, resolute, and sometimes also aggressive sound. At the same time, she can scale back wonderfully to a gentle, sensitive pianissimo in the soft passages.
Vladimir Stoupel also proves himself to be an expert in the music of his two compatriots, solidly providing a foundation for the violin's excursions: crystal-clear ensemble playing with a sure feel for the subtle complexities and large contrasts."

RESMUSICA.com (France)
resmusica.com

kulturradio

"Judith Ingolfsson offers us an admirable and powerful version of the famous Divertimento for violin and piano by Igor Stravinsky. One can virtually hear the Franco-Belgian violin school in her bowing. Apart from her truly breathtaking virtuosity, Ingolfsson explores Stravinsky's world of expression with impressive intelligence, making the transition from sardonic-humorous to profoundly emphatic, lyrical playing in the blink of an eye. An extraordinary performance, not least due to the perfect accord and balance with the playing of pianist Vladimir Stoupel, who contributed his part to this absolutely successful recording.
Following Stravinsky's Divertimento, the duo carries us off to a completely different world with the Sonata op. 134 by Shostakovich. The present interpretation of the Sonata, which was first performed by David Oistrach and the composer himself, is likewise in a league of its own. With extremely intensive drama (that takes us to icy heights), the duo succeeds with its proven virtuosity (the central Allegretto) in conveying the dramatic and tragic character of the piece in an ideal manner. To be sure, this recital sends the listener away musically "overwhelmed." But it is for a good cause!"

Sovereign and self-confident
klassik.com

That’s what winners look like. The poses assumed by Judith Ingolfsson and Vladimir Stoupel in the cover photo of their first duo CD declare the musicians’ self-confidence – and after one has heard the recording, one can say: justifiably so. With Igor Stravinsky’s Divertimento and Dmitri Shostakovich’s Violin Sonata op. 143, the duo does not tackle pieces in which the technical-virtuoso mastery of the instrument is foremost. But all the more they demand skill in dealing with the literature of the twentieth century, which again proves to be enormously different in the two Russian composers.

The duo’s playing comes from within; it comes across as natural and, consequently, convincing. The fact that this attitude can be recognized in all facets of the works contributes to the impact of the disc, which was released by Audite in collaboration with Deutschlandradio Kultur. Beyond the brilliant performance, the listening pleasure is intensified by the crystal clear quality of the recording.

After a fairytale-like introduction, the lively rhythm bubbles up in the first movement of Stravinsky’s Divertimento, the “Sinfonia” – a first dramatic effect that the duo reveals in sparkling, always ballast-free interplay. The consistent lightness of the timbre, particularly that of the violin, which is also maintained in the lyrical-contemplative passages, has the effect of a magic potion in all the pieces: never intrusive, always flowing, and yet not pale. Also realized in this manner is the refined stylistic mixture of the second movement, the “Danse suisse” (Swiss Dance), which requires alternation between folkloristic and cantabile gestures. A homophonic movement, which has the apparent effect of blending the solo voices into a single chordal instrument, muscles its way in between. In the last movement, too, a “Pas de deux” with variations on an Adagio theme, the composer’s subtle humor is rendered in a very natural manner, for example, when gentle staccato notes in the accompaniment join a chanson-like melody with which Ingolfsson can finally display the brilliance of her sound in the high range, or, as in the last variation, when the music is reminiscent of the fundament of a pantomime act at the circus.

On the other hand, the associations evoked by Shostakovich’s Violin Sonata, op. 134, are anything but cheerful. Even if not actually gloomy, the work at least has a consuming tension. The first movement of the unconventional sequence is an Andante: a tapping pulse that traverses the movement throughout the slow tempo, reduced dynamics, and incursions of noise music. In another mood, one could speak of a grandiose scene that Ingolfsson and Stouple offer here. The following Allegretto has a lighter feeling; paradoxically, as it is actually a turbulent movement: Scratching tones are sustained against supple scales with a continuous up and down within the tonal space. In the third movement, Largo, the work comes full circle: after the climax of short solo passages in the piano and violin, they shape a shimmering fade out with reference to the sound of the first movement. The tension, however, is sustained beyond the end of the piece.

It will be of great interest to see whether Judith Ingolfsson and Vladimir Stoupel decide to make further recordings. With the works by Stravinsky and Shostakovich, the duo has proven that it feels comfortable particularly in the area of the classic modern style. And especially here, courage and self-assurance are necessary. The musicians obviously have both.

Hessischer Rundfunk 2 - Kultur

"The two musicians present expressive, almost tender Stravinsky, far removed from the neoclassical motoric style that this composer so readily cultivated during the 1920s. It is an imaginary dialogue between Stravinsky and his great model Tchaikovsky. The duo presents the Divertimento dreamy and playful, with delicacy and suppleness."

Der Tagesspiegel Berlin, Germany

Storming applause!

Composers in Conversation
SHMF Concert was Enjoyable and Informative

Hamburger Abendblatt, 26 July 2010
From the very first measures of Chopin and Liszt’s Nocturne “My Joys” for piano, the Russian-born pianist, who lives in Berlin, displayed a wonderful culture of articulation and a rapport with the composition.
In Szymon Laks’s ballade Hommage à Chopin, the pianist made audible how Laks approached Chopin’s music. With a firm hold, he gradually intensified the drama. He played Chopin’s Minute Waltz seductively with a suggestively rendered rhythm. In Ravel’s La Valse he eruptively emphasized the strong breaks, made the despair and the compelled silence of Ravel’s memories of the First World War audible.
I have never before heard an audience applaud between movements at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival. Until now. Until the concert with Judith Ingolfsson and Vladimir Stoupel in Norderstedt. The first movement of Simon Laks’s Trois Pieces de concert had hardly ended before a number of listeners applauded enthusiastically. Enthusiastically with good reason. Because the duo played just fabulously.

Hymn-like Finale

Märkische Oderzeitung, Germany
Chosen for the Chopin homage was the E-Minor Piano Concert, op. 11, to whose orchestral exposition the musicians lent a truly Beethovenian passion. The playing of soloist Vladimir Stoupel, who gave every tone astonishing resoluteness, was exceedingly powerful. Playfully light, but far from being kitschy, he proved himself to be a thinking, almost brooding Chopin advocate, who with his trill-rich passage work also did not disappoint in terms of virtuosity. Dreamily he mused through lyrical regions, thundered up pathos with keyboard bravura – in short, with his nuanced touch, from cotton-soft to muscular, and his unbridled will to shape things, he proved himself to be a contrast-loving, clearly contouring painter of moods. He sang the larghetto in enchanting, glowing beauty as a nocturne full of inner luminescence. Enthusiastic applause and a Schubert encore.

Journey to Pianistic Dreamworlds
Vladimir Stoupel’s Outstanding Piano Recital at the Kassel Musiktagen
Hessische Allgemeine, Germany

The concert with the Russian pianist Vladimir Stoupel, who is known for his “well-composed” programs, set a mark that colleagues who follow him will find difficult to surpass. Russian piano school: yes. Demigod of the keyboard: no. One can reduce Stoupel’s playing to this simplified formula.
Framed by two works by Felix Mendelssohn, who, as is known, came from a Jewish family, were two other Jewish composers from the twentieth century and, as a premiere, five short pieces from a seasons cycle by Russian composer Olga Rajewa, who was in attendance. Stoupel played Karol Rathaus’s Third Sonata and Erwin Schulhoff’s Third Suite for the left hand, both extremely complicated structures. At the beginning and end, however, stood Mendelssohn, whose piano works have always been a bit overshadowed by his symphonies, oratorios, and chamber music.
The pianist chose the Fantasia in F-sharp Minor, op. 28, and the Variations sérieuses, both highly virtuoso creations. It was interesting to observe how differently he approached the two works: the Fantasia with full intensity, reminiscent of Liszt, the Variations clearly more reserved and transparent.
In the one as well as in the other, Stoupel immersed himself in this music, became completely engrossed in it, breathed with it, and emerged again, shortly catching his breath and only gradually regaining a smile, from the dreamlike self-absorption of his playing. An outstanding evening.

ARTE

ALEXANDER SCRIABIN: The Complete Piano Sonatas

Russian pianist Vladimir Stoupel presents one of the best complete editions of Scriabin’s piano sonatas. A groundbreaking interpretation.

It requires a good deal of courage and a truly open mind to undertake a complete recording of Scriabin’s piano sonatas. The late-Romantic sounds of the first sonata (1892) and the mystical dimension of the last five (1911–1913) are worlds apart. Like Schoenberg, Scriabin also gradually freed himself from the traditional forms of expression and entered unknown musical territory. Scriabin’s music exceeds itself. It transcends rational thinking and voices the unspeakable. Vladimir Stoupel’s recording is certainly one of the best complete editions ever, and therefore also particularly difficult to comment on. The triple album is so successful because the pianist does not fall into the musical clichés that a superficial occupation with Scriabin’s work could impose on one. His interpretation has more to do with painting than with the playing of a Romantic pianist who lends expression to his passion in an effusive flood of notes. And as a result, Stoupel makes Scriabin’s music again into this adaptable space that eludes the grasp of our understanding. A musical fresco? Perhaps. But illuminated by a stormy sky in which thunderbolts flash. - Mathias Heizmann

The Washington Post

Judith Ingolfsson and Vladimir Stoupel

Violinist Judith Ingolfsson and pianist Vladimir Stoupel brought power and purpose to a varied duo program at the National Gallery on Sunday. Stoupel's protean range of expression was well suited to Ravel's "La Valse." It was a performance of thunder and lightning, even if the waltz feeling sometimes took a back seat to the keyboard pyrotechnics.

Der Tagesspiegel Berlin, Germany

"Stoupel risked an exceptional, and entirely private interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto: he transformed the virtuoso thriller for keyboard sprinters into a tone poem about the struggles of a distraught soul. From the musical text he inspired to arouse a rhapsodic narration, an operatic tableau - enthralling and atmospherically dense. During a time in which many swear by the weightless brilliance of interpreters such as Lang Lang, a pianist has to summon up great courage to show, by means of an emotional and utterly heartfelt interpretation, why the work was once considered so outrageously, and indeed, so obscenely, private."

Daily Camera, CO (USA)
By Wes Blomster, Camera Classical Music Critic

"in the solo piano version of Ravel's "La Valse" Russian-born Stoupel made this work -- so familiar as an orchestral production -- a fully contemporary score, raising to the level of the composer's war-informed Concerto for the Left Hand."

Mainzer Rhein-Zeitung, Germany

Russian music brings melancholy to the “Großes Haus” of Mainz “Two solo concertos made up the programme: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s piano concerto No. 3 in E flat major op. posth. 75 "Allegro Brillante”; and Galina Ustvolskaya’s concerto for piano, strings and timpani. Vladimir Stoupel lent both single-movement works an authentic Russian spirit. Showing clear touch and intense passion, he delivered the syncopated rhythms and fervent, tranquil themes of the Tchaikovsky concerto with precision and subtlety. In his cadenzas, in particular, Stoupel displayed a diversity of expression ranging from melancholy restlessness to passionate determination. The pianist also impressed in Ustvolskaya’s concerto, thanks to an abundance of timbres. The orchestra adapted to the pianist with sensitivity, producing sound as a mystical haze or in menacing strikes.”

Neue Westfälische Zeitung, Germany

Overcast moods “The hands of the distinguished pianist and proven all-round musician Vladimir Stoupel gave a thorough reworking to Rathaus’s Sonata No. 3, instilling it with distinct creative power. In Schubert’s Impromptu op. 142/1 in F minor, his mature performance combined clarity of formulation with a richly-shaded aesthetic, allowing the enigmatic tone of Schubert’s late work to fill the entire sound space. In Debussy's “Estampes“ piano cycle, Vladimir Stoupel displayed a most refined touch to trace and evoke sound impressions from Java, Spain and Paris: transparent, lucid, poetic. He rendered Maurice Ravel's “La Valse" with disarming virtuosity. Rapturous applause was followed by a wonderful Schubert encore, sculpted with scrutiny and crystal clarity.”

Leipziger Volkszeitung, Germany

Long applause follows sumptuous tones from the piano: Vladimir Stoupel impresses with his Tchaikovsky concerto in b-flat “Stoupel gave a downright perfect performance: thunderous octaves, brisk runs, melting cantilenas. His interpretation was commanding and brilliant - no weakness was ever apparent, even it this stunningly demanding vision. The finale skipped along nimbly, but was also soft and smooth in tone. There was long applause for the amicable pianist.”

Westfälische Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany

"Henze's "Tristan" is a tremendous piano concerto with electronic sounds and imposing orchestra - with a salute to Brahms and Chopin. A seismograph at the piano: the splendid Vladimir Stoupel."

Saratov News, Russia

The Alfred Schnittke Philharmonic Concert Hall presented three programs in May. Quite noticeably, a leap in quality happened on the 14th of May, when Maestro Rostropovitch conducted the Philharmonic. We will remember this concert for a very long time. It was feared, however, that the orchestra would not be able to bring about a comparable achievement again. But ten days later, Vladimir Stoupel stood at the desk of the orchestra. And again, the orchestra was playing with interest, verve and much energy. This conductor brought something completely new to this orchestra - something that they had never seen before. Stoupel, who appeared both as conductor and a pianist, showed highest professionalism in both roles. Although his interpretation of the Mozart the piano concerto in c-minor could perhaps be debated, his conducting of the "Italian" Symphony by Mendelssohn was unbelievably convincing.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany

... In the beginning, the Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini op. 43 by Rachmaninov was in the centre of interest. For this demanding task, pianist Vladimir Stoupel was the most suitable interpreter one could think of: technically brilliant, distinguished, with a precise rhythm. An impressive performance!

Mainzer Rhein Zeitung, Germany

... The public smiled amusedly when pianist Vladimir Stoupel, after having brilliantly interpreted the Paganini variations by Sergei Rachmaninov as an encore, announced "something quiet". Perhaps he should have announced the piece, the "Moment musical" in F minor by Schubert which, indeed, was quiet but therefore not less exciting than the previous, masterly played piece, both being characterised by astonishing changes of the mood. As for Schubert, a little harmony change from minor to major was an event. The Rachmaninov piece was fascinating not only due to the technical requirements, but particularly because of the masterful handling of tone colours and moods. Stoupel and the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Staatstheater, directed by his music director Catherine Rückwardt, actually played "diabolically well" without, however, loosing their sensitivity and precision which made them absolutely deserve being celebrated.

Süddeutsche Zeitung, Germany

Henze is at his best whenever he places one or more soloists antiphonally to an ensemble. This is true for many of his operas, as well as for the concerti, like his 1973 piano concerto in six parts, "Tristan." Its solo part, often no more than hints of rhythmic figures, was interpreted by Vladimir Stoupel as the lament of the individual cast out by society. [...] Society has lost its coherence, and without direction, the individual, the soloist, tries to make his way through this chaos. Henze's own life and suffering give this piece an equally fascinating and oppressive splendor.

Süddeutsche Zeitung, Germany

Franz Liszt's 2nd Piano Concerto was in the best of hands with Vladimir Stoupel. One rarely hears the delicate structure of the piece conveyed so excellently in each and every note, exactly as in this Russian pianist's performance that evening. Apart from his excellent technique, Vladimir Stoupel's achievement was bringing the piece to life through his careful development of the overarching musical form. The surging applause drew a Chopin encore from Stoupel, which alone would have been worth attending the concert that evening.

Harris Goldsmith, New York

Bravo for a magical recital! What an ear for color, spacing, atmosphere, and what a superb sense of concentration, harmonic tension; and what an incredible dynamic range! The Schubert Fantasy showed an inclination to follow where the musical events led – and did it “wander” – a special forward, goal orientation. Beautiful Scriabin, too, and a special treat to hear the Schulhoff.

Frankfurter Rundschau, Germany

Stoupel’s "Wanderer Fantasy" was extremely strong. His "wanderer" was no free country lad but well and truly the uneasy, restless one of the Schubert song of the same name. It is rare to experience a pianist who so much foregoes everything high spirited in this piece and who so peers into the inner depths with wonderful piano strokes and halting and eloquent rubato. Sensationally unwavering and confident in style to an almost unfashionable degree.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

... As the only 19th century work, Schubert’s Fantasy in C major D 760 nevertheless fitted in well: as an early example of a later expanding virtuosity and of a cyclical form that extended far into the future. Stoupel magnificently mastered not only all the technical hurdles of this "Wanderer Fantasy" but also presented the four-part single movement clearly and impressively. Fantastic sound effects characterise Alexander Scriabin’s Sonata No. 4 in F sharp major op. 30, in which Stoupel refrained from any excessive use of obscuring pedal. Maurice Ravel’s own arrangement of the dance poem "La Valse" is the apotheosis of a lost time ending in catastrophe. Vladimir Stoupel presented the old Vienna glance, but did not try to conceal the perpetual rumbling of disturbing moments that eventually bring the building to collapse. Lots of applause and a Scriabin etude as encore.

Hamburger Abendblatt, Germany

Stoupel convincingly demonstrated what Liszt meant by an "exécution transcendante" with his performance of "Ricordanza" ("Recollection") from Liszt's "Études d'exécution transcendante". He often achieved sheer weightlessness of sound. In Liszt's Mephisto Waltz no. 1, too, his highly differentiated interpretation verged on transcendence. More bliss and miracles for his listeners during six chosen preludes by Debussy. Never has "La fille aux cheveux du lin" been given such tender shape through sounds. The " Sunken cathedral" rose in visionary grandeur. What Debussy intended with the clowns ("Minstrels"), the reveries in the heather ("Bruyère"), the eccentric general Lavine, and the piano's especially exuberant "Fireworks" was captured by Stoupel with overwhelming precision. Not content to leave it at that, Stoupel finally even tackled Ravel's "La Valse" - what a culmination!

Der Tagesspiegel Berlin, Germany

During his piano recital at the Berlin Festival, Vladimir Stoupel succeeded in putting his audience under his spell for over fifty minutes. He did so with one of the most complex and weighty works in the history of piano compositions, Paul Dukas’ Sonata for piano in E flat minor. Whether the listeners open themselves up to a complex subject or not often depends on the way it is presented. Vladimir Stoupel opened ears. ... The intensity of his touch, the flow of energy that he transfers onto the instrument, his fearless grasp of the gigantic oeuvre - all of this enchanted his audience from the first bars on. Stoupel induces an almost trance state in his listeners, and his pianist's personality sets musical standards. Both the force, with which he gives plastic shape to the melodies, and the graphic clarity, with which he - using his left hand-discloses the development of harmonies in the composition's architecture, bring the composition to life and turn its abstract material into live matter.

Frankfurter Rundschau, Germany

Liszt's Sonata in B minor, a veritable bravura touchstone, which, however, appeared to be almost a trifle for the young pianist after the Dukas excursion, was thoughtfully and serenely built as a tense and compact poem of sound, felt and filled with feeling from its significant opening scales up to the final deep B, prepared in somnambulant concentration and lingering long afterwards.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany

Vladimir Stoupel captivates by unifying such opposing qualities as attention to detail and regard for the whole, a delicate sensitivity for sounds and fervent virtuosity.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany

Unforgettable: Vladimir Stoupel.