“…The Young pianist Joseph Moog’s scintillating virtuosity and knack for uncovering inner voices positively delights in all three movements [Rubinstein], and yields nothing to Marc-André Hamelin’s extraordinary 2005 Hyperion recording […] During solo sequences without the orchestra [Rachmaninov], Moog takes advantage of the spotlight, and lets his imagination run wild as he highlghts the thick piano textures’ inner counterpoints (both real and implied) and daringly stretches out the first-movement cadenza…”
“Joseph Moog, ‘Young Artist of the Year’ 2012 at the ICMA (International Classical Music Awards), reinforces the excellent impression we have of him. His performance is effortless and authoritative! The young German pianist gives Rubinstein’s fourth piano concerto, once played by Ignaz Paderewski and Sergei Rachmaninov, a refreshing briskness. The piece is given a pulsing, colorful interpretation, which makes this imaginative and creative composition come to life. But Moog’s technical ability is not actually revealed until the 3rd Rachmaninov concerto. It’s not only the virtuosic, clear as glass and lightning fast runs, the fascinating power and grandeur, but also the precise sureness of emphasis, the use of light and shadow, the interchanging of dark and brilliant tone qualities, his abundant interplay of colors and the artistic spontaneity that is born in the melting pot of musical intelligence – which is why Moog’s playing, as technically brilliant as it is, is never just for show. Nicholas Milton, as an intelligent accompanying conductor, collaborated well and inspired the orchestra to give their best, even though this orchestra performs at a level several classes below Moog. For that reason, the recording technician could have put Moog more in the forefront. Minor objections to such an impressive piano performance.” [translation]
“A particular interest here is Anton G. Rubinstein’s D minor concerto…Moog is easily a match for its bravura…Moog’s is a talent worth watching.”
“…Joseph Moog is only 24 years of age, yet already a distinguished virtuoso and an extraordinary musical genius.
His Rachmaninoff never sounded out of control or trite, and in spite of its extreme technical difficulties, it even had a chamber music quality at times. Joseph Moog is not a vain keyboard macho, but instead applies his abilities intelligently and audibly to the overall sound.
The performance Joseph Moog presents in this CD can be compared to performances of the giants of his craft. He is a true virtuoso of the black and white keys, equipped with supernatural piano technique and a truly romantic sound.
But the most remarkable thing about him is his artistic individualism, his comprehensive knowledge of all piano literature and his musical curiosity.
With his CD, Joseph Moog reinforces his top ranking, not only among the German piano virtuosos of his generation…”
Wilfried Schäper, Radio Bremen
“Joseph Moog is a young pianist with a superb technique and a warm tone. He also composes. On this album, he interestingly pairs concertos by two of Russia’s foremost pianist-composers. Anton Rubinstein’s Fourth Piano Concerto actually was in Rachmaninoff’s repertory as a soloist. Drawing attention to the neglected Rubinstein concerto by following it with a more famous work is a device that certainly is welcome. The opening movement of the Rubinstein is heavily influenced by Schumann’s piano concerto, particularly its first movement. Moog here takes on the mantle of the Schumannesque lyric poet, his tonal palette featuring halftones of grays and browns. Moog’s second movement is a true andante , or walking tempo, unlike some other performances. He plays the affecting opening melody simply and directly, introducing a shadow of melancholy that he sustains beautifully throughout the movement. The concluding Allegro constitutes a showcase for Moog’s bravura playing, with exciting exchanges between the soloist and orchestra. The two evoke the finales of the Mendelssohn piano concertos, with their combination of virtuosity and sobriety. With an advocate like Joseph Moog, we may hope that the Rubinstein concerto returns to its once notable position in the concert repertoire. I feel that Rachmaninoff’s Third Concerto, while extremely popular, is absurdly underrated as music. In it, the soloist embodies the role of the hero, as in Chopin’s concertos. As with Chopin, pianistic display demonstrates our fascination with the hero, while elucidating his character. Unlike Vladimir Horowitz, who gave us a highly demonic hero in this work, Moog’s hero is very human, even humane. His first movement exhibits quick tempos, as favored by the composer. Moog here creates a kaleidoscope of emotions, with mercurial changes in mood. The cadenza exhibits much beauty of tone. Nicholas Milton’s dark orchestral introduction to the next movement recalls the Isle of the Dead , Rachmaninoff’s previous opus—an atmosphere broken by a cascade of chaos from Moog. His scansion of the most complicated phrases is wholly convincing, even at rapid tempos. The finale starts at a speedy pace, rather than the march rhythm we are so accustomed to. Moog pays particular attention to dynamics, fleshing out the hero’s character with subtlety. He maintains tonal beauty even in rapid, soft passages, which possess a breathless excitement. Moog never pounds. The concerto’s final peroration has a sweep that might lift you out of your seat. The superb performances are captured in audio quality that is excellent, rich, and full. For an alternate view of the Rubinstein, there’s the slower, moodier version by Larisa Shilovskaya with Alexander Anissimov. I prefer Moog’s. Classic renditions of the Rachmaninoff include Van Cliburn, Byron Janis with Charles Munch, and, if you don’t mind a cut and monaural sound, Moura Lympany. Joseph Moog strikes me as an important talent whose versions of these concertos should wear very well. The Rubinstein indeed could be a reference edition, while I would recommend the Rachmaninoff to anyone who finds performances of this work hackneyed beyond endurance. Joseph Moog seems to be a pianist’s pianist.”
Dave Saemann, Fanfare Magazine