SELECTED REVIEWS

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On his new CD Mozartiana (Grand Piano GP 849):

Tsalka treats us to a most engaging pastiche

"Mozart’s 1783 assortment of music for a ballet-pantomime, Pantalon und Columbine, in which Mozart played Harlequin to the Columbine by his former inamorata, Aloysia Lange, his sister-in-law! In 13 sections that last some 25 minutes, the work—completed, edited, and arranged by Franz Beyer in 1995—opens with a spirited Allegro taken from Mozart’s Symphony No. 11 in D, K 84. The vivid trills alone are worth their weight in gold. The rest of the action describes the usual buffa elements of the Commedia dell’Arte in terms of infatuation, flirtation, frustration in the form of a meddling Doctor, and Harlequin’s death from a fearsome Turk. … The Finale ends happily enough, having been adopted from the 1771 Presto of the Symphony in D Major, K 111."

Gary Lemco. Fanfare Magazine. July 2021

As interpreter, Michael Tsalka can compete with anyone

"This disc will especially attract those who have a particular interest in historical (keyboard) instruments. It offers the opportunity to hear an instrument they may never have heard before and only have read about in books or encyclopaedias. Michael Tsalka is a sensitive interpreter who knows exactly how to handle the two instruments, making sure that their respective qualities come fully to the fore. The better known pieces, such as the Fantasy in f minor or the Adagio in b minor, show that as an interpreter, he can compete with anyone."

Johan van Veen. Music Web International. March 2021

Materia sonora che sgorga come acqua di sorgente

"Ogni cosa in questo disco appare come un formidabile "mix" tra perizia strumentale, conoscenza storico/filologica e puro sentimento per una musica così bella. Il professore e il bambino incantato convivono senza problemi. . . Due preziosi strumenti, un Berner Tangentenflügel di fine XVIII secolo e un Maucher Pantalon costruito all'incirca nel 1780, fulcro e cagione di questo lavoro, si dividono la scena . . . Michael Tsalka, l'interprete, riesce a gettar luce su composizioni ora giocose ora dolenti, lo fa con singolare sensibilità e perfezione di tocco, consentendoci di entrare nelle più riposte fibre di una sublime materia sonora. L'aura dolorosa che emana un brano come l'Adagio in si minore K. 540, vengono da lui colte con quell'asciuttezza, una sorta di rarefazione sonora, che ha l'effetto di detergerle da ogni alone romanticheggiante, riportandole alla nudità del nucleo da cui sono state generate. Nella sua lettura di Pantalon und Colombine trovano declinazione una forte istintualità teatrale, la voglia di mettersi in gioco nel travestimento, in quella rappresentazione della vita che è gioia e dolore insieme. Il nostro interprete riesce sempre e comunque a conciliare arte e artigianato, a sintetizzare quell'esito artistico derivante dal rapporto fra strumento e musica, tra significato e significante. Si dimostra padrone di quanto passa sotto le sue mani, da vero "magister" delle tastiere sa trasformare il segno scritto modellandolo sulle peculiari possibilità espressive della tastiera che in quel momento suona."

Alfredo di Pietro, Non solo audiofili, Italy, January 2021

http://nuke.nonsoloaudiofili.com/MichaelTsalkaMozartiana/tabid/764/Default.aspx

Mozart, puur en onversneden: Een wereldpremière van ongekende werken op historische klavieren

"Maar wat als Mozart dat nu allemaal eens niet was overkomen? Wat als hij puur had kunnen spelen en componeren wat in zijn hart leefde? Hiernaar ging historisch klavierspecialist Michael Tsalka op zoek, de echte mens Mozart. Het resultaat is zo pretentieloos en puur als Wolfgang, de Mozart als speelvogel met ernst voor het vak, met een schalks ironisch kantje en een ziel van een kwetsbaar maar vastberaden jongetje. . . Men kan stellen dat Mozart een ideologische gevangene was van de markt, van zijn tijd. Tsalka laat hem hierbij vrij vliegen. Dus nee, niet de zoveelste opname, maar een unicum om te koesteren."

Veerle Deknopper, Cultuurpakt, Belgium, December 2020

"Ma nella magica serata del 18 ottobre ho avuto anche l'occasione - e la fortuna - di conoscere un eccellente musicista olandese/israeliano, il pianista Michael Tsalka, che mi ha sorpreso non solo per la rimarchevole sicurezza e disinvoltura dimostrata alla tastiera, per l'arpeggiato felino e leggero, il notevole 'jeu perlé' nella bella amalgama alla tastiera con Massimo G. Bianchi, ma anche per la sua grande empatia e gentilezza. Michael Tsalka è un musicista con i fiocchi, dotato di un curriculum da far tremare le vene ai polsi."

Alfredo di Pietro, Non solo audiofili, Italy, October 2020

"Pianist Tsalka spielte mit variablem und feinfühligem Anschlag, immer die Klangbalance im dichten Akkordsatz wahrend. Dabei gestaltete er mit enormem Ausdruck und lauschte zudem mancher kontrapunktischen Stimme nach, dieser damit Bedeutung verleihend."

Christoph Keller, NWZ Online, Germany, 2019

"The harpsichord playing really made this concert. It was wonderful to hear such a virtuoso of the instrument. . . . Tsalka's ornamentation and articulation were clean and expertly executed." 

Daniel Kaan. ClassikOn, Australia, 2018

On his CD Fantasies, Variations and Rondos by Ferdinand Ries (NAXOS):

…”Tsalka has a fine sense of the rhetoric of ornamental gestures and shapes the transitional passages well; he’s effective, too, in his use of the special coloristic qualities of his instruments…”

Peter J. Rabinowitz, Fanfare, February 2017

“Dazzling playing, bristling with creativity and emotion”

Sydney ArtsGuide, Australia, 2017

“Tsalka is evidently a true, brilliant musician…” 

Clavichord International, Amsterdam, 2017

“…superbly played on the fortepiano by Michael Tsalka…”

Robert Benson, ClassicalCDReview.com, September 2016

On his CD of Viktor Ullmann’s Piano Sonatas:

"Tsalka’s articulate and sensitive reading gives each sonata palpable musical life, the works coming across as “contemporary” and as relevant to current musical thought today as when they were written. This is a great and lasting strength of Viktor Ullmann’s writing. Michael Tsalka finds a fine balance between his understanding of the background and circumstances of each sonata and his objective playing of some of the finest piano music composed in the first half of the 20th century."

Pamela Hickman, Concert Critique Blog, April 2015

On his Complete Edition of D. G. Tuerk Sonatas (NAXOS):

". . .Tsalka pays great attention to detail; something as simple as parallel octaves are shaped in such a way as to delight the ear…But he deserves even higher praise for his handling of the middle movement (Largo molto e tenero). The rhetoric here proclaims, declaims, complains and explains-we are far beyond Empfindsamkeit...This project is an important event, fine music recorded for the first time, handsomely played…These are discs to listen to from start to finish, and enjoy as one would stroll from artwork to artwork at an exhibition.”

Christa Rakich, Clavichord International, Netherlands, Nov., 2013

 

On his CD of J. S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations (Paladino Label):

”This is a brilliant recording by an artist with a passion. Stepping outside the well-worn path of keyboard music, he creates a performance that make you sit up and listen. Technicality and creativity meet in a beautifully balanced performance." 

Music Web International. RECORDING OF THE YEAR, Dec. 2013

“Michael Tsalka’s recital at the Boston Early Music Festival was interpretatively revealing, . . . showing almost incredible virtuosity throughout.” 

The Berkshire Review, International Journal for the Arts, N.Y. and Boston, 2013

“The concert was a smashing success...”

 Global Times, Beijing, 2012