Daniel-Ben Pienaar


Beethoven Complete Piano Sonatas (released 2015)

'.... a gloriously multi-faceted opus maximus.... Amazing and very much worth hearing.'

- Der Spiegel

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Bach Well-Tempered Clavier (complete) (released 2013)

‘.... dizzying virtuosity.... a heartfelt response to the music's underlying spirituality. These are, in short, fresh, spontaneous, original readings that shed new light on the keyboard player's Bible.’

- BBC Music Magazine

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A Short Interview on Jessica Duchen’s Classical Music and Ballet Blog

Dangerous living, with JS Bach

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Two Concert reviews: Bach Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1

Singapore International Piano Festival and Eilat Chamber Music Festival

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Beethoven Diabelli Variations, Bagatelles Op. 126 (released 2012)

‘The work has a reputation for difficulty both from the performer's and listener's point of view but the young South African makes light of its technical rigours and springs plenty of interpretative surprises.’

- The Sunday Times (London)

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Bach Goldberg Variations (released 2011)

‘This new recording is indispensable for anyone who loves the work. And it comes with attractive fillers.’

- BBC Music Magazine

‘The great élan and mastery of this interpreter gives unity to this fragmentary work. It is difficult not to be captivated by playing so intensely active, sometimes astonishingly so.’

- Diapason (France)

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Feature in Rondo Magazine, Germany (2011)

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Mozart Complete Piano Sonatas (released 2010)

‘Interpretations where, within the letter critically observed, a numinous power breaks free. Momentous Mozart.’

- Gramophone

‘One of the most completely satisfying surveys of this still undervalued music ever committed to disc.’

- The Sunday Times

‘Mozart’s sonatas in aural technicolour. Playing that’s fearsomely intelligent, insightful and, though very personal, so musically clued-in it rings true to Mozart’s spirit…this set blew my socks off.’

- Classic FM magazine

‘....not a weak moment in the lot. I place this complete recording on the level of the ones by Uchida and Pires, and in some individual sonatas I would say it is even higher.’

- Fanfare (USA)

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Gibbons Complete Keyboard Works (released 2007)

‘Daniel-Ben Pienaar's performances are simply stunning. The instrument he plays matters much less than his musicianship which is evident at every turn.’

- Gramophone

‘Pienaar achieves his goal by creating brilliant music that is exciting and beautiful on an instrument unlike any of Gibbons's own instruments…The end of the 'Lord Salisbury Pavan' is deeply moving. I give him the highest praise for making this music work so well on the piano.’

- American Record Guide

‘…shines in all colors and shades amidst the whole spectrum of emotions in turn: elegiac or puckish, relentlessly exuberant, affected or genial - a kaleidoscope of Elizabethan keyboard art, a great recording.’

- Stereoplay (translated from German original)

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Reviews Before 2006

‘… no doubt that this South African-born pianist is a thinking virtuoso. In the company of such contrasting practitioners as Edwin Fischer, Samuel Feinberg, Sviatoslav Richter and Glenn Gould, he seems determined to leave his own mark on this music.’

- BBC Music Magazine

‘Pienaar conjured from a modern Steinway a kaleidoscope of colours and textures in performances that combined the dramatic with the ethereal, the monumental with the intimate.’

- International Piano

‘He offers answers that push the music to the brink though the bounds of credibility aren't breached. His is a tough but thought-provoking approach that readers are urged to listen to and ponder.’

- Gramophone

‘Pienaar is an outstanding pianist, and his Bach interpretations are quite on a par with the major names… He plays with superb vision. The music's direction is never in doubt, with considerable warmth and introspective expression, in varying interpretations ranging from the brilliantly virtuosic to the dreamily imaginative.’

- Danish Radio (translated from Danish original)

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Feature in Die Burger (Afrikaans), South Africa (2010)

‘…The Gibbons exceeded all conventional boundaries between performance, composition, and intellectual reflection. It was revealing and explorative and daring. The Bach was staggering.’ (translated from Afrikaans original)

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Feature in International Piano (2004)

‘Daniel-Ben Pienaar’s unconventional training, achieved away from the glare of the competition circuit, has provided him with a vital perspective on the core repertoire…’

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