Love and Death
Just 22 years old at the time of this album’s release, Martin James Bartlett, the 2014 BBC Young Musician of the Year, might seem a bit youthful to be contemplating love and death. However, his well-conceived debut demonstrates great emotional maturity. The journey ranges widely, from consolatory Bach to the incendiary Prokofiev of the “War Sonatas.” Along the way, we have the complex emotions embraced in Liszt’s Petrarch sonnets and the glorious Schumann song “Widmung,” transcribed by Liszt. As an emotional climax, Wagner’s “Liebestod,” again entrusted to Liszt, is played with wonderfully controlled passion. Here’s a very impressive debut from a young musician destined for great things.