Acclaim

Quotes / Citations

“This represents a whole other class of Satie interpretation… Pure balletic elegance – playing that oozes hedonistic charm.” GRAMOPHONE

“In an age of knucle-busting keyboard technicians fixated on a single era, composer or concerto it is a great pleasure to encounter an artist of Jalbert’s stature for whom the piano is simply a transcendent means of human expression” WHOLENOTE

“Jalbert’s piano playing is remarkable for its sweep, confidence, sensitivity, power, and color, what more can we ask?” FANFARE

“Un artiste d’une très grande intégrité et sobriété” LE DEVOIR

“Wide-ranging musical imagination, phenomenal technique and an unerring lightness of being…” TORONTO STAR

“David Jalbert once again impressed as a deeply musical pianist.” CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER

“I was overwhelmed by Jalbert’s performance of these monumentally difficult works. Totally musical and personal, he is a young master.” JOHN CORIGLIANO

“After the opening, which bubbled up from the depths of the orchestra, young Canadian pianist David Jalbert was able, with great ease, to find the energy for the violent opening cadence of Ravel’s Concerto for the Left Hand. Thanks to Jalbert’s sensitively controlled, virtuosic piano-playing and to his close communication with the excellently prepared orchestra and maestro Peter Kuhn, there developed a suggestive interpretation.” NEUE WESTFÄLISCHE ZEITUNG

“Un virtuose au meilleur sens du terme.” LA PRESSE

“When it comes to supreme sensitivity and sublime interpretation, there is a young Canadian pianist who always comes to mind: Quebec artist David Jalbert. Jalbert combines superb technique with mature artistry and unrestrained emotion, bringing listeners enhanced understanding of composers’ intentions.” WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

“Jalbert dazzles with skill, style and taste… with all the finesse and exuberance a listener could want.” TORONTO STAR


Praise for David Jalbert’s recordings / Critiques de disques

Le Comble de la Distinction

Jalbert strikes a perfect balance. He is earthy without being aggressive, sentimental and sparkling without over-prettifying and thereby trivializing the music. He manages to capture the improvisatory feel that is said to have been a hallmark of Poulenc’s own piano style, essential in the Soirées de Nazelles. I especially like his bustling way with the first of the Mouvements perpetuels, and the tongue-in-cheek Chopin parody of the Fourth Nocturne. In the two Improvisations he is suitably raucous in the Hommage à Schubert (how could a homage to Schubert sound so French?) and emotionally direct in the Hommage à Edith Piaf. This disc brings us a thoughtful performing artist who is genuinely in sympathy with his chosen composers, and sound quality is first class. As far as I am concerned, David Jalbert can come back any time. Phillip Scott, FANFARE

David Jalbert puts on an impressive magic show in his latest solo album, which interweaves pieces by French composers Erik Satie and Francis Poulenc. This is music that needs a light touch coupled with an all-in, nothing-held-back attitude. It also needs assured technique and a very clear sense of phrasing. There is a lot going on under the polished surfaces, so in order to be tossed off with the ease and wit of good salon repartee, the interpreter pretty much needs to do quite a bit of sleight of hand and never, ever let a bead of perspiration show on his brow. Jalbert accomplishes all this, and more. The salon pieces on this album could easily be dismissed as fluff, but Jalbert’s interpretations are so clear and beguiling, that by the third listen, I was developing a love affair with some of the works, especially Poulenc’s eight Nocturnes, which close the album. There is a lot going on in this music, enough for the ear to find something new with each listen.(…) The biggest challenge for the interpreter is to find a balance between exuberance and good taste. The nostalgia can never be too deep; the humour should never be too broad; the technical feats never too daringly highlighted. At the same time, Poulenc’s music needs to sound like it’s being made up on the spot. Jalbert finds the ideal balance between extroversion and restraint. His musical gestures are finely shaded and nuanced, yet his playing sounds fresh and spontaneous. One of the highlights of controlled ebullience his rendition of Poulenc’s 1959 homage to Édith Piaf, in Improvisation No. 15. (…) There is much to love and admire here. This album is also a clear and compelling argument that there was worthy French piano music written after Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel. It’s a great way to open up some musical horizons while also putting a smile on your face. As far as doing justice to Poulenc goes, this album fully lives up to its title. John Terauds, MUSICAL TORONTO

Francis Poulenc (1899-1963), composer and pianist, was a man of many contradictions, perpetually vacillating between the sacred and profane. Paradoxically, this bipolar anxiety constitutes the very essence and charm of his music. His sometimes drastic stylistic mood swings are exemplified in Jalbert’s deeply affectionate performance of Poulenc’s Soirées de Nazellesthat opens this album, a lengthy work for solo piano consisting of a series of 11 musical portraits of personalities he encountered while on vacation in central France. The music of Erik Satie (1866-1925) is interspersed throughout this album in a compelling dialogue with Poulenc’s. Poulenc himself greatly enjoyed the company of Satie in that composer’s twilight years, finding him “marvellously funny” and a fertile source of musical and spiritual inspiration. In fact, Poulenc’s public debut composition, the Rapsodie nègre of 1917, is dedicated to him. Jalbert’s hypnotic performance of Satie’s austere Trois Gymnopédies is followed by Poulenc’s three unusually focused Mouvements perpétuels. Poulenc the magpie is here too, in the form of two Improvisations honouring Schubert and Edith Piaf. The subsequent selections of Satie’s Valses distiguées… and Je te veux invoke the spirit of the cabaret that Poulenc also expressed so well. Poulenc the miniaturist returns to centre stage in the final selection, a masterly rendition of the kaleidoscopic Nocturnes composed over the course of 1929-1938. In an age of knuckle-busting keyboard technicians fixated on a single era, composer or concerto it is a great pleasure to encounter an artist of Jalbert’s stature for whom the piano is simply a transcendent means of human expression. Daniel Foley, WHOLENOTE

Quelle belle idée que cet album alliant les œuvres d’Erik Satie et de Francis Poulenc! Il en va de ce programme comme d’une évidence.  Les univers de ces deux incontournables de la musique française se complètent à merveille et semblent issus du même berceau. Une joyeuse liberté, un éclectisme, une désinvolture, une ironie parfois mordante, mais aussi une certaine mélancolie et un sens inné de la mélodie imprègnent leur musique respective. (…) David Jalbert joue les œuvres de Poulenc et de Satie avec finesse et justesse, sans détour ni maniérisme. Son jeu est clair, franc, naturel, et sert magnifiquement cette musique qui apparaît ainsi dans toute sa lumière. Le pianiste québécois ajoute ici un autre beau jalon à sa discographie et se montre un admirable interprète de la musique française. Frédéric Trudel, ICI MUSIQUE

Bach: Goldberg Variations

J’ai été, et je reste, renversé !
Je garde ce sentiment que l’artiste a décidé de jouer son va-tout, de tout donner comme s’il jouait pour la dernière fois, de se rendre au bout de son talent et de réussir à la face du monde son rite de passage.
Pour jouer les Goldberg comme il les joue, il faut être un maître. Jalbert, pendant 76 minutes et 54 secondes, me démontre qu’il a tout compris : la rhétorique du discours, la finesse des ornements, la gestion des voix, les gradations dynamiques, la variété des attaques et la palette des couleurs… Je répète : tout y est. Honnêtement, quand je souhaiterai écouter ce total chef-d’œuvre, c’est cet enregistrement miraculeux que je sortirai. Il respire la santé et reflète la plénitude qu’atteint ici ce pianiste. À compter d’aujourd’hui, il faut ajouter le nom de David Jalbert au panthéon de nos grands interprètes. George Nicholson, L’ACTUALITÉ

At last, a Goldberg Variations I can recommend with unbridled enthusiasm. Such has not been the case for recent versions I’ve reviewed, two or three of which sorely disappointed. If you happen to be looking for a new piano version of the piece, this is it, practically guaranteed. Not only does David Jalbert observe repeats, but to each repeat he adds the most imaginative and bewitching embellishments I believe I’ve ever heard. Celebrated harpsichordist and period-practice scholar Ralph Kirkpatrick might raise an eyebrow to Jalbert’s decorations, but they are so infectious and breathe such enlivenment into the music that once you’ve heard them you’ll never want to hear the piece again without them. […] Jalbert’s approach to Bach’s iconic score strikes me as being one that’s informed by a most careful consideration and painstaking study of the work to thoroughly absorb its contents and style, after which a comprehensive knowledge of the piece enables the pianist to give rein to his own expressive freedoms. Only the most profound understanding of Bach’s mental processes in composing the Goldberg Variations permits the kind of liberties Jalbert takes with his embellishments, which is why they sound so perfectly of a piece with the music. Beyond the embellishments is a performance of the work so alive, dynamic, invigorating, and emotionally fulfilling that if played this way by Goldberg for his insomniac patron it would have been sure to aggravate the Count’s condition rather than cure it. This is one Goldberg Variations that won’t put you to sleep, rest assured. Very strongly recommended. FANFARE

Today, Ottawa-based pianist David Jalbert joins the Goldberg fray in a performance so clear-headed, so meticulously balanced, that it deserves as much attention as either of Gould’s recordings. To put it simply, Jalbert does not edit the music before it reaches our ears. Rather, he chooses his tempo and dynamics, then presents all the voices equally with both hands, granting our ears the freedom to freely explore something new with each variation. This achievement grows more impressive the more carefully you listen. TORONTO.COM

Jalbert’s Goldbergs are marked by intelligence, careful playing and a good sense of counterpoint and of the architecture of the work. He manages to project an individual view of the music without being especially eccentric, and the results are broadly satisfying. The Aria that bookends the variations is suitably lyrical and the famous 25th Variation, the black pearl as it’s sometimes called, has a deeply personal feeling that will move most listeners. A few of Jalbert’s interpretive decisions in phrasing and dynamics may jar a little at first, but they make more sense on repeated hearings… it would make an interesting addition to any collection. OTTAWA CITIZEN

What puts new CDs in the top echelon of Goldberg recordings? I believe it is the quality of tone, effortless technique, virtuosic control and command of the contrapuntal lines, orchestrating the piano and the indecipherable quotient of magic.David Jalbert on the ATMA label certainly has the virtuoso technique and articulation to be in the elite few. The opening Aria was beautifully shaded and his control of quick passagework in succeeding variations was crisp and articulate. I enjoyed his smooth lines which created an extremely musical flow in spite of the many embellishments and busy counterpoint. His playing was always controlled, yet incisive without being metronomic. His sensitivity to the tempi for each variation made for engaged listening. Jalbert’s tonal quality is not as warm and sweet as Dinnerstein’s or Perahia’s but his command and power at the keyboard is unquestionable. I found his trills to be remarkably even and precise. What makes this recording work for me is that Jalbert discovered the thread that links each variation and he made the performance a cohesive masterpiece.
I would love to hear Jalbert record the Goldberg many years from now. I was mesmerized by his recording now but what an amazing performance he will give in the years to come. We are so lucky to have an artist like David Jalbert in Canada. WHOLENOTE

Saluons ce travail monacal, exigeant, qui demande une compréhension totale de l’oeuvre ainsi qu’une exécution presque métronomique. Combinant une intonation assez souple à un langage poétique servie par une très bonne prise de son, David Jalbert gagne habilement ce pari risqué. LE JOURNAL DE MONTRÉAL

The polished pianism and serious musicianship characterizing David Jalbert’s recording of the Shostakovich Preludes and Fugues are also apparent throughout his performance of Bach’s Goldberg Variations. Observing all repeats save for those in the Aria da capo, Jalbert generally favors brisk yet not overly fast tempos, and well differentiated articulation that is never exaggerated (no smoldering legatos, no pinprick staccatos)… There’s much to admire in the singing directness that Jalbert brings to the minor-key variations, not to mention his unflagging rythmic solidity in movements involving crossed hands in lieu of the harpsichord’s double keyboard. What is more, Jalbert’s subtle shifts in voicing and dynamics do not draw attention to themselves, and wear well over the course of repeated hearings. If Jalbert’s interpretation does not project that spark of individuality distinguishing our reference versions, is achievement still ranks far and beyond many of his better known digital-era piano Goldberg competitors. Atma provides marvelous, naturally resonant, and tonally alluring sonics. CLASSICS TODAY

John Adams/Philip Glass

-Le pianiste David Jalbert poursuit son exploration du 20e siècle: après un remarquable Fauré et un Chostakovitch parfait, il nous propose cette “musique à arrêter le temps”. Accessible, apaisante, éminemment urbaine et planante, c’est une musique aussi changeante qu’un ciel d’automne. Elle exige de celui qui l’interprète de l’imagination, une palette de couleurs, une sensibilité à fleur de peau, en plus de doigts d’acier. Jalbert triomphe dans les trois œuvres: technique étincelante, lectures pénétrantes. À écouter à doses massives pour retrouver son équilibre. L’ACTUALITÉ

An imaginative interpretation can transform a score, and Canadian pianist David Jalbert’s performance of John Adams’s seminal works for solo piano from 1977 – China Gates and the much longer Phrygian Gates – does just that. Jalbert finds textures that both dazzle and beguile, teasing out recondite melodies, shaping phrases that counteract the machinery of pulse, and dramatizing Adams’s subversion of minimalism’s next-to-sacred neutrality. Beauty gets its due with a virtuosic precision of touch: The chords in the second movement of Phrygian Gates are as subtly voiced as anything we’d ask for in Debussy, and some of the patterning seems almost too detailed for one pair of hands. THE GLOBE AND MAIL

– These silken fingers lend a golden glow to the minimalist stylings of two living American greats. Jalbert magisterially holds aloft the larger arc of Adams’ 1977 creations, Phrygian Gates and China Gates, which weave a mesmerizing stream of sound from repeated note patterns. A special treat is Paul Barnes’ 2001 piano-suite adaptation of Glass’s 1991 chamber opera, Orphée. This is new music at its most accessible, and most elegantly interpreted. TORONTO STAR

-Jalbert captures the rippling magic of the score in a performance of unusual delicacy and flexibility. Phrygian Gates lasts about 25 minutes and is a more complex piece, covering a more varied emotional terrain, and Jalbert conveys its shifting moods and colors with sensitivity and nuance. Jalbert shows real feeling for Glass’ aesthetic and plays with intensity and supple passion. The music itself and the refinement of the performance should dispel any stereotypical notion of Glass as a motoric and mechanical composer and are evidence of how achingly expressive he can be. These expert performances should delight fans of the two composers and fans of new piano music. ALLMUSIC.COM

Shostakovich: 24 Preludes and Fugues opus 87

-La discographie était dominée par la créatrice du cycle, Tatiana Nikolaeva (chez Melodiya). Le jeune pianiste canadien David Jalbert en donne une interprétation de toute beauté, unifiée par un lyrisme d’une densité étonnante. Sans doute moins structurée que celle de Nikolaeva ou rythmique que celle d’Ashkenazy, cette version prend place au sommet de la discographie de ce chef d’œuvre du 20e siècle. D’une calme impression d’improvisation poétique aux terribles mouvements de toccatas, Jalbert fascine par son contrôle du clavier. 10/10. CRESCENDO (Belgique)

-On pourrait trouver téméraire l’initiative de David Jalbert, après les géants russes mentionnés. Bien sûr, il y a chez Nikolaïeva et ses collègues une couleur sonore inimitable. Et pourtant, l’écoute attentive, avec la partition, révèle chez Jalbert une préparation extrêmement soignée et une affection profonde pour cette musique tour à tour abstraite et séduisante, grave et humoristique. Dans chaque prélude, Jalbert crée un climat nouveau. Dans les fugues, son jeu retrouve toute la clarté polyphonique souhaitée. En fait, par l’attaque et la caractérisation du son, il dessine les différentes voix fuguées: trois ou quatre la plupart du temps, et jusqu’à cinq dans un cas. LA PRESSE

-Jalbert y est excellent. Mettant à profit la richesse de sa pianistique, il nous permet de profiter de l’œuvre, ainsi que d’une des plus belles caractéristiques de son talent: une virtuosité transparente. LE SOLEIL

-When a pianist has to face a monumental work such as the “Préludes & Fugues” from Dmitri Shostakovich, one has to show patience and perseverance, since this two and a half hour composition has to be executed (somewhat) forcefully. The young Canadian pianist David Jalbert (who is only 29 years old) assumes this task with delicacy and concentration. Bach’s influence is noticeable in every note and still Jalbert succeeds in captivating the listener’s attention with an interpretation of Shostakovich that lives up to the expectations and that can hardly be surpassed in ibeauty and depth. If we do have to abstain from various extremes in Jalbert’s recording, it is because his playing is so impressively straightforward and simple that, as mentioned before, he gets along without expending to much effort and energy, but is always on the lookout for hidden beauty. Here we have a clear demonstration that less is often much more and that the interpreter has to step back behind the work itself, so as to unlock its skilful magnificence. And this is precisely the case here. PIZZICATO (Luxembourg)

Fauré: Complete Nocturnes

-Jalbert, with his extremely beautiful sound and wonderful composure, is after the subtle expressivity of this music. Pure beauty… FONO FORUM, GERMANY

-After being held in a 76-minute thrall by young Quebec pianist David Jalbert’s latest disc, there don’t seem to be enough adjectives to describe the beauty of this experience. So far in his short and increasingly brilliant career, Jalbert has demonstrated a Midas touch with compositions of all styles and from all eras. Here, his sensitivity, intelligence, prodigious technique and easy, lyrical manner appear to have been made for polishing these little gems and bringing out the widest possible spectrum of colourful sonorities. This is not fluff. It’s the stuff of life and soul. Once you listen to this disc, recorded last summer at Port Nelson United Church in Burlington, you’ll want to keep it spinning in your player indefinitely. TORONTO STAR

Corigliano and Rzewski: Ballads and Fantasies

-Jalbert’s piano playing is remarkable for its sweep, confidence, sensitivity, power, and color, what more can we ask? FANFARE

-I was overwhelmed by Jalbert’s performance of these monumentally difficult works. Totally musical and personal, he is a young master. JOHN CORIGLIANO

-David Jalbert sets stall out with a confident if provocative coupling of two American composers. An impressive offering. GRAMOPHONE

J’ai été, et je reste, renversé !
Je garde ce sentiment que l’artiste a décidé de jouer son va-tout, de tout donner comme s’il jouait pour la dernière fois, de se rendre au bout de son talent et de réussir à la face du monde son rite de passage.
Pour jouer les Goldberg comme il les joue, il faut être un maître. Jalbert, pendant 76 minutes et 54 secondes, me démontre qu’il a tout compris : la rhétorique du discours, la finesse des ornements, la gestion des voix, les gradations dynamiques, la variété des attaques et la palette des couleurs… Je répète : tout y est. Honnêtement, quand je souhaiterai écouter ce total chef-d’œuvre, c’est cet enregistrement miraculeux que je sortirai. Il respire la santé et reflète la plénitude qu’atteint ici ce pianiste. À compter d’aujourd’hui, il faut ajouter le nom de David Jalbert au panthéon de nos grands interprètes. – George Nicholson, L’ACTUALITÉ

Today, Ottawa-based pianist David Jalbert joins the Goldberg fray in a performance so clear-headed, so meticulously balanced, that it deserves as much attention as either of Gould’s recordings. To put it simply, Jalbert does not edit the music before it reaches our ears. Rather, he chooses his tempo and dynamics, then presents all the voices equally with both hands, granting our ears the freedom to freely explore something new with each variation. This achievement grows more impressive the more carefully you listen. TORONTO.COM

Jalbert’s Goldbergs are marked by intelligence, careful playing and a good sense of counterpoint and of the architecture of the work. He manages to project an individual view of the music without being especially eccentric, and the results are broadly satisfying. The Aria that bookends the variations is suitably lyrical and the famous 25th Variation, the black pearl as it’s sometimes called, has a deeply personal feeling that will move most listeners. A few of Jalbert’s interpretive decisions in phrasing and dynamics may jar a little at first, but they make more sense on repeated hearings… it would make an interesting addition to any collection. OTTAWA CITIZEN

What puts new CDs in the top echelon of Goldberg recordings? I believe it is the quality of tone, effortless technique, virtuosic control and command of the contrapuntal lines, orchestrating the piano and the indecipherable quotient of magic.David Jalbert on the ATMA label certainly has the virtuoso technique and articulation to be in the elite few. The opening Aria was beautifully shaded and his control of quick passagework in succeeding variations was crisp and articulate. I enjoyed his smooth lines which created an extremely musical flow in spite of the many embellishments and busy counterpoint.His playing was always controlled, yet incisive without being metronomic. His sensitivity to the tempi for each variation made for engaged listening. Jalbert’s tonal quality is not as warm and sweet as Dinnerstein’s or Perahia’s but his command and power at the keyboard is unquestionable. I found his trills to be remarkably even and precise. What makes this recording work for me is that Jalbert discovered the thread that links each variation and he made the performance a cohesive masterpiece.
I would love to hear Jalbert record the Goldberg many years from now. I was mesmerized by his recording now but what an amazing performance he will give in the years to come. We are so lucky to have an artist like David Jalbert in Canada. WHOLENOTE

Saluons ce travail monacal, exigeant, qui demande une compréhension totale de l’oeuvre ainsi qu’une exécution presque métronomique. Combinant une intonation assez souple à un langage poétique servie par une très bonne prise de son, David Jalbert gagne habilement ce pari risqué. LE JOURNAL DE MONTRÉAL

The polished pianism and serious musicianship characterizing David Jalbert’s recording of the Shostakovich Preludes and Fugues are also apparent throughout his performance of Bach’s Goldberg Variations. Observing all repeats save for those in the Aria da capo, Jalbert generally favors brisk yet not overly fast tempos, and well differentiated articulation that is never exaggerated (no smoldering legatos, no pinprick staccatos)… There’s much to admire in the singing directness that Jalbert brings to the minor-key variations, not to mention his unflagging rythmic solidity in movements involving crossed hands in lieu of the harpsichord’s double keyboard. What is more, Jalbert’s subtle shifts in voicing and dynamics do not draw attention to themselves, and wear well over the course of repeated hearings. If Jalbert’s interpretation does not project that spark of individuality distinguishing our reference versions, is achievement still ranks far and beyond many of his better known digital-era piano Goldberg competitors. Atma provides marvelous, naturally resonant, and tonally alluring sonics. CLASSICS TODAY