“The brilliant passagework in the Chopin, keenly mastered by the soloist, Berenika, was crystal clear, glistening in fact. It was a very impressive, poised and stylish performance.”
Robert P. Commanday, The San Francisco Classical Voice
“Berenika, a rising talent boasting rock-solid technique and interpretive depth way beyond her 27 years…. Bent over the keyboard with her long, blond curls cascading down her back, Berenika used every muscle in her pliant fingers and shoulders to execute the fluid passages of this improvisational piece….After the beguiling introduction by the orchestra, the pianist took over the controls of the concerto, driving the first movement and bouncy finale with steely strength and propulsive pacing…Her gentle genius emerged full-blown in the slow movement, when she accented the work’s quiet filigree with understated elegance.”
Diane Peterson, The Press Democrat
First of all, what came through for me was the authoritative nature of this performance. Right from the entry of the piano in the first movement, this authority is clear: The entry runs by the piano as often played in a muffled sound by other pianists, are crystal clear here! And the listener immediately sits up and takes notice. There is also a fine orchestral accompaniment as led by Mr. Axelrod in a strong supportive role.
A similar authority came through for me in the first movement cadenza. I liked the diversity of dynamics here which made this well-known cadenza come across effectively.
The Largo (slow movement) opens with the piano alone, rather than with a long orchestral introduction that Beethoven wrote in the first movement. Here, Berenika set an appropriate, hushed and properly slow tempo. It seems to me that many pianists play this movement too fast; not so in this case. The mood of this movement is clearly somber, and it is up to pianist to create it from the very start. And so it is in this recording. Nicely done!
We are back to a rapid pace in the final movement, Rondo. Here, too, it is up to Berenika to set the stage, because the pianist starts things off immediately. Again that *authority* comes through, and makes the concluding movement so effective.
The Symphony #1 of Beethoven is the second Beethoven work on this CD. This is a fine addition to any music library.
Hank Zauderer, MyClassical Notes
It was like listening to the wings of an angel.Sometimes tranquil. Sometimes frenetic. Always beautifully elegant and serene. Berenika led off with Beethovan’s “Tempest”, performed works by Chopin,Schubert, Debussy, and added a bit of contemporary class as she mesmerized the audience with Philip Glass’s “Metamorphosis One”
Ted Waddell , The Catskill Chronicle
This evening it introduced the young… virtuoso Berenika… (pictured), a slight figure in a to-die-for strapless gown of champagne taffeta, with seemingly small hands and delicate fingers. We soon learnt why she won her first competition at three, entered the Julliard School at 13, has awards from Harvard and Tanglewood and is now an M.Phil scholar at Christ Church. That opening crescendo of eight chords was perfectly judged (conductor Marios Papadopoulos, himself no mean keyboard performer, regarding her with respectful awe) into its thunderous climax, and the delicate feathery cadenzas and arpeggios so characteristic of this composer were played with ease and dizzying speed.
Jeannine Alton, The Oxford Times
The musical soul, which takes many shapes and colours in the three movements of this great concerto, springs complete from Berenika’s hands. Berenika’s dazzling virtuosity enunciates in powerful chord structures and superb passage work to the fullest expression of the composer’s thematic material. The slow second movement reveals Berenika’s formidable ability to express the muted theme with pristine, simply stated beauty – the hallmark of the great pianist. …as the movement introduces another theme marked by a lyrical melancholy, which the soloist plays with the subdued passion one expects from an interpreter of Rachmaninoff. … In all three movements, Berenika is in complete control of soft legato melodies as well as the brilliance of powerful, rapidly moving scale passages, handling all with the great technique and strength anyone attempting the music of Rachmaninoff must possess.
Martha A. Fawbush, Asheville Citizen-Times
A sure and flawless technique, and in addition a notable demonstrative quality in her approach to works of great challenge such as this concerto. Her sound is clear, even in the most intricate and virtuosic passages.
Hector Coda, La Nacion, Buenos Aires
She exuded a natural performer’s charm and sense of self-enjoyment, which no amount of virtuosity can convey, and she had the right stuff in that area as well. Her interpretation had plenty of power and considerable grace.
Bill Rankin, Edmonton Journal
Berenika played like a woman possessed… The highlight of the evening was when she performed Liszt’s Fourth Hungarian Rhapsody. It was a bold attempt on her part, executed with confidence and sangfroid as her fingers glided over the keyboard with lightening speed and precision.
Simon Mol, The Warsaw Voice
The key to this work, of course, is passion, and she (Berenika) projected an air of confidence, intense concentration and an understanding of the need for keyboard contrast…Her best work came in the second movement, where se offered lucious legato and delicate control.
Geoff Chapman, Toronto Star
The blond and beautiful Berenika, her body enveloped in red, entered with a brisk pace…not withstanding that Berenika was like an arrow shot into the air and plays very fast, she has clarity, temperament and musicality
Eduardo Kusnir, El Nuevo Dia, Puerto Rico