...a superb, confident technician and an intelligent stylist, who doesn’t have to prove anything...Bowles organises the thorny polyphonic strands of Chopin’s Allegro maestoso in long-lined arcs that ebb and flow organically, and underscore the music’s harmonic density without contrivance...The final pages decompress gradually, with the bass notes carefully weighed and voiced. And no caution whatsoever on Bowles’s part concerning the peroration’s blistering right-hand octaves!
Here, Bowles treads on hallowed turf in two sonatas each with a vast discography, and triumphs...The Chopin B-Minor Sonata reveals Bowles’ unflagging sense of the lyric; cantabile is perfectly judged, yet textures never blur...This is a considered, intelligent reading: no impulsive sudden sprints forward and again, as in the Chopin, excitement is laudably generated via long-term vision. The slower inward passages find Bowles at his finest.
The Liszt sonata, here in three tracks, not only requires almost superhuman skills, but demands great concentration and careful attention to balance. All goes very well as Bowles keeps a tight reign, never pushing things over the top, yet not fearing to let his imagination supply the wonder this masterpiece requires. Nothing is overstated, yet Bowles holds the structure together with the skill of a true Lisztian. With plenty of bravura and much to thrill the listener, living on the edge keeps us emotionally engaged...Such a remarkable pianist! Outstanding!
His mature performance of Chopin’s sonata features a majestic first movement, a nervous Scherzo, a colorful Largo, and a jubilant Finale. Bowles builds phrases to thunderous climaxes, yet still manages to convincingly shape the entire work...Bowles’s timing and rubato are well planned. His interpretation surely evokes the emotions of Faust, Mephistopheles, and Gretchen: struggle, pain, sadness, joy, triumph, torment, fear, hope, and love. Bowles possesses the exceptional technical skills and colorful ingenuity demanded by both works.
Recorded: February 24 & 25, 2011Release date: May 1, 2017
"...a superb, confident technician and an intelligent stylist, who doesn’t have to prove anything..."GRAMOPHONE