Pianist Julius Drake has been praised by critics during a recent tour of North America. The acclaimed pianist performed dates across the United States and Canada with tenors Ian Bostridge and Christoph Prégardien, performing works by Franz Schubert.
Timothy H Lindeman (CVNC) was effusive with his praise for Julius’ after his recital with Ian Bostridge in Winston-Salem. He writes: “The pianist, Julius Drake, was amazing. He was with Bostridge every step of the journey, supporting one moment, edging him forward in another. His playing was as solid, shaded, imaginative, and supportive as I have ever heard. His soft playing perfectly matched the singer’s intonation. His vigorous keyboard work was note-perfect. But the colors that he coaxed from the piano really were beyond belief. His playing painted every scene with absolute perfection.”
Dave Richards of the Toronto Classical Review says, “Bostridge, in his second appearance at Koerner Hall, together with pianist Julius Drake created the intimate atmosphere for the large audience… He was one with pianist Julius Drake at every turn of phrase… Upon leaving after the second encore (The Trout), I wondered how many more encores there might have been. The audience was certainly ready to stay.”
Writing for the Chicago Tribune, John von Rhein writes, “Drake’s splendid way with the all-important piano parts made him no mere accompanist, but a fully engaged partner in musico-poetic illumination.”
John Y. Lawrence (Chicago Classical Review) writes: “At the piano was Julius Drake, perhaps the preeminent lieder accompanist working… Throughout the concert, Drake was unfailingly energetic in the more extroverted songs, and let soft chords linger in the air in the more introverted ones. But in “Im Frühling,” the textures in Schubert’s accompaniment shift subtly. Drake shaded all of these changes with taste and suppleness. Each was audible, but never obtrusive.”
Morgan Halvorsen writes, “All in all, and Drake displayed the level of skill that makes the difficult look easy, and the easy look effortless – a truly enjoyable thing to watch” (MD Theatre Guide).
And in the Washington Classical Review, critic Charles T Downey says: “Bolstered by Drake’s rollicking touch at the keyboard, Prégardien created a sense of tense excitement with precise diction and articulation… There was both drama, like the lightning and thunder crackling in Drake’s fingers in “Im Walde” (this time to a poem by Friedrich von Schlegel), and nocturnal stillness, as in a glacial “Nacht und Träume,” imbued with religious devotion.”