Press Quotes

On Donald Berman Playing Ives

"There's probably no finer introduction to Ives's songs, or indeed to his output as a whole."
—Andy Hamilton, "Wire" February 2009

"Berman is a first-rate pianist. . . . no one I have ever heard plays Ives better. . . . he has a polyphonic mind to go along with the polyphonic fingers, a springing sense of rhythm, a sense of humor and of awe at the wonder of things."
—Richard Dyer, Boston Globe

". . . Berman is a marvel. All of this music demands the highest virtuosity, as Ives was experimenting and challenging his own formidable technique. Kirkpatrick's last pupil, Berman plays Ives with both the clarity and power of Marc-Andre Hamelin and the delicacy and grace of Gilbert Kalish."
—James H. North, Fanfare Magazine

". . . duly humorous and engaging in the ragtime, but strong and resolute elsewhere, with luminous, neatly played chords that left no doubt as to why Ives needed to have so many notes in play"
—Paul Griffiths, New York Times

"Donald Berman is a superlative pianist, but as any number of attempts have shown, it takes more than technique to bring Ives alive. To my ears, Berman's Ives most resembles the playing of Ives himself . . . the same subtlety of voicing . . . the same power combined with delicacy . . . "
—Jan Swafford, author of Charles Ives: A Life with Music

"Bravo to Berman . . . for a great gift to American music."
—Robert Carl, Fanfare Magazine

"Ives's studies for piano constitute some of his thorniest music-crashing chords, polytonal and polyrhythmic carryings-on, thick blizzards of notes from which emerge pop tunes, bugle calls, church bells, and hymns. Berman looked on calmly while his hands, fingers, and feet went their separate ways, pricking out Ives's and other peoples' tunes from the melee."
—Susan Larson, Boston Globe

"His performance of Ives' Three Page Sonata was one of the best I've ever heard. The analytic detail belying this sound-tiered polytonal masterpiece's impression of rugged spontaneity is one of the crowning achievement of Ives' classical iconoclasm and a severe challenge to the pianist. In Berman's hands, it unfolded as if played on two or more pianos, the many worlds that seep into this unique musical space-time beautifully balanced in relief to one another."
—Michael Manning, Boston Globe

"The Take-Offs are Ives at his most experimental and astonishing, and Berman's negotiation of imposing technical and logical demands was highly impressive. . . . depth and quality revealed in a multiplicity of dimensions."
—Josiah Fisk, Boston Herald