This detailed selection of press extracts is updated regularly.

Below is Malcolm’s recent online interview with The Vancouver Recital Society’s Founder & Artistic Director, Leila Getz,”Beyond The Concert Hall: Malcolm Martineau


Winterreise in May? It’s less strange than it might initially seem. Our lonely wanderer begins his descent into the abyss by remembering how the month of May “favoured him”, bringing him flowers, a girl he loved, talk of marriage. Later, as he walks through a frozen landscape of sorrow in Schubert’s 24 songs, his heart broken, dreams of springtime happiness and possibility taunt him.

And we were there, walking alongside every snowy footprint left by Simon Keenlyside’s startlingly raw performance, one that flourished in the absolute trust between the baritone and his piano partner of decades, Malcolm Martineau. How else could they so brilliantly capture the stumbling rush of Rückblick, giving the illusion of the two parts becoming almost entirely untethered yet miraculously arriving exactly together. Or conjure so viscerally those violent gusts of wind, in which the piano swept up the vocal line in Die Wetterfahne?

Right from Gute Nacht, the song that opens the cycle with a farewell, Keenlyside embodied his unsettled protagonist, wringing his hands, reaching out to grip the piano and its lid, as if the instrument was all that left him connected to his sanity. In Die Krähe he looked upwards, as if truly seeing this circling symbol of death. Or was it a delusion? When he realised, in Der Wegweiser, that he must take a road of no return, the mood in the room felt instantly sombre and heavy.

This wasn’t always a comfortable listen, with Keenlyside’s voice sometimes displaying cracked edges and wayward pitch, but any Winterreise that doesn’t discomfort the listener has profoundly failed. Those glimpses of spring could have been sweeter, but the shades of despair, terror and existential pain were so deeply felt and directly conveyed that it didn’t matter. The cycle was made in the moment, the text communicated, with wonderful German diction, as if it really were spontaneous thought and feeling. The unbroken 80 minutes flew by.

This was as much Martineau’s triumph as Keenlyside’s, his assured fingers painting vivid pictures and instantly creating atmosphere, from galloping horses to rattling chains, soft breezes to raging storms. In Winterreise’s final stretches, it was the memory of music that haunted the wanderer: dance rhythms, chorale-like chords and, finally, the numb-fingered, barefoot organ-grinder, playing his bleak little song. The journey had ended, the retreat from love and life was complete.”

Rebecca Franks, The Times, 9th May 2023 – Schubert Recital, Wigmore Hall

“Malcolm Martineau est un accompagnateur extrêmement attentif au chanteur, faisant preuve d’une grande finesse dans son jeu et donnant l’impression de pouvoir interpréter avec maîtrise tous types de répertoires. Tantôt dans la précision absolue, l’économie de mouvement, la douceur et la souplesse, tantôt dans la puissance, la largeur et le rebondi. Les lignes mélodiques ressortent, il ne couvre jamais le chanteur et le spectre de ses nuances est très large, du plus piano au plus forte. La virtuosité ne semble lui poser aucun problème, que ce soit dans les mélodies de Liszt ou dans Erlkönig (Le Roi des Aulnes) au tempo absolument endiablé. Il semble comprendre la profondeur et la sensibilité de chaque répertoire et fait même montre d’humour dans sa façon malicieuse de jouer et de poser certaines notes, notamment sur la fin de S’il est un charmant gazon.”

Translation: “Malcolm Martineau is an extremely attentive accompanist to the singer, showing great finesse in his playing and giving the impression of being able to interpret with mastery all types of repertoires. Sometimes in absolute precision, economy of movement, softness and flexibility, sometimes in power, width and bounce. The melodic lines stand out, it never covers the singer and the spectrum of nuances is very wide, from the most piano to the strongest. The virtuosity does not seem to pose any problem for him, whether in the melodies of Liszt or in Erlkönig (the King of The Alders) with an absolutely frenzied tempo. He seems to understand the depth and sensitivity of each repertoire and even shows humour in his mischievous way of playing and setting certain notes, especially at the end of S’il est un charmant gazon.”

Timothé Bougon, Olyrix, 17th January 2023 – Recital with Pavol Breslik, Theatre du Capitole

…Together with the acclaimed Scottish accompanist, Malcolm Martineau, he dispatched a programme of 19th and early 20th century German and Austrian songs that took us everywhere from the Danube to Hades…As the piano accompaniment shimmered like the surface of a river on a calm summer’s day, with the lift of his voice Thomas managed to convey the exhilaration of watching “Alte Burgen ragen Himmerlan” (“Old castles soar heavenwards”)…Throughout, Martineau nicely offset the richness of Thomas’s voice with his meticulously measured accompaniment…Towards the end Martineau’s accompaniment soared, adding to the sense of pastoral freedom…

Rachel Halliburton, The Arts Desk, 14th December 2022 – Recital with William Thomas, Wigmore Hall

“It’s actually a deeply implausible scenario, but in this riveting performance from the Austrian baritone Florian Boesch and Scottish pianist Malcolm Martineau it became an all-too-believable portrayal of male anger leading to mental breakdown. The woman had spurned him, so he was now going take revenge on her universe, by spurning life and trudging stubbornly to his death…Martineau was as daring as Boesch in disrupting the even tread of Schubert’s rhythms, so as to screw truly expressionist levels of emotional intensity from the music…finally, as the journey reached it’s end…Boesch and Martineau achieved an unexpected and extraordinary other-worldly lightness…”
Ivan Hewett, Daily Telegraph, 24th November 2022 – Wintereisse with Florian Boesch, Wigmore Hall

…The colours and unorthodoxies in his piano writing, illuminated in every phrase and gesture by Martineau at the height of his powers, certainly equal those in his orchestras great or small…Tenor Nicky Spence’s immense vocal range in league with Martineau’s powerful austerity made this a totally moving experience…The beauty of the series as a whole was how deep each and every singer went in to each different world – Martineau’s guidance must have helped – so that there were no invidious companions between voice-types.

David Nice, The Arts Desk, 1st November 2022 – Song Cycle Concerts, Snape Maltings

“Le tocaba el turno esta vez a la muy joven (29) sueca Johanna Wallroth…que contó con la colaboración desde el piano del veterano, acreditado, conocedor e infalible Malcolm Martineau, capaz de adaptarse a cualquier solista y a cualquier repertorio….En el cierre se dejó ir morosamente arrullada por el piano exquisito de Martineau cerrando un concierto ameno…”

Translation: “This time it was the turn of the very young (29) Swedish Johanna Wallroth…who had the collaboration from the veteran, accredited, knowledgeable and infallible Malcolm Martineau, capable of adapting to any soloist and any repertoire…At the closing, she let herself go, morosely lulled by Martineau’s exquisite piano, closing a pleasant concert…”

Arturo Reverter, Scherzo, 24th August 2022 – Recital with Johanna Wallroth

“…Edinburgh-born pianist Malcolm Martineau was as compelling a presence, and very much an equal partner in Boesch’s futile wanderings, at times violent and percussive, at others nearly reaching silence and stasis. It was an extraordinarily intense, vividly characterised account, one it almost felt inappropriate to applaud, let alone contemplate a return outside to the festival madness.”

David Kettle, The Scotsman, 19th August 2022 – Winterreise, Edinburgh International Festival

“The concept of the series mixes singers from different generations – all of them British – which provides a vivid palette of colours for the superb pianist Malcolm Martineau to play with. Everybody has something different to offer and there are surprises aplenty…”

BBC Music Magazine, October 2021 – Faure Vol. 4

“The pianist Malcolm Martineau was excellent, bringing every pictorial element of the poems to life…”

Simon Thomson, The Times, 16th August 2021 – Edinburgh Festival

“…Her choice of pianist is astute: Martineau, whose solo spot in the exquisite postlude to Schumann’s much-recorded cycle Frauenliebe und Leben is as moving as anything on this fine disc.”

The Sunday Times, 10th January 2021 – Schumann; Brahms, Lieder with Elena Garanca

“Martineau, whose sole Edinburgh appearance this seems to be this year, was a wonderful counterpart to this, with his delicacy and poise, especially at the end of songs.”

Keith Bruce, The Herald, 14th August 2019 – Edinburgh International Festival

“…and Malcolm Martineau, her outstanding accompanist…Malcolm Martineau’s contribution to the recital’s success was outstanding. Having accompanied, for many years, some of the world’s greatest recitalists, the pianist has a marvelous ability to listen, to let the singers drive while trying to restrain their penchant for theatricality. At Carnegie Hall, Martineau’s hands were an extension of Netrebko’s voice”

Edward Sava-Segal, Bachtrack, 11th December 2018 – Anna Netrebko recital, Carnegie Hall

“Some of us would go so far as to say that it was the greatest performance of the work we have heard, both in terms of Florian Boesch’s incandescent singing and Malcolm Martineau’s audacious playing … Martineau’s playing of the delicate vorspiel to ‘Der Lindenbaum’ brilliantly evoked the gentle rustling of the lime tree’s leave… As for ‘Frühlingstraum,’ Boesch and Martineau were at their finest here, from the aching sweetness of ‘So wie sie wohl blühen im Mai’ to the powerful anger of the final line …”

Melanie Eskenazi, Music OMH, November 21st 2018 – Boesch / Martineau, Winterreise @ Muziekgebouw, Amsterdam
For the full review, please click here


“…He was supported in no small way by the magnificent — but never overstated — pianism of that master of collaborative piano, Malcolm Martineau. This recital won’t be easy to top in the rest of the WMCT season…”

Joseph So, Ludwig Van Toronto, 12th November 2018 – Recital with Thomas Oliemans, Toronto.


“…but this new version by Florian Boesch and Malcolm Martineau is inspired and quite unforgettable. It has total spontaneity, a superbly balanced, totally natural recording, with the pianist making a perfect partnership with the singer … while the pianist, Malcolm Martineau, is equally compelling as he begins ‘Wasserflut’ with great delicacy, matched by Boesch … Martineau perfectly captures the drone of the hurdy-gurdy, played here on a restrained half-tone to end a performance to which I shall return again and again. I cannot recommend this CD too highly.”

Ivan March, Gramophone, March 2018 – Schubert Winterreise CD review


“Martineau is a storyteller himself, giving each song it’s own innate sense of drama and purpose. In ‘Nachtstück’ it was as if voice and piano were intertwined like vines, like a soul that has known only suffering longs for peace. The piano was the last sound heard in both halves of the program — the extended postludes of ‘Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen’ and ‘Träume’ — transporting the audience into a realm of transcendent bliss”

Rick Perdian, seenandheard-international, 18th February 2018 – Dorothea Röschmann, Lieder, Carnegie Hall, New York


“The familiar “Kennst du das Land” was magnificent in every way,
expressive of the poem’s varying moods, with delicious lower notes and the words so clear and finely-coloured; and Mr. Martineau here was divine… Mr. Martineau beautifully sustained the poetry with his transportive playing of the postlude.”

Oberon’s Grove, 14 February 2018


“The fluttering notes in the breathless “Dahin” sections of “Kennst du das Land” were a particular highlight from Martineau at the piano, as were the endless gradations of soft sound in the introduction to the standalone song “Nachtstück.”

Charles T. Downey, Washington Classical Review, 9 February 2018 – Recital, Dorothea Röschmann


“…All of which Martineau is well acquainted with, and matches with unflappable sensitivity to the wide variation in volume and tone, as well as range of notes, that Keenlyside brings to his colourful programme.”

Keith Bruce, Herald Scotland, 26th January 2018 – Simon Keenlyside, Royal Conservatoire


“… with Martineau, as always, the most observant of partners. In the Mahler Ruckert-Lieder that followed – a distinctly different dramatic approach seemingly agreed in their minute off-stage – the poise in his playing, and in the transition between songs, was the perfect accompaniment to her incredible instrument and her remarkable fluctuation in dynamics between syllables of the same word … the sophistication of the relationship between singer and accompanist seemed further enhanced. Martineau clearly led the dramatic narrative in the pause before the last of the Schumann songs and the partnership in the settings of Mathilde Wesendonck is, being Wagner, simply of its own world.”

Keith Bruce, Herald Scotland, 17th January 2018 – Dorothea Roschmann, Royal Conservatoire


“All singers are supported by Malcolm Martineau’s delicate handling of the piano textures”

BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2017 – Faure


Florian Boesch’s flexible and rich-grained baritone blends with the colourful support of Malcolm Martineau at the piano to offer splendidly characterised account of the Schumann”

BBC Music Magazine, 2017 – Schumann & Mahler: Lieder


“This is a first-rate album that every lover of classical song should own.
Pianist Malcolm Martineau, who pushed for these songs to be recorded, is consistently excellent from start to finish, supporting his singers brilliantly and bringing out the flavour of the music with tasteful dynamics and phrasing.”

Review for Fanny Mendelsshon CD, Champs Hill Recordings 2017


“…Terfel sang a selection of water-themed Schubert songs with consummate ease, his lilting ­melodies floating over Martineau’s quicksilver piano accompaniment.”

Susan Nickalls, The Scotsman, 11 August 2017


“…Pianist Malcolm Martineau is superb, technically immaculate and consistently imaginative.”

George Hall, BBC Music Magazine, June 2017 – Decades, A Century of Song, Vol.2


“In the second volume of his series, Decades: A Century of Song, pianist Malcolm Martineau throws a spotlight on a cross-section of songs from the years 1820-30…Martineau’s empathetic pianism is the steadying omnipresence.”

Fiona Shepherd. The Scotsman, May 2017 – Decades; A Century of Song Vivat 114


“…The recital’s overall success was at least half due to pianist Malcolm Martineau, whose exquisite handling of each song’s postlude made you wish for an instant encore…”

David Stearns,, October 2016 – Magdalena Kožená recital


“…the communication between him [Florian Boesch] and pianist Malcolm Martineau – absolutely on peak form here – could not have been more immediately obvious in the rhythms, pauses and dynamics. The animation they both later brought to Impatience was another revelation: Boesch and Martineau are quite simply the people you want to hear perform this work…”

Keith Bruce, Herald Scotland, August 2016 – Festival Music


“The last word here, though, belongs to Malcolm Martineau. Make that five words: collaborative, sensitive, virtuosic, insightful, indefatigable. Fauré makes insistent use of arpeggios in his accompaniments, but has anyone made these sing more eloquently? The pianist’s fingers dance across ‘Le papillon et la fleur’ as though it were one of Satie’s cabaret songs; they ripple gently beneath ‘Rencontre’, heat up the febrile clusters of ‘Toujours!’ and find reams of expression in the pared-back writing of Le Jardin clos. Martineau is a pure and faithful interpreter of Fauré, and Signum’s secret weapon.”

Mark Valencia, Classical Source, August 2016 – The Complete Songs of Fauré, Volume 1 CD


Malcolm Martineau, number one pianist of choice for so many singers, follows his Poulenc series for Signum with another survey of a French composer’s songs. Fauré’s music here benefits from his light but purposeful touch and mercurial responsiveness to the words of his singers… Martineau is in his element throughout, guiding the songs unerringly and keeping sensuality and simplicity in balance.”

Erica Jeal, The Guardian, July 2016 – The Complete Songs of Faure, Volume 1 CD


“Happy constants are Malcolm Martineau, unsurprisingly a congenial pianist for this repertoire, and the warm, ideally balanced recording…And there’s always Martineau: commanding, illuminating and aristocratic.”

Mark Valencia, July 2016 – Songs by Reger CD


“…Martineau’s playing is consistently beautiful…”

Tim Ashley – 17th June 2016 – Songs by Reger CD


“Martineau, as one might expect is stylish and elegant throughout: he’s at his most eloquent in Les prières, the modal harmonies of which owe much to Debussy’s Le martyre de Saint Sébastien (which Caplet partly orchestrated), and wonderfully persuasiave in the Boulanger cycle, where the complex piano-writing continuously hints at emotions lurking vaguely formed and half-hidden beneath vocal line and text.”

Tim Ashley, Gramophone – 16th June 2016 – Paradis sur terre CD


“The light, textured baritone of Florian Boesch… flawlessly accompanied by Malcolm Martineau… Undoubted successes are Boesch’s hearty Fischerweise (Martineau’s pianism particularly brilliant here)”

George Hall, BBC Music Magazine – August 2016 – Schubert CD review


“Malcolm Martineau, number one pianist of choice for so many singers… Fauré’s music here benefits from his light but purposeful touch and mercurial responsiveness to the words of his singers…Martineau is in his element throughout, guiding the songs unerringly and keeping sensuality and simplicity in balance.”

Erica Jeal, The Guardian – Thursday 7th July 2016 – Complete Songs of Fauré, Vol 1 CD review


“I had heard pianist Malcolm Martineau at Carnegie Hall years ago, playing for the great Susan Graham. He is an A-list collaborative pianist, it doesn’t get any better. He plays with fervor, with heartache, and he was most delightful when he rippled and splashed. He was always supportive of Netrebko, both of them consistently on the same page in what they were doing. He had a longish postlude in the last Tchaikovsky song, which had me thinking, “Wow, what gorgeous playing”, but instead, “Wow, what gorgeous music.” That is the mark of a true artist.”

Chris, divamensch – 29th February 2016 – Anna Netrebko Recital Debut


“The performance was a true partnership between Netrebko and pianist Malcolm Martineau. On her recital album In the Still of the Night, she sings much of the same Rimsky-Korsakov and Tchaikovsky songs, but is weighed down by Daniel Barenboim’s lugubrious accompaniment. Martineau, on the other hand, played with a silvery agility all afternoon. He responded to Netrebko with exciting immediacy and offered ideas back to her in a stimulating collaboration.”

George Grella, New York Classical Review, 29th February 2016 – Anna Netrebko Recital Debut

“Mr. Martineau played beautifully throughout the program, bringing refinement yet appropriate fervor to the music.

Anthony Tommasini, New York Times, February 2016 – Anna Netrebko Recital Debut

“There is no doubt that there is an extraordinary chemistry at work here. Both are great musicians prepared to take risks. They relish daring Thelonius Monk-like changes of tempo, significant pauses and pushing the poetic line to its limits, but always with taste and a reverence for their material. This all makes for edge-of-the-seat stuff in live performance…The audience were given so many vocal and pianistic highlights. In the first recital you could feel the millstones turning in Martineau’s bass notes of Das Wandern (Wandering)…But more than all of this we got to see arguably the most compelling and electrifying double act on today’s lieder circuit.”

Steve Moffatt, Limelight Magazine, June 2015 – Florian Boesch, Utzon Music Series


“In Mozart’s ravishing Ch’io scordi mi te, Karg complements the delicate tones of Malcolm Martineau’s fortepiano in an unusually intimate performance…”

Richard Wigmore, Gramophone, July 2015 – Scene! Christiane Karg, Arcangelo

“Röschmann’s pianist, Martineau, is exceptional — almost the most beautiful passage on the disc is the postlude to Morgen. Astonishingly, this is the singer’s first disc of Lieder since her 2002 joint Schumann album with Ian Bostridge. Now she is at the height of her powers, vocally. Her rich, silver-flecked soprano brings a rare expressive and passionate intensity to Schubert’s famed Gretchen am Spinnrade and to Wolf’s Mignon singing Kennst Du das Land? (Do you know the land where the lemon-tree blossoms?)”

Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times, 25th January 2015 – Portraits: Dorothea Röschmann


“Martineau’s playing could hardly be bettered.”

Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times, November 2014 – Schubert: Schwanengesang, Florian Boesch


“Armed with the sensitive Malcolm Martineau as his accompanist…”

Geoff Brown, The Times, November 2014 – No Exceptions No Exemptions, Robin Tritschler


“Garanča, accompanied everywhere with huge flair and sensitivity by Malcolm Martineau, found a fierce sensuousness within her mezzo — though in Leises Lied and All mein’ Gedanken a new translucency and weightlessness too.”

Hilary Finch, The Times, October 2014 – Recital with Elina Garanca


“Yet there was never really any doubt that Allen’s art, beautifully supported by pianist Malcolm Martineau, would in the end conquer nature…Allen’s wit and pointedness, as well as his sheer stage presence, came to the fore in Ravel’s richly quirky animal settings, Histoires Naturelles, with Martineau again excellent in the lustrous piano part.”

Martin Kettle, The Guardian, September 2014 – recital with Sir Thomas Allen


“The enraptured unfurling of sound in Malcolm Martineau’s piano introduction creates dappled light for Christiane Karg’s long, warm-breathed phrasing in Das Rosenband, a radiant start to this recital….Karg’s Ophelia Songs are moving in their bleached, waif-like tones, their distracted volatility nicely recreated in the fingers of Martineau.”

Hilary Finch, BBC Music Magazine, August 2014


“This is a great disc from a wonderful singer, but is the greater for the exquisitely-sensitive pianism of Malcolm Martineau, whose dynamic shading and heart-stopping timing lie at the core of these magical performances and re-define the words “accompaniment” and “collaboration””

Michael Tumelty, Herald Scotland – Secret Invitation, Berlin Classics. July 2014


“After the interval came four ravishingly coloured Strauss songs, with Morgen’s “speechless silence of bliss” exquisitely rendered by Malcolm Martineau in the postlude. Then came Hugo Wolf’s Mignon lieder, the waves emanating from Martineau’s piano alternately battering and lapping gently against the melody’s dolorous contours in Kennst du das Land… Röschmann’s gorgeously tempered soprano can fill the Wigmore Hall with ease…But it was the consummate artistry of both singer and pianist that made this recital such joy, and pain, to behold.”

Guy Damman, The Guardian, 11th June 2014


“…and in this fourth volume his piano-playing continues to lend a keen and characterful edge to the various musical pictures that Poulenc creates… The rhythmic teases of the Poèmes de Ronsard are cunningly negotiated by Martineau…”

Geoffrey Norris, Gramophone, February 2014 – The Complete Songs of Poulenc: Vol 4


“Martineau’s understated virtuosity was most obvious in the Wolf songs that opened the second half, their multiple ambiguities conveyed by both performers without any hint of preciousness or emotional artifice. There was superb pianism, too, in the Schubert and especially Brahms sequences, in which Keenlyside’s concern with searching out meanings that other singers overlook was perfectly matched by insights from his keyboard partner.”

George Hall, The Guardian, 19th December 2013 – Recital with Simon Keenlyside, Barbican Centre


“Most important, he sings the poetry as if every word matters, whether in English or German, and with Malcolm Martineau as the subtlest of accompanists, there was plenty of light and shade among the prevailing gloom.”

Richard Fairman, Financial Times, 19th December 2013 – Recital with Simon Keenlyside, Barbican Centre


“…Martineau give[s] equally affecting performances while communicating a real ink-still-wet-on-the-page vitality.”

Robert Levett, International Record Review, May 2013 – As You Like It, Nicky Spence; Resonus


“…an exceptionally vivid and dramatic account of the cycle, full of fierce anger and tenderness.”

David Cairns, The Sunday Times – Florian Boesch’s Die schone Mullerin, 24th November 2013


“Soprano Syvlia Schwartz’s reputation as a rising star is confirmed by her Hyperion debut album, a programme of songs from her native Spain, finely accompanied by Malcolm Martineau.”

Tim Ashley, The Guardian – Canciones Espanolas – Sylvia Schwartz/Hyperion Recordings, 7th February 2013


“The mixture is perfect for this programme of Spanish songs, some barely a minute long, all beautifully characterised by the soprano and her accompanist Malcolm Martineau.”

Anna Picard, The Independent, 3rd March 2013


“Schwartz shows a wonderful voice, warm responsiveness to the texts and perfectly idiomatic Spanish…Martineau is, as ever, the perfect collaborator.”

Classical Music Magazine, April 2013


“Accompanied with panache by Malcolm Martineau…a judicious mix of not-too-brash bravado and playful sensuality makes this performance just the ticket.”

Richard Fairman, Gramophone – Lieder for the turn of a century, Champs Hill Records, March 2013


“Virgins, Vixens and Viragos, Onyx Abetted by Malcolm Martineau’s richly coloured playing … Graham and Martineau catch the sensuality of the opening song without traducing the composer’s request for simplicity, and perfectly judge the mix of aristocratic refinement and Monmartre cabaret langour on ‘Violin’. ‘Il vole’ (the fiendish keyboard part brilliantly despatched by Martineau).”

Richard Wigmore, Gramophone, March 2013


“Along with the great Scottish pianist Malcolm Martineau, who remains one of the most brilliant recital accompanists in the world today…”

Georgia Rowe, San Francisco Classical Voice – Recital, Christopher Maltman / San Francisco, 19th January 2012


“Secondly, I was entranced by the dynamic between the singer and pianist. For two hours they carried on a flowing conversation with one another without exchanging a single word. Music was the language they spoke and every note danced.”

Chloe Veltman,, 20th January 2012


“… Malcolm Martineau, who again was a tremendous asset to the singer.”

abeatinajungle.blogspot, 20th January 2012


“Malcolm Martineau’s pianism is, as you would expect, an essential and impeccable component.”

Piers Burton-Page, International Record Review – Songs of War – Simon Keenlyside / Sony, January 2012


“The great baritone has chosen 29 songs in some way connected with war. Keenlyside includes all the George Butterworth Shropshire Lad songs. His singing of Vaughan Williams’ The Infinite Shingin Heavens and Gurney’s In Flanders is beyond praise for its emotional restraint. Finzi’s Fear No More the Heat o’the Sun is another tour de force of incomparable singing. Malcolm Martineau offers supreme piano accompaniment throughout.”

Michael Kennedy, The Sunday Telegraph – 5* review, 11th December 2011


“The British baritone brings youthful vigour and vocal glamour to a moving recital, charting the lives and deaths of young men in songs by Vaughan Williams, George Butterworth, Ivor Gurney, Gerald Finzi and Kurt Weill.”

The Sunday Times – Top Classical Albums of the year – No.2, 11th December 2011


“A sober, intelligent CD, beautifully sung, immaculately accompanied.”

Graham Rickson, The Arts Desk, 26th November 2011


“… movingly sung by Keenlyside, with Martineau wringing out the last drop of pathos in the tear-laden piano postlude. Keenlyside is incomparable here, in one of the song records of the year.”

Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times, 13th November 2011


“… Simon Keenlyside and Malcolm Martineau do not limit themselves to England’s whimsical finest, finding room for astringent examples from Ned Rorem and Jurt Weill as well. It’s a beautifully judged recording, exquisitely sung; poignant but never sentimental.”

Stephen Pritchard, The Observer, 13th November 2011


“Malcolm Martineau is an absolute equal partner, a sorrowing, desolate, angry participant at every moment in the cycle.”

David Cairns, The Sunday Times – Schubert: Winterreise – Onyx, 19th February 2012


“Perhaps the distinguishing feature of this version is the accompaniment of Malcolm Martineau, who contrives to bring some new insights to every single song, without ever sounding mannered. He takes great care with rests, often exploring extremes of dynamics, and creates the mood of each song with the first notes or chords.”

Michael Tanner, BBC Music Magazine, December 2011


“The hallucinatory quality of his interpretation is matched by a corresponding vividness in Martineau’s playing, which uncompromisingly suggests the corrosive impact of the comfortless winter landscape on the protagonist’s mind. It makes for very difficult listening, but is unquestionably superb.”

Tim Ashley, The Guardian, 11th November 2011


“Classical CD of the week – A second volume spread over two CDs completes Malcolm Martineau’s magnificent project to record all Britten’s original songs for voice and piano, recorded in the Hoffmann Building at the Snape Maltings using the cream of today’s young singers.”

Rupert Christiansen, The Saturday Telegraph – Britten: Songs Vol. 2 – Onyx, 5th November 2011


“Martineau, too, was wonderful. In St. Anthony’s sermon, after Keenlyside sang (in translation), “No sermon ever pleased the carp so,” Martineau transformed his playing into a veritable waterfall of cascading notes. Further on in the long song, he varied his playing by indulging in copious rubato between verses…it made for a superb performance.”

Jason Victor Serinus, San Francisco Classical Voice – Recital, Simon Keenlyside, San Francisco, 27th October 2011


“Malcolm Martineau’s accompaniments are immensely subtle, detailed and full of character. His role in the success of this recital is immeasurable. All the sung words are provided and the recording is faultless. In short, this is a most beautiful recital of English song. I feel sure it will do for a young collector what Janet Baker’s did for me so many years ago, and praise doesn’t come higher than that. A gorgeous recital of English song that should, in a just world, become a classic.”

William Hedley, Musicweb International – My true love hath my heart, Sarah Connolly / Chandos, December 2011


“As well as enjoying Sarah Connolly’s singing, this song is one of many opportunities on the disc to savour the excellent pianism of Malcolm Martineau… An outstanding recital of English song.”

John Quinn, Musicweb International, November 2011


“… Sarah Connolly and Malcolm Martineau give this little known work an irresistible outing.”

BBC Music Magazine – 4* review, 2011


“Malcolm Martineau’s accompaniment is exemplary in its sensitivity.”

Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, 27th October 2011


“Does Malcolm Martineau ever have anything like an off night? Solid as a rock, always and unobtrusively artful, this most practised of piano accompanists was for me the hero of last night’s Usher Hall recital…”

Kate Molleson, The Herald – Edinburgh International Festival – with Simon Keenlyside, 20th August 2011


“Excellent technique was also in evidence for the altogether more muscular settings of Strauss, more creamy tone matching the complex melodic language of the piano, brilliantly played by Malcolm Martineau… Malcolm also seemed to relish the fun of these accompaniments while summoning playing of incredible beauty for the descending thirds of Nuit d’étoiles. A superb recital from an extraordinary pairing.”

Simon Thompson,, 22nd August 2011


“… all the finesse that he could ever want from Martineau on piano… It is Keenlyside and Martineau’s ability to penetrate the poetry, however, that packs thier most powerful punch. In Strauss’s six settings of poems all about love and the love of nature, the rich, long lines brought thought=through emotions, whether happiness, anguish or general rapture, all gaining enormously from the duo’s ever-balanced teamwork.”

Carol Main, The Scotsman, 22nd August 2011


“The first volume of Britten’s complete original songs for voice and piano introduces a series devised, cast and beautifully accompanied by Malcolm Martineau. It’s likely to become a valuable documentary survey … [an] auspicious first volume.”

Hilary Finch, BBC Music Magazine – Britten: Songs Vol.1 – Onyx, 1st June 2011


“Malcolm Martineau … [was a] delicious pianist throughout. Both [he] and the minutely prepared singers revealed the sheer wonder and variety of setting and response within those three oom-pom beats.”

Hilary Finch, The Times – “Brahms; Libeslieder Waltzer, Wigmore Hall, 1st June 2011


“This splendid two-disc set covers fours of Britten’s greatest cycles plus the Cabaret Songs and some early unpublished items…Malcolm Martineau has a Britten-like authority at the piano.”

Michael Kennedy, The Sunday Telegraph – The Complete Songs of Francis Poulenc, Signum Classics, 29th May 2011


“For this first volume of Britten’s collected songs, Martineau has gathered a gratifyingly formidable array of young British singing talent…”

Stephen Pettitt, The Sunday Times, 29th May 2011


“… the whole thing is unified by Malcolm Martineau’s superbly characterized piano accompaniments… “

Nigel Simeone, International Record Review, May 2011


“Six top singers combine on Signum’s first volume of Poulenc songs, which includes settings of poems by Ronsard, Cocteau, Apollinaire and others. Poulenc’s singular mix of whimsy, religiosity and cool wit guarantees plenty of variety, and each song has a characteristically elaborate, note-rich piano part. Malcolm Martineau accompanies with judicious, sharp-eared facility and experience.”

Fiona Maddocks, The Observer, 3rd April 2011


“… with Malcolm Martineau as the ever-immaculate accompanist…”

Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 17th March 2011


“No longer is it appropriate to put the accompanist’s name at the bottom of the listing; Martineau is one of our finest ‘song pianists’, as regular visitors to Wigmore Hall know well. He supports each singer and was doubtless closely involved in developing their interpretations of this oeuvre… Recorded balance is exemplary…Excellent presentation with clear texts and parallel English translations, of course. Recommended without reservation and, as they say, the further volumes are eagerly awaited.”

Peter Grahame Woolf,, 28th February 2011


“She is superbly accompanied on the piano by Malcolm Martineau – one of the world’s most esteemed and respected accompanists. He is tender and expressive and has a knack for creating just the right mood for each song…”

Presto Classical – Kate Royal ‘A Lesson In Love’, EMI, 14th February 2011


“Besides Kirchschlager’s exemplary performances I was left wondering whether pianist Malcolm Martineau is capable of having an off-day. I could never say for certain, of course, but based on his superb performances in the first three recitals in the Decade by Decade series I would be inclined to think not.”

Sam Smith, – Recital with Angelika Kirchschlager, Wigmore Hall (Decades), 9th November 2010


“Pianist Malcolm Martineau, who is overseeing the Decade by Decade series, was also on top form. It took rare skill in the Schulze poems to keep ‘Im Frühling’ on just the right side of sentimentality, and to give appropriate gravitas to the more exuberant ‘Auf der Brücke’… with Maltman and Martineau performing at this level, they could have continued for hours and still left the audience wanting more.”

Sam Smith, – Recital with Christopher Maltman – Wigmore Hall (Decades), 4th November 2010


“… persuasively accompanied by Martineau … Martineau’s playing matched him gesture for gesture.”

George Hall, The Guardian, 5th November 2010


“Malcolm Martineau’s piano playing here was outstandingly eloquent, stage-managing the emotional drama of a lover’s dawn song, or a huntsman’s heartsick soul-storm. Martineau it was who rocked the cradle in the ambivalent and bittersweet lullaby of Brahms’s Nachtwandler, one of 11 songs in which Keenlyside powerfully balanced expansive ardour with innermost fear.”

Hilary Finch, The Times – Recital with Simon Keenlyside, Wigmore Hall, 27th January 2010


“It was during the Hugo Wolf setting of Mörike’s ‘An eine Äolsharfe’ (‘To an Aeolian Harp’) in this marvellous Simon Keenlyside/Malcolm Martineau recital, that it became clear that the ever-delicate art of lieder singing had hit some kind of high, not just for this evening but for the craft in general. It really doesn’t get a whole lot better.

As Martineau’s seraphic strumming established the mystery and fragrance of that song, and Keenlyside slipped effortlessly from one ravishing head-voice ascent to the next, a sound so honeyed and so enticing that whilst listening to it, you can’t imagine that there is a lovelier lyric baritone on the planet, we edged as close to perfection as is reasonable to expect. The last three notes of Martineau’s postlude were as exquisitely placed as they were expectant. The atmosphere in the hall was transfixing.

And that was just one song. This is a partnership which one feels has aged and marinated to the point where it is now fully ready to savour. In the opening group of Schubert songs the intimacy of the playing and singing was a constant source of pleasure, Martineau’s deft touch seamlessly connected to the elegance of Keenlyside’s articulation in those characteristically graceful Schubertian turns. The very last line of ‘An den Mond in einer Herbstnacht’ – ‘I will no longer be remembered on this fair earth’ – found consonance on a cadence that seemed to be the invention of Keenlyside himself, so naturally and unassumingly did he arrive there.

This is a voice of many colours but more importantly a voice where the lyric and dramatic elements are held in such perfect balance. I’ve described the sweetness, the sheer beauty of his elegant mezza voce, but there is a darker trenchancy too, and that chimed well with vivid imagery of Wolf’s bracing, wind-swept, word setting and the lustfulness of a song like ‘Der Jäger’ (‘The Huntsman’).

It was fascinating to hear in such close proximity the Wolf and Brahms setting of ‘To an Aeolian Harp’ – the former rejoicing in rapt vocal effects, the latter achieving its rapture through aspirational melody and harmony. Brahms’ grateful vocal lines rolled out, so free and refulgent, while Martineau’s weighting and placing of chords brought many tiny revelations. Is there a stranger or more haunting lullaby than ‘Nachtwandler’ (‘Sleepwalker’)? Or a more startling premonition of Mahler than ‘Von ewiger Liebe’ (‘Eternal Love’)? Just two of the questions this terrific recital asked and answered.”

Edward Seckerson, The Independent, 23rd January 2010


“After a period of prodigious creativity, Rossini wrote no music for 20 years, then when he was in his sixties, he produced a large number of ‘Sins of Old Age’, mainly for piano solo or for singers with piano accompaniment.

This CD presents a fair selection of them, with extremely helpful notes by Richard Osborne and full texts. Excellently performed by a team of first-rate soloists, with Malcolm Martineau, for me the best accompanist in the world, offering his usual expert support, and leading off with a solo.

The songs cover a wide range of topics, some of them, as one expects, witty parodies, but others deadly serious, such as a prayer to God by a mother to spare her dying son and take her instead.

There’s a strange ‘Song of the Titans’ for chorus, harmonium and piano, a ferocious piece. Yet despite the variety of texts and subtexts, many of these pieces sound oddly similar, and all told it is the idea that lies behind them, rather than the pieces themselves, that excites the interest.

They are neglected pieces, but one only has to listen through to this disc to see why, and to suspect that the performers were enjoying themselves more making the disc than one does listening to it.”

Michael Tanner, BBC Music Magazine – Rossini Songs – Il Salotto, Volume 13, Opera Rara


“Schade has a superb musical collaborator in Malcolm Martineau, his accompanist. From the delicate placing of the last two notes of the opening song, we knew we were in for a treat equal to the vocal feast. Martineau matched Schade in grace, wit, dynamics, and colour; made the piano sounds like a lute; and poured out a torrent of notes for Der Musensohn, ending the first half of the programme on a lovely, crashing chord.”

Anna Carol Dudley, San Francisco Classical Voice – Recital with Michael Schade – CAL performances, 18th October 2009


“Musical communication was further enhanced by the brilliance and sensitivity of Malcolm Martineau’s participation – each and every note had meaning and support for Ms. Graham’s musical vision.”

Robin McKee Williams, Peninsula Reviews – Recital with Susan Graham at Sunset Center in Carmel, 30th November 2009


“Martineau’s command of this repertoire is second to none and his unfussy playing throughout this long and gruelling programme was perfectly placed. But to judge from his young singers, his qualities as a teacher may yet equal his more celebrated gifts as an accompanist.”

Guy Dammann, The Guardian – Aldeburgh at Kings Place, 16th November 2009


“Two masters of their art come together in this exquisite Lieder disc of Brahms and Schumann. That could, of course, refer to the composers themselves.

The Brahms songs here are gripping examples of the Romantic genre; Schumann’s Dichterliebe cycle – consummate, soul-searching settings of Heinrich Heine – is no less satisfying.

But the true masters here are baritone Simon Keenlyside and pianist Malcolm Martineau, a performing due of supreme eloquence.

Keenlyside imbues each song with an uncannily rich clarity, combining emotive passion with stylish delicacy. He knits the Schumann, despite the brevity of many of its numbers, with arresting cohesion. Martineau’s inimitable pianism is authoritative and characterful, supportive, of every subtle nuance explored by the singer. Pure genius.”

The Scotsman – Brahms: Lieder/Schumann: Dichterliebe (Sony Classical), 19th October 2009


“Having an accompanist as perceptive and exquisitely musical as Malcolm Martineau is a big asset too. These are lieder performance of a very high order indeed.”

Andrew Clements, The Guardian – Recording with Florian Boesch – Schumann Heine Lieder, Onyx, 1 May 2009


“Boesch’s art [is] set in the best possible light by the exquisite playing of his pianist, Martineau.”

Stephen Pettit, Sunday Times, 3 May 2009


“Boesch [is] partnered by Malcolm Martineau’s sensitive pianism.”

Norman Lebrecht, Evening Standard, 8th April 2009


“These singers were privileged indeed. They were working in partnership with one of today’s most sympathetic and experienced accompanists, Malcolm Martineau. He conjured an atmosphere calculated to suit each vocalist as well as the mood of each piece, his piano textures at times suggesting an entire orchestra.”

Lynne Walker, The Independent – Aldeburgh Festival residency recitals, 22 June 2009


“Malcolm Martineau’s super-refined and spirited piano-playing is an especial joy of a fabulous disc — one of the song records of the year.”

Hugh Canning, Sunday Times – Recording with Magdalena Kozena – Songs my mother taught me, Deutsche Grammophon, October 19, 2008


“Martineau’s precision is displayed to good effect in the intricate figures of Lalo’s ‘Guitare’, Chausson’s ‘Les Papillons’ and Honegger’s ‘Trois Chansons de la Petite Sirene’.”

Anna Picard, Independent on Sunday – Recording with Susan Graham – Un frisson français, Onyx, October 12 2008


“The pianist Malcolm Martineau has a deliciously light touch in Hahn’s À Chloris and the pair clearly enjoy the comedy of Manuel’s La Souris d’Angleterre.”

Rick Jones, The Times, September 27 2008


“To be a piano accompanist requires a special degree of fortitude. It is not just that the job sometimes involves working with ego-driven soloists, but that misunderstanding seems to surround the role. Australia’s first Festival of Accompanists, convened by the Accompanists Guild of South Australia to celebrate its 25th year, did a heroic job in putting a lot straight. Most of all it exploded the myth that the pianist is merely there to provide unobtrusive, discreet support for the singer. One of the world’s most respected accompanists, Scottish pianist Malcolm Martineau, showed how abundantly wrong this view is. His playing projected as much personality as the singers’ performances, even stealing attention away at times. The festival’s centrepiece was an extraordinarily illuminating concert with Martineau and the distinguished New Zealand-born Samoan bass-baritone Jonathan Lemalu. Their performance of Schubert and Brahms’s lieder was not about two artists combining as one unified musical personality, but about each musician bringing his own contribution to a song’s word and sound picture. Martineau’s playing was expressive and even extrovert; Lemalu was more intense and, at times, explosive. To have both elements side by side added compelling tension to Schubert’s bittersweet Der Wanderer an den Mond (The Wanderer Addresses the Moon), and in Brahms’s Verrat (Treachery), Lemalu’s snarling anger and Martineau’s magnified sense of drama made this horrifying little song about jealousy and murder even more powerful. There was humour, too, in their performances of Poulenc and Richard Rodney Bennett: both artists showed fleetness of foot and their ability to lighten the mood in an instant. The dynamic between the two artists was fantastically alive, and their timing immaculate.”

Graham Strahle, The Australian – Festival of Accompanists, Elder Conservatorium of Music, University of Adelaide, June 03 2008


“As one of the world’s leading accompanists, Malcolm Martineau has been honoured to play with many of the world’s great singers. The last time the Edinburgh-born pianist was in Adelaide was in 2000 to accompany Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel, who also sang at the 2004 Adelaide Festival. ‘With Bryn and with all the great ones, you don’t see them showing off their voices,’ Martineau says. ‘What you do see is them selling the songs to the audience, telling a story.’ Martineau has returned as musician-in-residence for the Accompanists’ Guild of South Australia’s 25th anniversary conference, which runs until June 1. He will chair the jury for Australia’s top accompanists prize, the Geoffrey Parsons Award, to be presented on Friday. The famous award is named after the Sydney accompanist who became Prince Consort Professor of Piano at London’s Royal College of Music. Martineau has a personal connection to Parsons. ‘He heard me first when I won a big competition in London in 1982 and he offered to teach me and immediately gave me some concerts,’ Martineau says. ‘He was my mentor, really, rather than my teacher.’ Martineau first pursued a solo career, after becoming a finalist in the first BBC Young Musician of the Year competition in 1977. ‘I decided eventually that it was not really for me – I thought it was a bit too lonely,’ he says.”

Patrick McDonald, Adelaide Now – Interview for Australian press, May 28, 2008


“… the pianist Malcolm Martineau was at his peak”

Lloyd Dykk, The Vancouver Sun – US Recital Tour with Bryn Terfel, Chan Centre Vancouver, April 13 2008


“Terfel had expert help at the piano in Malcolm Martineau, who was with Terfel every note of the way. The pianist even gamely sang along to a few words of the second encore, Flanders and Swann’s ‘The Gas Man Cometh.’”

John Terauds, The Star – Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto, April 17 2008


“Terfel and Martineau gave over the first half of their recital to a large selection of early-20th-century English songs, and it was a pleasure to hear these neglected pieces revived so eloquently.”

Ken Winters, Globe and Mail, April 17 2008


“… together with the excellent pianist Malcolm Martineau, Terfel unreeled one vocal gem after another to produce a double triumph of music and charisma.”

Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle – Zellerbach Hall, Cal Performances, Berkeley, April 19 2008


“Too often Poulenc is viewed in the UK as a second-half composer, someone singers turn to in order to leaven their programme with a soupcon of Gallic quirkiness. So it was good to find pianist Malcolm Martineau redressing the balance, devoting the entire first half of this programme with soprano Lisa Milne and tenor John Mark Ainsley to the composer’s songs. … Martineau was as dextrous and reliable a pianist as ever.”

Erica Jeal, The Guardian – Wigmore Hall recital with John Mark Ainsley and Lisa Milne (part of French series), April 12 2008


“… einem miesterlichen Klavierbegleiter … Ein Klavierbegleiter comme il faut, manuell tadellos und inspirierend, wie mit einem inneren Lächeln spielend.
A masterly accompanist … An accompanist ‘comme il faut’, his playing flawless and inspired, as if with an internal smile”

Christopher Zimmermann, General-Anzeiger – Recital with Magdalena Kozena, Cologne Philharmonie, 14 March 2008


“… deftly and wittily accompanied by the pianist Malcolm Martineau.”

Richard Morrison, The Times – Recital with Ann Murray and Philip Langridge, Wigmore Hall, 27 February 2008


“… here, and throughout a long and imaginatively compiled programme, Malcolm Martineau proved an expert and attentive accompanist.”

George Hall, The Guardian – Recital with Susan Graham, Wigmore Hall, 12 February 2008


“… accompanied with inimitable elegance by Malcolm Martineau”

Richard Fairman, The Financial Times, 13 February 2008


“Martineau’s always superbly characterised piano playing lifted the colours in Graham’s voice in Roussel’s Réponse d’une épouse sage and Debussy’s Colloque sentimental.”

Hilary Finch, The Times, 13 February 2008


“… a pretty exhausting programme, both for her and her exemplary accompanist Malcolm Martineau, as it makes vast demands on the singer and pianist, but Graham had stamina in reserve and it proved a worthy climax to such a momentous and educational journey through French song.”

Keith McDonnell, Music OMH, February 2008


“The fluid grace of Martineau’s playing.”

Tim Ashley, The Guardian – Recital with Christopher Maltman – Wigmore Hall, 29 January 2008


“Love in a time of war. And with Simon Keenlyside and Malcolm Martineau to meditate upon it, it is small wonder that there wasn’t a seat to be had. … Both Keenlyside and Martineau really came into their own in the elusive aching of pain and pleasure that hangs over Poulenc’s settings of the surreal poetry of Paul Eluard in the nine songs of Tel jour, telle nuit. … [Keenlyside’s] deceptively artless approach (it recalled Keats’s words about the need for poetry to come as naturally as leaves to a tree) won the audience over, and Martineau’s playing supplied any remaining subtext of wonder or angst.”

Hilary Finch, The Times – Recital with Simon Keenlyside, Wigmore Hall, 14 January 2008,


“Then it was time for the Poulenc songs… The mixture of obscure surrealist poetry and Poulenc’s very subtle style … makes them very hard to bring off. But how well Keenlyside achieved it, and how well Martineau brought out the combination of seduction and stark severity in the piano part.”

Ivan Hewett, The Daily Telegraph, 14 January 2008


“… a superb recital by British baritone Simon Keenlyside, overflowing the Wigmore Hall, where his exemplary accompanist Malcolm Martineau is masterminding a complete Poulenc series.”

Anthony Holden, The Observer, 13 January 2008


“The voice and Keenlyside’s control over it were outstanding. Even in Schumann’s Dichterliebe, where there was too little effort to make the audience listen to every word rather than admire the general effect, the sounds he made were glorious. Yet it was Malcolm Martineau’s accompaniments that caught the ear most powerfully.”

Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 11 January, 2008


“Keenlyside and his ever-perceptive partner, Malcolm Martineau, traced the arc of love won and lost in a succession of powerful readings. … An impressive start to Martineau’s complete Poulenc series.”

Barry Millington, Evening Standard, 10 January 2008


“… beautifully dappled accompaniments”

Andrew Clarke, Financial Times – Onyx Classics: None but the Lonely Heart – recital disc with Amanda Roocroft, 24 November 2007


“During the 60th festival’s inaugural weekend, there was more magic from…Simon Keenlyside… his darksome baritone in thrilling form, luxuriously underlaid by Malcolm Martineau’s eloquent pianism.”

Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times – Recital with Simon Keenlyside, Aldeburgh, June 17, 2007


“Malcolm Martineau, accompanist to the stars, did far more than support the singer. This was a true double act where every phrase seemed to have been planned as a complete musical idea, piano and voice operating as one instrument.”

Timothy Jones, The Press – New Zealand recital tour with Jonathan Lemalu, Christ Church Town Hall, May 3, 2007


“… and in Malcolm Martineau she has a pianist to match her sensitivities. Together they sound subtle depths in the closing songs of Prokovierv’s Akhmatova settings … and in Benjamin Britten’s Pushkin cycle ‘The Poet’s Echo’, where the piano’s time-ticking hauntingly offsets the meditations of Pushkin’s sleepless night.”

David nice, BBC Music Magazine – Recording with Susan Bullock – Crear Classics 2006, Wagner: Wesendonck-Lieder; Prokofiev: Five Poems of Anna Akhmatova; Britten: The Poet’s Echo; songs by Strauss, Quilter, Rorem, March 2007 (Five stars)


“Malcolm Martineau is the excellent pianist”

Sunday Telegraph, March 11, 2007


“The singing was intense and intelligent and benefited from Malcolm Martineau’s scrupulous piano playing.”

Bernard Holland, New York Times – Recital with Michael Schade, Zankel Hall, New York, March 8, 2007


“The evening was enhanced by the firm, nuanced and unfailingly expressive pianism of Malcolm Martineau, who also wrote the incisive program notes.”

Tim Page, Washington Post – Recital Tour with Susan Graham, Kennedy Center, Washington, January 29, 2007


“Malcolm Martineau was the fine pianist as well as, we were told, an active partner in assembling this particular sampler of songs. … Throughout the afternoon, Martineau matched not only her passion for this repertoire but also her sensitivity in bringing it to life.”

Jeremy Eichler, The Boston Globe – Jordan Hall, Boston, January 23, 2007


“The program she brings to Jordan Hall is a fascinating tour of the French song tradition, spanning nearly two centuries, from Charles Gounod (b. 1818) to the modern master Olivier Messiaen (d. 1992) . Unlike many recitals, in which song sets are unified by composer, Graham and her pianist Malcolm Martineau have juxtaposed varied repertoire by composers who were contemporaries of one another, with particular care given to the dramatic shape of each group. Graham credits Martineau, whom she calls an ‘encyclopedia’, with suggesting many of the pieces: ‘Malcolm is a master program-builder.’

The current program ends with the lullaby ‘Brezaiola’, from Joseph Canteloube’s famous ‘Chants d’Auvergne’, and the recital setting has let Graham and Martineau push the envelope. ‘I’ve been experimenting with how softly I can sing the last verse — when the baby is going to sleep.”

Matthew Guerrieri, Boston Globe, January 21. 2007


“… her superb accompanist, pianist Malcolm Martineau, introduced the audience to a lot of unfamiliar songs by familiar composers as well as exquisite rarities by composers (including Emile Paladilhe and Alfred Bachelet) few of us have heard of.”

John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune – Mandel Hall, University of Chicago, January 19, January 21, 2007


“Graham and brilliant piano partner Malcolm Martineau knew what they were doing in selecting the repertoire and presenting it. Opening songs by Bizet, Franck and Faure set a mood of transparent nights, birdcalls and spring love. The lyricism and delicacy, along with the rhythmic inventiveness of Lalo and Saint-Saens as the first half went on, created a consistent mood that never grew dull.”

Andrew Patner, Chicago Sun-Times, January 22, 2007


“Graham’s rich voice was complemented by Martineau’s delicate, sensitive piano accompaniment. However, Martineau did more than simply accompany the singer. As Lawrence Professor of Music and voice teacher Ken Bozeman explained, ‘Musicians traditionally known as ‘accompanists’ are now being called ‘collaborative pianists.’ The pianist plays continuously and, in a sense, plays the emotion of the song.’ In this spirit, the musicians took each bow together, and Graham directed much of the final applause toward Martineau.”

Sonia Emmons, The Lawrentian, January 19, 2007


“Accompanying her was the pianist Malcolm Martineau, who was superb, as usual. In Schumann’s ‘Hoch, hoch sind die Berge’ (High, High Are the Mountains), he was delicate and modest, but properly intense — just like his singer.”

Jay Nordlinger, Arts and Letters – Recital with Angelika Kirschlager, Alice Tully Hall, New York, December 12, 2006


“Malcolm Martineau played the Queen’s Hall piano ably. He phrased with delicacy, stretching ideas to their limits and making sure he never seemed just an accompanist: this was high-quality chamber music. In Mahler’s Ablösung im Sommer, the piano’s evocation of cuckoo song really did sing, whilst in the last of the Ophelia Lieder, the sudden changes of mood were imaginatively handled.

For an encore, the two performed the great Strauss lied Das Rosenband, with its soaring lyricism superbly communicated. The audience’s enthusiastic applause was well deserved.”

Dave Paxton, Music OMH – Recital with Anne Schwanewilms, Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, 31 August 2006, September 2006


“Malcolm Martineau … a virtuoso exponent of the demanding piano part.”

Rowena Smith, The Herald, September 1, 2006


“Edinburgh loves Keenlyside and pianist Martineau, who played with relish.”

The Scotsman – Recital with Simon Keenlyside, Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, Tuesday 29 August 2006


“Martineau went straight from Holst’s weirdly spare, disembodied song Betelgeuse to Britten’s Songs and Proverbs of William Blake, in which Keenlyside and Martineau created colour and atmosphere that even its illustrious creators, Fischer-Dieskau and Britten, would have been hard-pressed to equal.”

Rowena Smith, The Herald, 29 August 2006


“Gerald Moore was once asked whether, in the course of his long and distinguished career as accompanist to some of the greatest singers of the 20th century, he had ever given any thought to becoming a pianist. Moore’s response is not documented, but had he delivered one, he would most certainly have put the enquirer right on one thing: the art of the piano accompanist is exactly that – an art in itself.

And few come more artful these days than Malcolm Martineau, whose annual appearances at the Edinburgh International Festival are more regular than most, but whose visibility – unless you’re specifically looking out for him – can easily be masked by the fact that he has chosen to follow the same career route as Moore.

Martineau’s love for the Festival is as much personal as professional. He was born and educated in Edinburgh, and his father – who died when he was only nine – was a prominent clergyman in the capital. His mother is the notable pianist Hester Dickson, who is now in her eighties, but still highly active as an accompanist and teacher at Glasgow’s RSAMD.

Listening as a youngster to the regular musical collaboration between his mother and her late sister, the cellist, Joan Dickson, rubbed off on Martineau. ‘I’ve always loved the idea of collaboration in music. When I reached the semi-finals of the first ever BBC Young Musician of the Year competition in 1977, a lot of solo work came out of that,’ he recalls. ‘But I knew that solo playing wasn’t really my bag, and when I went to Cambridge, I did lots of chamber music. I’m not the solitary type.’

Now in his late forties and based in London, he is one of the most accomplished accompanists around today, on first-call terms with the likes of Bryn Terfel, Simon Keenlyside, Christopher Maltman, even Simon Rattle’s other half, the Czech mezzo soprano Magdalena Kozena. He tours and records regularly with many of them.

There is still, says Martineau, a lingering perception that the accompanist plays second fiddle, especially when a singer is in the limelight. ‘There have been several occasions when someone has asked me if I went to ‘that wonderful song recital last week at the Wigmore Hall’, and I’ve had to answer: ‘yes, I was actually playing’. The fact is, the audience come to see the singer!’

So will he go unnoticed in his two Festival appearances next week at the Queen’s Hall? First up on Monday he will perform with the baritone Simon Keenlyside in a programme that includes Benjamin Britten’s Songs and Proverbs of William Blake. Then, on Thursday, he will accompany the soprano Anne Schwanewilms in a potentially ravishing coupling of songs by Richard Strauss and Mahler.

‘Anne is the one that sang [Strauss’s] Ariadne in the dress that didn’t fit the other soprano,’ he says, referring mischievously to the notorious incident in 2004 when London’s Royal Opera House sacked its original soprano, Deborah Voigt, reportedly because she was overweight.

The answer to the above question, though, is no. It’s not Martineau’s style to fade into the distance. Indeed, he immerses himself completely in a performance, quite visibly at times. Watch his eyes and his gestures. They are a reflective interpretation of what the singer is singing.

‘As an accompanist, you must have an ear for colour, for storytelling,’ he explains. ‘Benjamin Britten was my favourite accompanist of all time. He had a composer’s ear for colour. He could achieve an amazing range of dynamics, even at the softest end of the spectrum. That is where accompanying becomes such a different art from the solo role.’

But it’s important, too, he says, to know how a singer works – both technically and psychologically. He has made his career out of doing so. ‘I was trained also as a singer,’ he says. ‘After Cambridge, I took joint first studies in singing and piano at the Royal Academy of Music. That’s paid off. I tell my own accompanist students at the RAM to get singing lessons. It’s important to know what breathing [as a singer] feels like.’ Learning languages, too, has equipped him well for the role. ‘I’m no linguistic high-flyer, but I do understand French and German poetry.’

Seasoned singers have grown to depend on Martineau’s instinctive artistry. Younger ones look to him for advice. Thomas Quasthoff, indeed, calls him a ‘psychic’. ‘He once said to me after a recital: ‘you knew what I was going to do before I did it’,’ recalls Martineau. ‘The truth is, as an accompanist you have to second-guess what the singer is about to do. Half the time you get it right.’

If anything singles Martineau out as much more than a jobbing accompanist it is the entrepreneurial spirit that has led him to lead, and often instigate, extended projects of his own, particularly with singers.

Festival aficionados will recall some years ago the extraordinary series that encompassed the entire Lieder output of Hugo Wolf.

‘It was essentially [Festival associate director] James Waters’s baby, but I became immersed in it and it became an amazing thing to do,’ he says. ‘I try to do series here and there, to encourage singers to learn new repertoire.’

He is currently exploring rarely heard Russian songs by Rimsky-Korsakov and Glinka, and later ones from the 1950s, with Susan Bullock. He is also putting together a series centred on the songs of Poulenc, presented in the context of their own time. ‘Aside from Schubert and Wolf, I love the French repertoire,’ he says.

Most of all, though, he is relishing his return this week to the Queen’s Hall. ‘It’s among the best halls for song recitals in Europe,’ he claims. ‘It feels friendly, in much the same way as the Wigmore Hall.’ He also feels at home with its piano, which he can genuinely call his own. ‘It’s a bit embarrassing,’ he admits. ‘I was one of four appointed to select the best instrument. When the day came to try them out, I was the only one who turned up.’ As most singers would say, if you want an accompanist you can rely on, get Martineau. But I suspect there’s a waiting list.”

Kenneth Walton, The Scotsman – Interview for The Scotsman ahead of the 2006 Edinburgh International Festival, Perfect partner – Everyone wants to work with Malcolm Martineau – for very good reason, 26 August 2006


“Mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kozená’s August 7 recital with pianist Malcolm Martineau was hailed as ‘a magic moment’ by local critics.”

Michael Markowitz, Playbill Arts – Recital with Magdalena Kozena, Salzburg Festival, 25 August 2006


“If accompanists are often the under-acknowledged half of a vocal recital, then Malcolm Martineau’s latest project, in which he performs all three of Schubert’s song cycles with three different singers over the course of a day, certainly presents a visible pianistic tour de force. As a feat of strength on Martineau’s part, the undertaking is impressive, though whether it adds much to the audience’s understanding of the works is debatable.

Not in doubt, though, was the wisdom of Martineau’s decision to perform the cycles in reverse order, beginning with Schwanengesang, then Winterreise and concluding with Die Schöne Müllerin. In the wake of two doses of unremitting gloom, there’s something incredibly refreshing about a work that experiences the heights of joyous, youthful ardour before plunging to the depths of despair.

What the series did set up was a comparison between the styles of the young singers involved. Matthew Rose’s Schwanengesang was a somewhat four-square affair; his sonorous bass failing to match the expressiveness of Martineau’s playing, until in Der Atlas it found an intensity lacking elsewhere. In comparison, baritone Jonathan Gunthorpe had a more flexible approach, though his Winterreise didn’t sustain the atmosphere of the most bleakly nihilistic of accounts.

The most complete performance of the day was that of tenor Robert Murray, the only singer to really inhabit his character (a task admittedly easier in Die Schöne Müllerin than the other cycles). From the lusty delight of proclaiming the beloved his, to the anxiety brought on by the arrival of the hunter, to the bitter sadness of betrayal, this miller’s emotions were tangible, rendered all the more visceral by Martineau’s vivid, extrovert playing.”

Rowena Smith, The Guardian – Schubert Song Cycle with Matthew Rose, Jonathan Gunthorpe and Robert Murray, St. Mary’s, Haddington, 9th July 2006, July 21, 2006


“Martineau’s pointing up of the piano’s growing contribution to the psychological portrayals was deeply illuminating.”

Rian Evans, The Guardian – Recital with Barbara Bonney, St George’s Bristol, 11 February 2006


“Never fully in the limelight, Martineau is nonetheless a real star.”

Carol Main, The Scotsman – Recital with Florian Boesch, Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, 2 September 2005


“If there’s such a thing as an accompanist of genius, it is Malcolm Martineau”

The Guardian – Masterclass – The Art of the Song Recital, The Hub, Edinburgh – 23 August 2005


“The most effective accompanist in the business”

The Independent


“One of those moments when time stands magically still. Maltman and Martineau are, indeed, a class act.”

Kenneth Walton, The Scotsman – Recital with Christopher Maltmanm Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, 23 August 2005


“In each work, the pianist carries equal weight in generating the requisite mood, and Malcolm Martineau opened up shivery gothic vistas and haunted landscapes in turn.”

Tim Ashley, The Guardian, August 24, 2005


“This time with the excellent Malcolm Martineau at the piano…”

The Independent – CD Recording with Barbara Bonney (Onyx), 7 June 2005


“Fauré’s Tarantelle was a high-speed obstacle course, with Martineau skillfully maintaining an illusion of gathering momentum.”

Erica Jeal, The Guardian – Recital with Barbara Bonney and Angelika Kirchschlager, Barbican Centre, February 1, 2005


“It’s to the credit of Bonney, Kirchschlager and their accompanist Malcolm Martineau that they resisted as much as they did the temptation to play out the girly fantasies suggested by the packaging.

Here, the two voices chased each other, echoed, confided and danced through the night to a veritable villageband conjured by the indefatigable fingers of Martineau.”

Hilary Finch, The Times, February 1, 2005


“Malcolm Martineau’s accompaniments are stylish and authoritative, coming into their own in the final pair of Edward Lear limerick settings, parodies of Bach by one Karel Drofnatski (a pseudonym for Stanford) that are funnier the verses they set.”

Matthew Rye, The Daily Telegraph – CD with Bryn Terfel, Silent Noon, January 15, 2005


“Malcolm Martineau completed the congenial duo at the piano as a distinguished and experienced accompanist. Some additions could be heard after minutes of standing ovations.”

Olaf Weiden, Kölnische Rundschau – Recital with Barbara Bonney and Angela Kirchschlager, Kölner Philharmonie, December 21, 2004


“And the pianist? Malcolm Martineau is known to be one of the best accompanists in the world and he definitely proved this in Cologne.”

Markus Schwering, Kölner Stadtanzeiger, December 21, 2004


“Co-recitalist Malcolm Martineau is the sort of uncanny accompanist who seems to know what his singer will do before a sound is uttered. His palette of colours is refined and his degree of support remarkable.”

David Gordon Duke, The Vancouver Sun – Recital with Michael Schade, Chan Centre, November 23, 2004


“His subtlety of phrasing and colour, coupled with Martineau`s sensitive and perceptive accompaniments with their almost singing vocal quality, produced beautifully measured Lieder performances, taking us to the soul of these poems by Goethe and Kerner.”

Frank Carroll, Sunday Herald – Recital with Simon Keenlyside, Usher Hall, August 29, 2004


“I loved the heartfelt innocence, the vulnerable bravado, and the vivid vocal colours – with playing to match from Malcolm Martineau, who, for my money is, these days, the most effective accompanist in the business. No one quite has his ability to make a flawless technique so expressively alive.”

Michael White, Independent – Recital with Christopher Maltman, Schwarzenberg Schubertiade, September 23, 2003 


“Providing an irresistible dynamo for the merry-go-round in Debussy’s Chevaux de Bois, tracing the twisting undercurrent to Roocroft’s smooth lullaby in Strauss’s ‘Meinem Kinde’, making the thickly scored accompaniments to four other songs by Liszt sound easy: again and again, Malcolm Martineau showed that he is the classiest accompanist around.”

Erica Jeal, Guardian – Recital with Amanda Roocroft, Royal Festival Hall, December 5, 2003


“Accompanist Malcolm Martineau was sensitive, reliable and utterly musical – it’s little wonder that A-list singers are queuing up to work with him. He held back in the final song, Die alten bösen Lieder, to let Bonney’s voice through, but made the ensuing postlude into something truly enchanting.”

Erica Jeal, The Guardian – Recital with Barbara Bonney, Wigmore Hall, January 27, 2001


“His accompanist Malcolm Martineau was also a major factor in providing that extra dimension, and his limpid contributions were even more telling in the Heine poems of Dichterliebe, where every piano postlude unerringly crystallised the import of the words and their setting.”

Andrew Clements, Guardian – Recital with Ian Bostridge, Wigmore Hall, December 7, 2000


“The finest singing and acting heard and seen in this year’s Festival came together yesterday in the devastating performance of Lisa Milne, making her debut solo recital in the Queen’s Hall series, with accompaniments to die for provided by the peerlesss Malcolm Martineau.”

Michael Tumelty, The Herald – Recital with Lisa Milne, Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh Festival, August 27, 2002 


“And Malcolm Martineau provided one of the most emotionally complete, naturalistic piano accompaniments I have heard, capturing tine details like a leaf’s erratic flutter and a stream’s currents”

James Allen, The Scotsman – Recital with Simon Keenlyside, Usher Hall, Edinburgh Festival, September 1, 2003 


“The limpid, echoing rhymes of ‘S’il est un charmant gazon’ charmed and calmed voice and spirit; and Martineau’s nectar-intoxicated piano introduction to Fauré’s ’Le Papillon et la fleur’ nourished the senses.”

Hilary Finch, The Times – Recital with Felicity Lott, Wigmore Hall, November 25, 2002


“At every turn, his approach was seconded with near-psychic sureness by pianist Malcolm Martineau, who doesn’t frame the voice so much as he becomes and extension of it, issuing colors and harmonies on which the voice can float”

David Patrick Stearns, Philadelphia Inquirer – Recital with Thomas Allen, Perelman Theater, Philadelphia, 11 April 2003 


“If there’s such a thing as an accompanist of genius, it is Malcolm Martineau. He can vanish discreetly into the background when required, or turn the final solo bars of a song like ‘Is My Team Ploughing?’ into a poignant summing up. In the hands of musicians like these two, the future of the song recital should be assured.”

Stephen Johnson, The Guardian – Recital with Bryn Terfel, Symphony Hall, Birmingham, November 24, 2000


“Martineau began with solo work and got bored, far preferring the chemistry of music making with others. ‘The concerto is one thing. The soloist is more important than anyone else involved, and that’s fixed. But in a song… yes, the singer has the solo line, but you are making something new every time you approach the music. With five different singers, there are five different ways. In fact, with one singer, there may be five contrasting inflections, according to mood, or energy, or temper. It is wonderful. That’s the joy of the job.”

From an interview with Mary Miller for ‘The Scotsman’, August 7, 1996


Categories: Pages