BBC Proms - The Times
"The wit and colour in pianist Martin James Bartletts playing was thrilling"
BBC Proms - The Telegraph
Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue gave us the Proms debut of last year's BCC Young Musician: joining the Royal Philharmonic, the pianist Martin James Bartlett brought maximum feeling to the music and played with astonishing delicacy and punch"
Cheltenham Festival - The Telegraph
"It was the music that did the talking, with, for my money, the centrepiece being a full bodied performance of Gershwin's big bellied, nimble footed Rhapsody in Blue, with the fabulously flamboyant 2014 Young Musician of the Year Martin James Bartlett on piano"
The Evening Standard
"Since his triumph, Bartlett’s career has begun to take off and this year’s BBC Proms featured his charismatic performance of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. He’s clearly destined for great things"
A Night with the Stars, Gala Concert-
"I was astounded at how movingly he played – a really beautiful performance. From where we sit, you can clearly see the reflection of the pianist’s hands in the black panel above the keyboard, and it’s always fascinating to see how deftly they move up and down the instrument. At the grand old age of 18, Mr Bartlett is the current BBC Young Musician of the Year. It was a highly entertaining, skillful and moving performance. We sat two rows behind his parents – not difficult to see how proud they are of him; and indeed if he continues to develop his skills he has a most amazing future ahead of him."
– Chris Sparkle
Wimbledon International Music Festival-
"Bach’s Toccata in C minor was played with detail, care and tenderness, while within the piece, changes of mood were abundant. There were some sensitive moments that were breathtaking; his imagination was pouring out, and the beautiful tones shone through. I had heard him perform Liszt’s Sonetto del Petrarca earlier this year, and had described it then as “strikingly poetic”. This time was no different, it was poetic, and offered much depth and picturesque beauty. Prokofiev’s Sonata brought a complete different dimension to this programme. Precitipato, the explosive toccata-style finale was rock’n’roll, absolutely fantastic."
"Martin is beyond just a young talented pianist. He has the core and essential quality and character of a performer, which attracts audiences without trying hard. He is definitely the one to watch – let’s look forward to his development in the next several years."
- Kumi Smith-Gordon
“He is a wonderfully sensitive musician with an astonishing technique and is destined for great things.”
- John Gibbons conductor
Viennese New Year Concert
"With a lightness of touch and vision, Bartlett brought much more staccato and spring to the first movement, much more interest to an essentially benign Romance (an alternative smile to the central gale), and fun-filled interplay throughout the finale. Being obviously a natural chamber musician makes him a bringer of fresh air to Mozart concertos. We do not underestimate the revelatory powers of pianists wearing heavy-rimmed spectacles. Bartlett may also grow as tall as Alfred Brendel."
- Richard Amey reviews Martin James Bartlett performing Mozart concerto K.466
Newbury Weekly News-
"Southern Sinfonia celebrated the start of their 25th Anniversary season with an outstanding recital given by pianist Martin James Bartlett, winner of the BBC Young Musician of the Year 2014.
Immensely assured, this 17-year-old artist seemed to pour his heart and soul into his eloquent and expressive playing. From start to finish, the audience were captivated.
He began his programme with one of J.S. Bach’s early works, the ‘Toccata in C minor, BWV 911.’ His virtuosic opening passages flowed into a reflective ‘Adagio’ followed by a crisp and energetic fugue. I was particularly impressed with his impeccable precision, articulation and use of contrasting dynamics.
Next we were treated to a mesmerising performance of ‘Liebestraum No. 3’ by Franz Liszt. Bartlett’s rendition, rich in colour, passionate and eloquently phrased, sang out with great beauty.
Petrarch’s sonnet complaining about ‘the contrasting emotions his lady has wrought in him,’ inspired Liszt to write his ‘Sonetto 104 del Petrarca’. Displaying a wonderful musicality, Bartlett expressed both the outpouring of emotions and the poetry and lyricism of the piece. His ornamentation was superb.
This young artist ended his recital with a virtuosic rendition of Prokofiev’s ‘Sonata No.7 in B flat minor, the second of his war sonatas. We could hear the guns in his dramatic portrayal which was very exciting indeed, yet, at times considerably poignant.
A delightful encore, playful and fun, brought a most memorable Café concert to an end.
The audience applauded and cheered – many stamping in appreciation. I am not surprised that The Royal College of Music calls Bartlett ‘one of the greatest up and coming young piano talents in the music world."
- Helen Bomgardner