Press Comments

J.S. Bach’s Keyboard Partitas 1, 4 & 5 (MSR CD 1717)

"I was often caught by Partita No.4...but there are many other moments in Small’s superb rendering that may also catch your mind and take you out of time into past emotions and beauty.... Purists and musical historians might prefer to hear this music on a period harpsichord, but Small’s steady headed, even tempo and keyboard command makes this listening experience an enjoyable respite of pleasure... the CD is an ample introduction those who have not heard [Small's] his talent as a performer..." 

Joel C. Thompson, Cherry Grove Music Review [August 2021]


[ * * * * ] Gorgeous renditions of this music, sans any idealistic encrustations... Haskell Small is clearly in love with this music; returning to it after many years has enlightened his sensibilities and enabled him to present us with a clear and undiluted portrait of a middle-aged composer who long found himself... These pieces speak like the earlier suites did not.

Small understands this, and not only understands but is ready and willing to serve as a Bachian oracle, channeling the composer’s most subtle and illuminating ideas as would a persuasive arguer... [Small's Blüthner], though grand indeed, is hardly overwhelming or dominating. Instead, [Small] allows us to peer into the art of one of the greatest composers who ever lived in terms of structure, sonority, color, and conversation, for we come away from these readings as if we had been lectured by a wonderful orator. There has been a plethora of recordings of this music, many truly great. I daresay that this one proves just as enlightening."

Steve Ritter, Audiophile Audition [August 2021]

"Small‘s sensitivity to the nuances of the music helps compensate for the inappropriately modern sound of the instrument... [the playing is] always in good taste, with Small never overdoing matters... There are many very fine piano performances of these works, and this one certainly belongs among them."

Mark J. Estren, InfoDad [July 2021]

" can handle adroitly and thrive at performing Contemporary Modern piano music and it does not mean one could do quite the same with Bach. But Haskell Small's new CD shows us he has a wonderful feel for the Partitas, a sure pianistic sense of the ways to translate Bach's brilliance to piano performance practice... As much as I love the Partitas I must say Small's readings of Nos.1, 4 and 5 give me the more to love by a real pianistic sympathy born not out of a spectacular approach, rather a subtle one. You do not come away from the recording being impressed in the obvious sense with astonishment, with the velocity or other showmanship... Instead there is a total musicality about it all, a deep dedication to making this wonderful music sound."

Grego Applegate Edwards [June 2021]

Bach was obliged to have these partitas printed at his own expense in 1731, but they soon gained him an enviable reputation. It came to be the common consensus that any keyboard artist who could understand them and play them well would be equal to anything in music. Today, almost three hundred years later, Haskell Small is living proof that the saying still goes."

Phil Muse, Atlanta Audio Club [April 2021]

"The CD closes with A Glimpse of Silence, an eight-minute opus that explores the concept of silence through such devices as a music box and a funeral march. The music box doesn’t sound like any that you’ve ever heard, but the effect is quite stunning, given its piquant and ethereal harmonies. Haskell Small’s music is well worth exploring, and he gives it what sound to my ears to be superlative performances. Heartily recommended"
Jan/Feb 2015
"You really like to get these kinds of discs in the mail. A composer playing his own music on a small label always has appeal, this project was an entirely worthy one."

Classical Net Review
"The Rothko Room - Journeys in Silence"
June 23, 2014

"Small has a particular fascination with silence as interpreted through music: he is a fine and wide-ranging pianist..."
"Speaking Through Soloists"
May 8, 2014
"My own compositional tendencies tend toward quietude," he notes. "That fits perfectly with the intentions of Rothko."
Houston Chronicle Interview
"Rothko Work Inspires Composer"
April 9, 2014
"More musicians should do what Haskell Small does: he plays what he likes, and brings it to life, sometimes quietly, sometimes somewhat more boisterously, putting his heart and soul into it."
Lucid Culture Performance Review
" Haskell Small Plays a Shattering, Haunting Program on the Upper West"
March 31, 2014
"...his lovely touch made the works sing."
ConcertoNet Performance Review
"Ladders to Elysium"
March 28, 2014
"Small" Pianist delivers "Huge" recital at re-named Church
Peninsula Performance Review
November 12, 2013
Haskell Small brings his contemplative sound to Seattle
The Seattle Times
November 11, 2013
Haskell Small on KDFC's "State of the Arts"

KDFC Radio Interview
November 6, 2013

Haskell Small Delivers a Shattering Performance of Mompou's Musica Callada

Lucid Culture
October 31, 2013

Music of peace, from pianists Haskell Small and Sarah Cahill
Times Union
October 13, 2013
Haskell Small interview with Judith Krummerck
91.5 WBJC FM Interview
October 4, 2013
"It takes courage for a pianist to program a concert of works by a single composer. Double—maybe triple—that courage when the composer is Federico Mompou, a fascinating if obscure Spaniard whose austere, inward-looking works offer little in the way of crowd-pleasing virtuosity..."
The Washington Post
December 18, 2007


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Haskell Small is the sort of pianist that can take the music of Scarlatti or Mussorgsky, music that many pianists smother in stylistic kindness, and get right to its essence. He does this with fine technique backed with surprising strength, a sense of dramatic pacing, and a sure feeling for the integrity of the music.
The Washington Post