Joy and lightness combined with melancholy— The Independent
Van den Bercken deftly conveys the mixture of joy and lightness combined with melancholy that first drew her to the Suites, particularly in the intensively moving Sarabande of the G minor Suite. ****
A strikingly strong debut— Algemeen Dagblad
Daria van den Bercken made a strikingly strong debut with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and JoAnn Falletta performing Clara Wieck Schumann’s 1829 piano concerto in a minor.
This is great musicianship— De Telegraaf
In regard to pulse, ornament and baroque rhetoric, Van den Bercken stands her own ground. It is truly Handel. And it is truly piano at the same time. Dynamic nuances and contrasts, not possible on the harpsichord, acquire a completely natural expressiveness under the hands of Van den Bercken. Whoever succeeds in uniting two such different worlds may come close to the highest attainable. This is great musicianship. *****
More beautiful and more rich every time you listen— De Volkskrant
With flair and a full-bodied yet precise tone, Van den Bercken has probed the pieces for specific tempi, dance movements, ingenious tapestries of polyphony. She has capured them so well, it is hard to put her CD aside. Like a good book that reveals new discoveries upon re-reading, this recording becomes more beautiful and more rich every time you listen. *****
With musical affection and an immaculate virtuosity— Gramophone
Daria van den Bercken presents everything with musical affection and an immaculate virtuosity (never more so than in the considerable demands of the Chaconne).
Fully alive to every startling modulation and abrupt change of direction— Gramophone
Sparsely pedalled, her way with the F major Sonata (K332) is more severe than affectionate, telling us that the gap between Mozart’s Apollonian and Beethoven’s Dionysian genius is less wide than is commonly supposed.
I warmed to her true oasis of calm in both the Adagios from K332 and K282, a pensiveness beyond her formidable focus. Most gratifyingly, too, she relaxes in the A major Sonata (K331) into a greater sense of geniality, though with a surprisingly pensive view of the Minuet and spins off the Alla turca finale with both memorable resilience and several added quirks and ornaments.
She is no less at home in the C minor Fantasia (K396), very much alive to its audacity and, in the central storms, to the sharp edge of Mozart’s volatile rather than equable nature. Again, in both the G major Gigue’s piquancy and sparkle and in the Adagio from K280, van den Bercken is fully alive to every startling modulation and abrupt change of direction.
A gorgeous light and singing tone— Het Parool
Daria plays very beautifully on this cd. She has a gorgeous light and singing tone, a superb technique that gives the often difficult music a really pleasant “flow”, and she really has something to say on her grand piano. In the slow movements she knows how to move you in a subservient manner. ****
Stylish and subtly dynamic— Hi-Fi Critic
Played with rich expression and full tone, Daria van den Bercken makes a strong case for playing Handel’s harpsichord music on the piano. Moreover she brings clarity to fast music and to fugal writing, always giving such passages plenty of time to be lucid while avoiding pedantry. There is much beauty in the slower numbers. Her playing is stylish and subtly dynamic.
Expressive freedoms and poetic emotiveness— Musicweb
There’s a core of structural wood and steel all over the place which makes everything hang together with irresistible and weather-proof strength, allowing expressive freedoms and poetic emotiveness to form the pinnacles of each creation.
So ausdrucksvoll wie in Mozarts besten Arien— Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung
Die Zusammenstellung von drei Sonaten sowie der Fantasie in g-Moll und zwei kleinerer Einzelsätze gestaltet sie mit entsprechend rhetorischer Lebendigkeit, heizt mit gebotener Dezenz die schnellen Sätze mit dramatischer Energie auf und lässt die melodischen Linien der langsamen Sätze so ausdrucksvoll aufleuchten wie in Mozarts besten Arien.
Beautifully voiced— The Arts Desk
Sample the opening Adagio – the increasingly ornate melody unfolding over a simple progression of chords in the left hand. The final quick fugue is beautifully voiced; each line audible despite the fruity, resonant acoustic.
The rhetorical flourish at the start of the G minor suite is nicely done, and there’s a pleasing coolness to the tiny Sarabande. The expansive D minor suite contains a sublime Air and Variations.
If your knowledge of baroque keyboard music needs stretching beyond the Goldberg Variations, this could be an ideal place to start.
A surprisingly light and clear toucher— Trouw
Playful and unaffected […] with an authentic love of this pianist for this music. To be heard in every note, no matter how fast […] a surprisingly light and clear toucher. It is a pleasure to quietly enjoy happiness while listening to this recording. *****
Impassioned renderings— Trouw
Händel wrote first-rate clavier music fit for the concert stage. Daria proved this with her impassioned renderings […]. Instead of treating the grand piano as a harpsichord (i.e. by playing at one volume), she made good use of the dynamic expansion possibilities the feisty Érard offers.
[…] Daria concluded her performace with three of Debussy’s Préludes and his ‘l‘Isle joyeuse’. Here the Érard came out at least as well as in Händel’s works. Van den Bercken put the sonorities of the instrument to excellent use in her refined and technically awe-inspiring renderings.
Extraordinary dexterity and musical intelligence— Volkskrant
Pianist Daria van den Bercken entirely lives up to the title of her new CD: she does hold the keys to Mozart’s work and brings an extraordinary dexterity and musical intelligence to it. The recording is somewhat dry, but it makes you hear the many details of Van den Bercken’s delicate yet pleasantly non-fluffy playing all the better. She offers a sharp insight in the rhythmical jokes and the subtle (or sometimes even violent) mood changes which Mozart put in his music. The dynamic range of her performance of the Fantasie in c minor K396 fully justifies the use of a modern instrument.
Out of the three sonatas here presented, K331 with the Rondo alla Turca is the most famous. Van den Bercken adds a handful of improvisations on the theme, and they sound as if Mozart whispered them to her himself. ****
She knows how to captivate an audience— Volkskrant
With Daria van den Bercken one is never bored for a moment. Her tone has an intensity that you only encounter with pianists of a certain standing, and with her concentration she knows how to captivate an audience.