Thomas Carroll: a gleeful performance of outrageous music
Cadogan Hall, London 29 SEPTEMBER 2010 - Gulda Cello Concerto
Gulda concerto - an outrageous picaresque romp through a variety of musical styles, from jazz to Bavarian beer cellar. Carroll turned in a bravura performance, tackling the considerable technical demands with insouciance, personality and evident glee, rattling off exuberant double-stops and high portamentos in the jazzy first movement, producing simple lyrical eloquence in slower movements and executing the tough cadenza movement in fine style.
The STRAD, December 2010
Rich full colours, rigorous firm rhythms:
The young dynamic cellist Thomas Carroll and the equally agile conductor Alexander Joel together with the Braunschweiger Staatsorchester, all in outstanding harmony with one another, performed to a practically sold out town hall in this ninth symphony concert.
Dvorak’s Cello Concerto in B minor, as a result, received a performance full of drive and power. Nevertheless, the many lyrical passages were shaped with the required tenderness and intimacy, without ever getting lost in over-sentimentality.
In the very expressive Adagio, the balancing act between tenderness and sentimentality was completely convincing. Carroll’s powerful, gripping playing delivering full rich colours and timbres right up into the highest notes; his expressive shadings of the melodic material particularly pleasing in the enchanting dialogues with solo wind and solo violin.
Braunschweiger Zeitung Dvorak Concerto/Braunschweiger Staatsorchester 19/5/2008
‘…but it was the cellist’s sumptuous, long-breathed melodies in the duo with piano that, to borrow a phrase from the late Karlheinz Stockhausen, would have reduced howling wolves to silence’
The Times, Paul Driver, Chamber Music with Tasmin Little, Melvyn Tan and Dimitry Ashkenazy, Spitalfields Winter Festival December 07
‘Two string players in their early thirties made an impressive showing this week, illustrating the strength and breadth of artistry that the new generation harbours. Thomas Carroll, appearing with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, played Tchaikovsky's Variations on a Rococo Theme in a programme, sprucely conducted by Paul Watkins…..His ample, warm, sensitively modulated cello timbre suited the slower, lyrical variations ideally. At the same time he had the wherewithal to negotiate the tricky finger-work of the faster ones, and to project the music's passion and virility, the cadenza being a particularly fine blend of virtuosity and emotional inwardness’.
The Daily Telegraph RPO/Cadogan Hall February 2007
‘The big surprise of the night was the unscheduled appearance of cellist Thomas Carroll…as soloist in Haydn’s Cello Concerto. Carroll is something else – a big-boned, muscular player who launched into the Haydn with characteristic virility and strength and a firm profile that it always needs to have, but not always receives’.
Glasgow Herald RSNO/Royal Concert Hall October 2004
‘Thomas Carroll’s imperious performance at the Holywell Music Room last Sunday was surely a wake-up call to any who have not so far noticed that he figures among the best young cellists in sight…Carroll is a master of a refined but broadish concert hall sound whose sharpened edge cuts its articulations through the angry moments of Schumann’s Op.70 Allegro, or certain passages in Beethoven’s late C major Cello Sonata, with all the instant command of Orpheus amid wild beasts’.
Oxford Evening News Holywell Room August 2004
‘Kodály’s Sonata for Solo Cello is a formidable challenge for any artist. Thomas Carroll...played it at the Wigmore Hall (11 December) with an authority and technical assurance that many a more seasoned artist might envy. It was a performance of great structural power, whether in the relentless pace of the first movement building to its wrenching climax, the extraordinary control through the long cantilenas of the second, or the sheer virtuosity of the third....What was clear....was Carroll’s sense of theatre, of drama and contrast, which imbued not just the Kodály but also the commanding performance of Brahms’s Sonata No.2 in F major that closed the programme. This was big-boned Brahms, played with authority, passion and an unerring sense of direction, full of colour and underpinned by a clear musical intelligence’.
The Strad Wigmore Hall (11 December 2003) March 2004
‘The notable young cellist Thomas Carroll gave a first class recital at the Wigmore Hall on 11 December... The programme began with Poulenc’s urbane and delightful Sonata, which received an excellent reading. The Kodály Sonata for Unaccompanied Cello clearly holds no fears for Thomas Carroll, who gave a comprehensively admirable account. The second half opened with the first performance of Five Miniatures for Cello and Piano by Halli Cauthery, pieces which suggested they could well be expanded into a full-scale Sonata. They are well written and full of character, and proved the perfect foil to Brahms’ F major Sonata, which ended this recital in noble style.
Musical Opinion Wigmore Hall 11 December 2003 March/April 2004 edition
‘But the real climax came after the interval in the Schubert Quintet, as Thomas Carroll joined the fab four to play the extra cello part. His warm, sonorous playing soon dispelled any fears that he might spoil the Belcea magic, and his second cello part showed what makes this work such a heart-breaker,: the paired cellos duetting in the most charming tenor voice in the first movement....What really did for us, however, was the following adagio, as the first violin’s faltering, intermittent phrases sobbed above a two-cello pizzicato that pulsed right through your body and into your soul’.
The Times Wigmore Hall/Belcea Quartet March 2003
At one with the cello’s charm
‘Word had got round among the cognoscenti, judging from the Who’s Who of leading cellists sitting in the audience, and the word was that here was an artist of exceptional talent and musicality. The very first note of Prokofiev’s C major Cello Sonata revealed a tone of extraordinary richness – deep, dark and confidently projected – and, as the sonata progressed, the broad range of timbre and expressive command in Carroll’s playing came accross compellingly....Carroll, still only in his late twenties, is an artist to watch’.
‘Thomas Carroll was the soloist in Schumann’s Cello Concerto and demonstrated a highly individual musical personality, an assured technique and also the stamp of innate musicianship and artistry, along with the ability to respond to the vibrations and emotional tenor of the occasion. Here was an interpretation which achieved a wonderful sense of immediacy yet without ever losing a moment’s poise’.
Musical Opinion Sinfonia Cymru/Brecon Cathedral September 2002
With irresistible passion
‘Thomas Carroll rose to the challenge of all the great demands of this work. Carroll’s never failing technical mastery and his passionate interpretation – influenced by his former teacher – celebrated the triumph of the individual over the masses’.
Kleine Zeitung, Graz Lutoslawski Concerto May 2002
A Cellist Showing Tenacity
‘Thomas Carroll, a cellist presented by Young Concert Artists at the 92nd Street Y.....was young, energetic, bright-eyed and insistent. His playing was appealing, often exhilarating.....a highlight, was Britten’s Sonata for Cello and Piano, Op.65, which ranged through a broad territory of moods’.
New York Times 92nd Street Y March 2002
Tommy is Best of British
Thomas Carroll gave a deeply moving performance of one of the most popular works ever written by a British composer, Elgar’s Cello Concerto. This young cellist was making his debut in Milton Keynes but the response of the enthusiastic audience should mean that it will not be his last’
Milton Keynes News March 2002
’30 years ago Heinrich Schiff premiered the Lutoslawski Cello Concerto in Austria. This time another young soloist performed the work. The British cellist Thomas Carroll mastered the enormously complex part with great bravura’.
SteirerKrone, Graz Lutoslawski Concerto May 2002
‘Carroll, gloriously songful tone and convincing emotional engagement. He was in the business of real musical communication’.
The Strad Wigmore Hall November 2000
‘Welsh cellist Thomas Carroll displayed a command of stylistic definition and integrity missing in many of his contempories... perhaps the most impressive aspect of this entire evening was Mr. Carroll’s protean approach: each work was executed in an entirely different yet appropriate manner...he has a full tone and a well-stocked armamentarium of techniques’.
ConcertoNet.com/The Classical Music Network 92nd Street Y May 2002
‘The young Welshman, Thomas Carroll, amazed and inspired, and played with great luminous sound and intense feeling’.
Kronen Zeitung Vienna Konzerthaus/Schoenberg April 2001
‘With astonishing composure, the young cellist Thomas Carroll played the ridiculously difficult work [Schonberg Concerto]. (Pablo Casals refused to play the first performance!).
Wiener Zeitung Vienna Konzerthaus April 2001
‘How better for a venue raised in honour of the late cellist Jacqueline du Pré to welcome, at her birthday memorial concert last week, such a musician as Thomas Carroll?....a remarkable account of Bach’s Suite No.3.....So many artists play these Bach works as if intruding on some private rumination that Carroll’s brusque rhetoric, and thrilling projection, took one almost aback. Here was Bach with more than style. He lived and breathed as well’.
The Oxford Times Jacqueline du Pré Hall February 2001
Vivacious Carroll full of promise
‘Thomas Carroll is a young cellist to watch. He has terrific skill and powers of communication to match. Shostakovich could have hoped for no more resolute interpreters of his First Cello Concerto than Carroll and the Sinfonia VIVA under Nicholas Kok.
Evening Post Sinfonia Viva March 2001
Young cellist steps in and shines
‘One minute Thomas Carroll was immersed in studying the cello in Vienna, the next he was on his way to Norfolk – and last night, he took a sell-out audience by storm…He displayed great stage presence and gave a virtuoso performance full of confidence and verve’.
King’s Lynn News Norfolk Symphony Orchestra May 2000