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CD Launch: 18 April 2019 with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Bernhard Gueller!

Contact Details

  Dept of Music, Stellenbosch University

  +27 (0)21 808 2343

  +27 (0)21 808 2340

  +27 (0)72 531 3235

Press about Peter Martens

“For Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations, a work inspired by the composer’s love of Mozart, the ensemble was joined by South African cellist Peter Martens for a performance which combined understated virtuosity (the work contains some fiendish technical challenges for the cellist and few opportunities for the soloist to rest) with a delightful interplay between soloist and ensemble. Peter Martens’ tone was rich and colourful, balancing wit with seriousness to create a performance of great variety, character and warmth.”

     Frances Wilson, The Cross-Eyed Pianist Blog , November 5, 2017 - I Musicanti Chamber Orchestra at St John’s Smith Square London.

“Martens’ cello is one of the most beautiful sounds – a deep rich harmonic wooden stringed singing being. His playing is superb, compassionate elegant phrasing, and flawless technique. His bow knows the exact line between the tender softness and the hard edge, and this extra dimension is masterfully applied to his dynamics. He expresses a full range of emotion, from angst and agitation to acceptance and wisdom.”

     Andy Wilding May 2016 / FOM Soiree – Rachmaninoff Cello Sonata with Bryan Wallick (piano).

“Martens was outstanding in his widely varied role”

     Michael Green: Richard Strauss Don Quixote KZNPO Symphony Concert 19/3 2015 -

“Luis Magalhães’ decisive performance on the piano in Derevianko/Shostakovich’s Symphony No.15 ensured the solid foundation for a most exciting and at the same time profound rendition. In turn it was enhanced by the playing of the two magnificent string musicians – Alissa Margulis (violin) and Peter Martens (cello) […] The music is loaded with Shostakovian commentary, with the unmistakable satirical nuances brilliantly established by Margulis and Martens. There is even an unashamedly, wonderfully tongue-in-cheek galloping sequence from Rossini’s opera William Tell, introduced and deliciously repeated several times in idiomatic Shostakovich fashion by Martens. What a privilege to experience music making of this stature!”

     Thys Oodendal – Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival 2014

“The fiery entrance of the “(Allegro) Marcia” of Dohnányi’s Serenade Trio in C, op.10, was intoxicating under the decisive first violin (Madeline Atkins), and equally magnificent playing by Gareth Lubbe (viola) and Peter Martens (cello).”

     Thys Oodendal – Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival 2014

Of his Bach Suites CD: “Peter Martens’s interpretations are thoughtfully prepared and generally commendably executed, balancing modern performance practices with the simple clarity of period style. […] Martens brings aristocratic poise, poetry and rhythmic flexibility to the preludes. […] His courantes are generally fast and light and his sarabandes are profound and freely contemplative. […] Martens is playful in the gallantries, giving spring to the pairs of menuets in nos. 1 and 2, playing the bourées in mischievous vein […] and injecting the gavottes with a sense of fun."

     Robin Stowell – theStrad October 2013.

Of his Bach Suites CD: “Martens is a fine player from South Africa who plays these classics (or baroques) of the cello literature with taste and love and a sense of phrasing and voiceleading that is satisfying to the ears. He balances his love of Casals’s romantic phrasing with a respect for the simple clarity of the early music players, resulting in a very listenable set of performances. […] an imaginative reading of the music, played with skill and musicality.”

     David W Moore - American Record Guide, March 2013© 2013 American Record Guide

Of a performance of the Dvorak Cello Concerto for the 100th year of Eurythmy celebrations in Cape Town, “As soon as Peter Martens made his first melodious cello entry with his exquisite quality of sound projection, my immediate eurythmy experience was that of accessing the sudden manifestation of a warm width of etheric cello soundscape substance all round in the space that allowed us eurythmists to heighten our visible singing more freely and beautifully than ever, it seemed.”

     Perry Havranek November 2012.

Of his latest CD, the Bach Cello Suites: “The clarity of Martens’ playing and interpretation is an exceptional achievement”

     Thys Odendaal – Beeld 15 November 2012

“Martens set off on his challenging solo journey with a feisty first subject and delivered it with assured projection. The second subject material, too, received warmly mannered treatment, with flexible use of vibrato and fluent bowing…Martens played it with conviction, including a second taxing cadenza.”

     Dion Irish of his CD launch performance of Allan Stephenson’s cello concerto with the Cape Philharmonic – Cape Times ,7 November 2012

“Martens also played superbly and mined from the wooden body of his cello that wonderful rich variety of tone colours for which he has become so renowned.”

     Andra le Roux-Kemp WhatsoninCapeTown 6 June 2012

“Let’s also hear more from the superbly talented Bosch and the masterful Martens…”

     Stephenson Bass and cello concerto with Cape Philharmonic CD. Rob Barnett - Music Web International November 2011

“…what makes the recording most remarkable is the excellence of the performances: technically flawless, perfect in ensemble, and strikingly expressive, especially in the slow movements. The cellist’s tone is pure and beautiful, the changes of mood and character are natural and organic. The balance between rhythmic steadiness and flexibility is admirable… This recording is a splendid addition to the discography of these great works.”

     Edith Eisler – Strings Magazine July 2011

“The cello is rich and passionate and the piano, especially, rings out with authority and excitement.”

     Mary Kunz Goldman – May 2011

“Peter Martens delivers brilliantly incisive and spirited accounts of all these works and makes a particularly good case for the cello arrangement of the Horn Sonata op.17."

     Joanne Talbot on his latest CD release “The complete Sonatas for Cello and Piano by Beethoven” – Strad Magazine Feb 2011

“The star of this concert was the cellist Peter Martens with a staggering interpretation of Haydn’s cello concerto in C. It was stylistic with fast passages precisely articulated, and in the Adagio long supple lines – truly enchanting playing”

     Wayne Muller, Die Burger, 02/10/2010

Of the world Premier of Allan Stephenson’s Cello concerto, Elretha Britz wrote, “Martens seized the challenge of this work with its effective percussive passages and in places took ones breath away with his technical mastery”

     Vollksblad 02/06/2009

“The Saint-Saens [concerto]...was given an excellent, well judged performance by Peter Martens”

     Michael Green, Arts News KZN, 16/10/2006

“The dances were all played with a strong basic rhythm, but with a suppleness helping the music to breath, enhancing phrase endings and allowing the musical inflection to come to the fore”

     Pieter Koojj, Die Burger, 22/09/2007

“The highlight of the concert was Peter Martens’ delivery of the Haydn C Major cello concerto. In the lyrical first and second movements Martens carried the melodic line particularly beautifully...he had good intonation throughout and his relaxed playing in the virtuoso fingerwork of the Allegro molto movement is impressive”

     Kobus van der Merwe, Die Burger

“ Martens took listeners on a journey of sound as he magically produced beautiful music from his instrument”

     Wayne Muller , Die Burger

“...hats of to young Peter Martens who had to switch from Schostakovitch’s First Concerto to the Dvorak at relatively short notice. Taxing as it was, Martens showed no signs of trepidation...”

     Johan Cloete, The Argus 27/05/1994

In a crit titled “Dazzling virtuosity”, Paul Boekkooi wrote, “Martens’ line and control is masterly...his tone always had a refined roundness about it with no scratchy sounds at all”

     The Star 14/04/1999

“Whenever he was entrusted with one of those great melodic lines...his singing tone resounded in full beauty.”

     Rupert Mayr, The Herald, 03/08/2004

“ ...with Martens’ serious artistry the ensemble was multifaceted, full of personality and absorbing...the performance also drew attention to Martens’ clear, sweet high register.”

     Matildie Thom, Die Burger, 16/10/2006

In a crit titled “Fresh delivery, sensitive interpretation”, Brett Pyper wote of a performance of the 6 Bach Suites, “His phrasing is alternately crisp and soaring, his tempi never sag, and he explores the light and shade within his instrument’s tone palette in ways that animate the pieces at hand.”

     Cue, 06/07/2006