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“…Bravura playing in the music of Franz Liszt drew extended ovations at pianist Michael McHale's recital… He handled with gusto and skill the powerfully climbing themes and the thunderous climaxes…”

Daniel Ginsberg, Washington Post [full review]

“…McHale played with cool authority and understated panache as one expected from a young pianist whose international career is in serious take-off mode…”

Dick O’Riordan, Sunday Business Post

“…His touch can be ethereal, as in Debussy, or extremely forceful, as in Mussorgsky's Pictures… and his mechanism is practically without blemish even in the hardest pieces… I liked his well-contrasted Schubert, and I truly enjoyed his two pieces from Debussy's Estampes, Soirée in Granada and Gardens under the Rain, fluent and mercurial… As to his Mussorgsky, it was dramatic and intense, and I didn't miss the orchestra in The Great Gate of Kiev as I often do, so big (but unforced) was his tone…” 

Pablo Bardin, Buenos Aires Herald

“…McHale was a wonderfully incisive soloist… this was exactly the sort of headlong, exciting adventure that Prokofiev intended it to be…”

Michael Dervan, Irish Times

“…an elegant sensibility, and bright, even-fingered articulation that was instantly engaging…”

Hilary Finch, The Times

“…Belfast-born pianist Michael McHale played Rachmaninov's Rhapsody On a Theme of Paganini on the new grand piano; it was a performance unusually rich in delicate, bell-like detail…”

Rowena Smith, The Guardian

“…The other discovery was pianist Michael McHale. Why haven't we heard of this guy before? His playing was brimming with rhythmic vitality and a symphonic sense of scope…”

David Patrick Stearns, The Philadelphia Enquirer [full review]

“…I was glad to get to Wigmore Hall for the salve of Mozart’s Quintet for Piano and Winds, K452. Michael Collins’s London Winds and the pianist Michael McHale gave it a performance at once magisterial and bursting with freshness… It was a beautiful recital…”

Paul Driver, The Sunday Times [full review]

“…McHale can combine dramatic flair with faultless stylistic skill (as in the first movement cadenza), probe the depths of the writing (as in the slow movement), and mix fluency, bravura and suddenly surreal nostalgia - as in the finale. He's a player with a lot to give…”

Robert Beale, Manchester Evening News

“…McHale gave a masterful reading of the work, evincing a natural rapport with Lewis and bringing out the quiet, steady beauty of the piece. I have never seen a better coordination between soloist and conductor, their timing exquisitely perfect throughout…”

Leon Golub, Boston Musical Intelligencer [full review]


…a finely spun, exquisitely balanced account of Fauré’s Piano Quartet in G minor… The filigree of McHale’s deft fingerwork provided an ever-adapting backdrop which at times enabled the string players to make their effect without even appearing to have to raise their voices. Magical…

Michael Dervan, The Irish Times [full review]

“...The evening included two of Beethoven's most renowned sonatas, "Moonlight" and "Appassionata", both of which were faced by our visitor with a unique decisiveness and poise… Apart from impeccable technique, the Belfast pianist showed convincing tension and narrative and almost airborne scales in the "Presto agitato" of the first work. As for the other sonata, the precise tempo of the "Andante" and the agility and rhythm with which McHale faced the final "Allegro" were remarkable...”

Carlos Ernesto Ure, Criticos Musicales de la Argentina [full review]


Reviews of 'Bennett: Orchestral Works Vol.4' album:

“…It’s an enticing piece full of textural allure and a solo part awash with virtuoso glitz and shimmer – beautifully taken here by Michael McHale, whose limpid fingerwork is possessed of a crystalline light-catching brilliance…”

Edward Seckerson, Gramophone Magazine [full review]

“…the big work which is purely abstract in design (the Piano Concerto of 1968) repeatedly grips and entertains… Part of the success of the Concerto's performance certainly lies in Michael McHale's high-energy fingers, confidently shifting between glittering decorations and bravura solo spurts… It's a really memorable and thoroughly exhilarating piece…” ****

Geoff Brown, BBC Music Magazine [full review]

“…the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under John Wilson presents top-notch performances… In particular, Michael McHale stands out as a compelling soloist in the Piano Concerto, and Wilson’s highly perceptive support as well as the balance between orchestra and piano combines to make this a highly recommended version…”

Marc Rochester, MusicWeb International [full review]

“…Wilson's survey of Bennett's concert works continues to surprise and delight. This fourth disc is built around the 1968 Piano Concerto, deftly played by McHale…”

Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times

“…the third recording of Bennett’s Piano Concerto, and it is fully up to the high standards set by its predecessors… Michael McHale’s performance of the solo part is superb, as is that of the orchestra, and this joins the earlier recordings as must-hear accounts of a work that, in my experience, reveals aspects of Bennett in a manner as do few of his other large-scale concert pieces…” *****

Robert Matthew-Walker, Classical Source [full review]

“…Michael McHale gives a fluent and sensitive reading of the solo part of the concerto… [and] is brilliantly supported by the orchestra under John Wilson…”

Philip Scott, Fanfare Magazine

“…The work was composed for and first performed by Stephen Kovacevich – or Stephen Bishop as he was then known. The solo part sounds fiendishly challenging! I wouldn’t want to say that Michael McHale makes it all sound easy – that would hardly be the aim, in any case – but he throws it off with fiery aplomb. This is a thoroughly enjoyable listen…”

William Hedley, MusicWeb International [full review]

Reviews of 'Strauss: Concertante Works' album:

“…the early Burleske for piano and orchestra… does us a service in spotlighting Belfast-born soloist Michael McHale, virtuoso in the best sense of making true expression out of his flights and fancies…”

David Nice, BBC Music Magazine

“…the playing of the BBC SO under Collins is similarly impassioned and the pianist Michael McHale offers a splendidly virtuoso performance…”

Christian Hoskins, Gramophone Magazine

“…When it comes to Burleske, there’s no contest between the previously reviewed Kozhukhin and this new one with Michael McHale. This is hands-down the winner. It leaps off the page with three-dimensional presence and virtuosic razzle-dazzle from pianist McHale, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and the Chandos engineers that will rivet you to your chair...
...The BBC Symphony Orchestra and Michael Collins’s conducting of it are stunning throughout, as is Chandos’s multi-channel recording. Potential Want List material...” *****

Jerry Dubins, Fanfare Magazine [full review]

“…of the other three concertante works, each is given a bright and engaging performance, with Michael McHale’s playing being particularly sparkling. His performance is strong and well-figured, surpassing both of the performances I have, and although he is slower that both Malcom Frager for Kempe and Jean-Yves Thibaudet for Herbert Blomstedt (475 6550), he never seems to drag…”

Stuart Sillitoe, MusicWeb International [full review]

Reviews of 'Irish Piano Concertos' album:

“...performed with zest and sensitivity by pianist Michael McHale with the RTÉ National Symphony under Courtney Lewis... McHale makes a potent case for all of it…”

Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle [full review]

“ interpretation that is as assured as it is distinctive... The cleanness and precision of McHale’s playing comes across in the concerto’s finale... it is here that the tight synergy between conductor and pianist really comes across...”

Adrian Smith, Journal of Music in Ireland [full review]


More reviews from Classic FM, The Irish Examiner, MusicWeb International and Classical Notes 

Reviews of 'Schubert: Four Impromptus' album:

“…McHale reveals a reverential approach that not just pays tribute, but also revels in the glorious light-and-shade nuances of each piece… a brilliant interpretation that does full justice to the lyrical genius of their creator…”

Dick O'Riordan, Sunday Business Post [full review]

More reviews from Classical Ear and Classical Notes

Reviews of 'The Irish Piano' album:

“…‘The Irish Piano’ is a scintillating and sometimes whimsical recital… Fascinating from start to stop, this album has lovely stuff that you won’t hear anywhere else…”

Norman Lebrecht's  CD of the Week [full review]

“…all of the music comes to life through the singing sensibility of McHale's sensitive and polished pianism… it's easy to recommend such a highly distinct and imaginatively presented release…”

Jed Distler, Gramophone [full review]

More reviews from The Irish Times and MusicWeb International

Reviews of the McGill/McHale Trio's début album, 'Portraits':

“…This unique and superlatively played release is one of the most remarkable listening experiences of recent memory, and it demands to be heard by anyone who calls him- or herself a music lover. How's that for a recommendation?…” 

Ronald Grames, Fanfare Magazine

“…The McGill brothers boast stunningly clear and resonant woodwind timbres, exquisite balance and blend, sensitive phrasing, and expert technique; and McHale matches them with superb touch, voicing, pedal work, and musical instinct, including a good sense of when to go for broke. He also offers marvelous arrangements, organizing the colors of the flute, clarinet, and piano to optimum effect…” 

Patrick Hanudel, American Record Guide

More reviews from Classical Ear, I Care If You Listen, Audiophile Audition, Black Grooves, Classical Voice North America, and El Nuevo Herald

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