Martin James Bartlett signs to Warner Classics

Gramophone Wed 30th January 2019

The 2014 BBC Young Musician winner releases his debut album in May

Martin James Bartlett: joining Warner Classics (Photo: Paul Marc Mitchell)

Martin James Bartlett: joining Warner Classics (Photo: Paul Marc Mitchell)

Former BBC Young Musician of the Year winner Martin James Bartlett has signed to Warner Classics. His debut album, titled Love and Death, will be released on the label on May 3, and will see the 22-year-old perform works by Prokofiev, JS Bach, Liszt, Schumann, Wagner and Granados.

‘I’m absolutely thrilled to have signed with Warner Classics and to release my debut album Love and Death’, Bartlett said. ‘These are two elemental themes that have inspired breathtaking masterpieces from poets and composers for centuries.’

The idea for the album's theme derives from Liszt’s transcription of Schumann’s lied Widmung, set to the poetry of Friedrich Rückert. ‘It is a love song that also speaks of death, and it ends with the piano quoting Schubert’s Ave Maria, introducing the idea of heavenly love,’ Bartlett explained. This diametric opposition permeates the entire album, with Liszt’s Liebestraum No 3 and his transcription of Isolde's Liebestod from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde also featuring. Bartlett's performance of Widmung will be released in advance of the album in April for streaming. 

Bartlett, from Hornchurch, Essex made his Proms debut the year after his 2014 victory in the BBC competition, performing Rhapsody in Blue with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. In June 2016 he performed at Her Majesty The Queen's 90th Birthday thanksgiving service in St Paul's Cathedral, broadcast on BBC 1. Last year saw his Japanese debut, both as a concerto soloist with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra and as a recitalist, whilst the current concert season also sees him making his debuts with the BBC Philharmonic (on February 8), the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the Philharmonia.

In signing to Warner Classics, Bartlett joins a roster featuring some of today’s most impressive young artists, including pianist Beatrice Rana, harpsichordist Jean Rondeau and violinist Vilde Frang.

Thomas Pinsker

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