Reviews for Musicum Umbrarum:
“The central work on the CD is the towering Sonata for Viola Solo by György Ligeti. A relatively late work from 1991-94 it has a fascinating and original construction: a first movement played entirely on the low C string; a second of frantic double stops; a third movement of torment and struggle; a muted perpetual motion fourth; a fifth mostly in parallel seconds and sevenths; and a Chaconne chromatique to finish. Paull meets every challenge with ease and authority.
The final track is one that makes you look twice at the track listings to make sure you read it correctly – the Adagietto from Mahler’s Fifth Symphony, written as a love song to his then-new wife Alma. It’s an intriguing possibility, but the reality is even more intriguing, the piece being played entirely pizzicato as performed (and notated for Paull) by Ljova, the Russian violist Lev Zhurbin. It’s really quite beautiful, and a lovely ending to an outstanding debut CD.“
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“This debut by Pemi Paull shows a soloist who plays for the right reasons, and offers some much-needed attention on this oft-overlooked instrument in a solo capacity.Verdict: Recommended”
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“Parce que, en effet, quel interprète que ce Pemi Paull! Il révèle des trésors de textures sonores dans ce répertoire fort bien choisi pour défier nos habitudes d’écoute franchement pépères. Des habitudes nourries par la facilité et la satisfaction rapide qu’induit notre dépendance à certaines plateformes de réseau social peut-être? Pemi Paull nous emmène ailleurs (tant mieux), et il le fait avec grand talent et intelligence. L’auditeur explorateur aura matière à pleine satisfaction.“
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"Il faut signaler, parmi les moments forts du festival, son magnifique Prologue pour alto et résonateurs électroniques...rendus avec sensibilité et intensité par l'altiste Pemi Paull"
- Isabelle Picard, La Scena Musicale
"Tim Brady’s 24 Frames series (this double CD and its companion 24 Frames—Trance, from 2010) is about precision and virtuosity...The highlight of the duets is a lovely piece with violist Pemi Paull. The warmth of his playing adds a particularly good counterpoint to Brady and encourages a beautiful interlude between some of the more ostentatious work."
- Chris Kennedy in Musicworks #113 (Canada), July 1, 2012
"For me - and, I am sure, for others in the audience - the Violin Partita No.2, BWV1004, with its astonishing final chaconne, was the undisputed highlight of the evening. The latter, of course, is accustomed to transcription - Brahms, Busoni and Segovia, to name but three, all arranged it for their instruments. But the viola is particularly suitable (provided one does not mind its being played a fifth below written pitch) and one could argue that its weightier sound brings an even greater than usual profundity to the music - especially when it is this well played."
"To all of these challenges, and more, Paull rose with aplomb, playing stylishly and with great accuracy. He produced a wonderfully, richly eloquent zigeuner tone in the opening Hora lunga and some unearthly harmonics at its close. In fact each movement was clearly characterised and beautifully played."
- Deryk Barker, Music in Victoria
"It is my strong believe that violist Pemi Paull is an exceptional musical talent...I am very impressed by Paull's capacities, both intellectually as well as musically. He has shown a rare understanding of our profession. The versatility is amazing: from baroque to Ligeti, from solo performances to chamber music..."
- Henk Guittart, Violist of the Schoenberg Quartet and Co-Artistic Director of the Banff Centre
"Pemi Paull, avec son magnifique instrument, a su communiquer l'intrinsèque beauté de l'invention mélodique...Voila une maniere differente d'user de la 'monodie' d'autant plus convainquante que l'interprete, totalement engage, en fait resortir tout l'art inspire et inspirant".
- Francois Tousignant, Le Devoir
"Pemi is a very fine instrumentalist who showed in his excellent performances of the music of Ligeti, Shostakovich and contemporary Canadian composer Nicolas Gilbert that he not only possesses a well-honed and extremely fluent technique on the viola, but also a healthily inquisitive musical mind and a refreshingly versatile approach to different musical genres."
- Brett Dean Violist and composer. Artistic Director, Australian National Academy of Music, Melbourne, Australia
When Pemi Paull speaks about his playing style, he talks about motion and growth. He says that each aspect of the sound, however subtle, must move and grow, must be alive. As a listener I’ve been taken by his playing, specifically this constant motion. Each phrase, each note, in fact each part of each note, breathes a full life. Pemi brings many aspects of early music practice into his modern technique, and I believe it is this motion/growth/breath that defines the link – this kind of playing is seen in the best early music practitioners, but is very rare in the contemporary music world.
- Cassandra Miller, composer, winner of 2011 Canada Council Jules Leger prize for new chamber music