Reviews of Beethoven-Liszt: Symphony no. 3 “Eroica” and Mozart-Alkan: Piano Concerto in D minor K.466

Paul Wee proves himself a master of these treacherously demanding transcriptions, sweeping aside the technical challenges to present these great works with consummate musicianship […] Wee astounds once more with his fearless daredevilry

Gramophone – Recording of the Month, December 2022

Paul Wee is a phenomenon […] This is one of the piano discs of the century, I have no doubt.

ClassicsToday – Disc of the Year, 2022

Let me try to explain just how implausible this recording is. Paul Wee is an Oxford-trained barrister, in the British parlance, who works in the tough world of London commercial law – litigation, arbitration, drafting, that sort of thing. His legal biography adds that ‘in his spare time, Paul is a keen pianist.’ […] On this third Wee album are Alkan’s transcription of Mozart’s stormiest piano concerto and Liszt’s rewriting of Beethoven’s ‘Eroica’ Symphony. The technical facility is stupendous, and seemingly fearless, but what is just as impressive […] is Wee’s basic musicality: his clean, meaningful delineation of textures, his feeling for overall architecture. This ‘Eroica’ may be the freshest, most spirited new Beethoven recording I’ve heard in a while.

The New York Times

Wee’s latest release has some of the most wonderful piano playing I have heard for a long time: Liszt’s transcription of Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony and Alkan’s arrangement for solo piano of Mozart’s D Minor Concerto K466. It is the kind of disc you don’t want to end.

International Piano

Paul Wee leads an extraordinary double-career life. On the one hand he is a barrister specialising in commercial law and arbitration, on the other he is an astonishing virtuoso pianist with an enterprising repertoire, remarkable energetic delivery, and sure-fire interpretive understanding. I found it hard to listen to anything but this new disc for over a week because the music is so compellingly recreated by true power-house playing of the highest quality. This truly is a recording that demands replay after replay, with sensational, inspirational and exuberant pianism in every track.

MusicWeb International

Barrister by day, pianist by night, Paul Wee is something of a one-off, and his third recording contains a surprise too. […] Wee conjures the compelling illusion of being both Mozart’s soloist and his orchestra [and]  does a wonderful job of honouring both Mozart and Alkan in a performance full of expression and drama. […] Wee tackles the revolutionary ‘Eroica’ Symphony with impeccable technique, captured in clean sound by the BIS recording team.

BBC Music Magazine

The periodic recordings of pianist Paul Wee, a practicing attorney as well as a musician, are events to be savored, but he may have outdone himself with this superb album of 19th century transcriptions for solo piano.  […] The entire album, one of the chart ‘hits’ of the 2022 holiday season, shows absolute mastery in music that, although popular in its time, is not terribly common today.


These are wonderful performances of works which, though so familiar as to be almost run of the mill in their original form, yield delightful surprises as piano pieces […] this disc is one that will bring rewards and great satisfaction each time you play it. Wee is a very special talent indeed.


Du grand piano, particulièrement réjouissant.


Reviews of Thalberg – L’art du chant

Three cheers, then, for Paul Wee who, having previously established his dazzling virtuosity in Alkan, now presents Thalberg’s entire  [L’art du chant] in delectably appealing performances. Wee effortlessly conveys Thalberg’s periodic illusion, as in Meyerbeer’s ‘Nel silenzio fra l’orror’, that three or four hands are involved. Where in Bellini, Donizetti, Gretry, Mercadante, Mozart or Weber, Wee’s richly evocative playing perfectly captures the spirit of each role. Not that L’art du chant consists only of operatic bonbons. ‘Sull’aria’ from The Marriage of Figaro is preceded by an extraordinarily vivid transcription of the ‘Lacrimosa’ from Mozart’s Requiem. Thalberg also draws on lieder, Wee’s gradations of texture for Schubert’s ‘Der Müller und der Bach’ being sublime. With a handful of Thalberg’s other arrangements as a welcome bonus and gorgeous recorded sound, this is one to cherish.

BBC Music Magazine (5/5, 5/5; Instrumental Choice)

Fans of Sigismond Thalberg’s flashy operatic paraphrases for solo piano, or of Paul Wee’s astonishing debut recording featuring the notoriously difficult piano music of Alkan, may well be disappointed here. Not because proof of either Thalberg’s artistry or Wee’s virtuosity is absent. Indeed, you could argue that evidence of both is even more abundant. It’s merely hiding in plain sight. If hidden evidence is not an oxymoron. In other words, this complete recording of Thalberg’s [L’art du chant] is one of the purest pianistic examples of art that conceals art. And it’s utterly magical. […]  Such is Wee’s supple technique and sensitive, highly expressive responses to both line and texture that you feel he must have absorbed fully the emotional import of the song text to achieve such profound effects. Just as the finest singers do.

Limelight (5/5; Editor’s Choice)

En donnant tout son lustre à cette apologie du bel canto, Paul Wee signe le plus riche portrait de cette figure méconnue de la musique romantique. Et confirm son statut de grant pianist.

Diapason (5/5)

Wee has shown in this beautifully recorded release […] that Thalberg is a far more important composer for the piano than current opinion would have it.


What sensitive, finely calibrated playing, every colour as lustrous as one could wish. And yes, the piano really sings, the music’s operatic ebb and flow maintained throughout. […] What’s even more remarkable is that I didn’t want the spell to be broken, and that, surely, is the highest praise I can give. This follow-up to Wee’s Alkan is everything I’d hoped for; it’s a superb recording too, even by the stellar standards of the house.

MusicWeb International (Recommended)

On one level this is an immersive listening experience; on another it is a vital musicological endeavour. On both, it succeeds beyond all expectation.

International Piano

Reviews of Alkan: Symphony for Solo Piano and Concerto for Solo Piano

His performance elevates the Symphony to a gold-plated universe: Herculean, sheerly perfect, eloquently musical; an immaculate clarifying tapestry of terraced registration, breathtaking in control and ardour […] this is not so much a recording for today as for all time. A defining choice.

International Piano (November 2023)

Wee’s technical command is awesome by any standards but he is no mere note-spinner, adding his own drama and colour to the bravura writing while being equally alive to the moments of lyrical repose. The spontaneity and drive of his playing smash the sterile confines of the studio. It is urgent, committed, compelling.  […] It will certainly be one of my Discs of the Year. It could become a classic.”

Gramophone (Editor’s Choice, November 2019)

Pugnace, puissamment énergique, d’une précision et d’une régularité stupéfiantes, l’interprète déclenche des déluges de notes avec une aisance déconcertante et montre un abattage digne des plus grands virtuoses d’hier et d’aujourd’hui.  […]  Le jeu idéalement clair de Paul Wee donne un impact explosif à ce ballet d’une difficulté démoniaque. En fin musicien, l’interprète sait aussi rendre justice (ça le connaît) au caractère élégiaque du bel Adagio. Après ces débuts étourdissants au disque, Paul Wee ne peut pas nous priver d’autres témoignages de sa maîtrise hors norme du clavier.”

Diapason (Diapason d’Or)

The fourth through the seventh of Alkan’s Twelve Etudes in the Minor Keys Op. 39 comprise his Symphony for Solo Piano, while Etudes 8 through 10 represent the more daunting Concerto for Solo Piano. They require a pianist who possesses transcendental technical prowess, the stamina of a marathon runner, a sure command of large-scale structure, rhythmic élan, and a large portfolio of nuance and color. Paul Wee is precisely this pianist and more.  […] To call this disc an auspicious solo recording debut is an understatement. Better to describe it with a single word: WOW!”

ClassicsToday (10/10)

To judge from his choice of Charles-Valentin Alkan, Wee is no slouch technically. The two works here (which are in fact Nos 4 to 7 and 8 to 10 respectively of Alkan’s Twelve Studies in Minor Keys, Op. 39) are only playable by a small number of super-pianists who can provide the required technique and stamina. The challenges of the Symphony for Solo Piano increase through its four movements, ending with a finale that demands whirlwind sprays of razor-sharp octaves. When Alkan writes “Presto”, he is not making it easy. With the Concerto, there is the added hurdle of differentiating between passages that are “orchestral” and “solo”, and often a combination of the two. Wee does this superbly, not only through dynamics but also by his expressive use of phrasing and tempo. His stamina is readily apparent in the first movement, which lasts for half an hour.   […] An exceptional recording in every way.”

Limelight (5/5)

But now comes Paul Wee who is not a professional pianist but an Australian barrister in London. Let me just say that his performances of both works are jaw-droppingly impressive. What sets this aside from the competition is the clarity and precision of Wee’s playing, combined with his ability for gradient colouring using a wide range of dynamics. I haven’t encountered a fiercer account of the Allegretto alla Barbaresca in the Concerto, nor a more mysterious Funeral March in the Symphony. But if you want to sample a combination of his lyricism and virtuosity just listen to the Adagio second movement of the Concerto for Solo piano and you will be easily convinced.   […] Paul Wee’s account of both works needs to be heard. Captured in ideal sound, he makes a strong compelling case for Busoni’s claim that Alkan was one of the great five composers for the piano since Beethoven.”

The High Arts (5/5)

Wee is a sensation; there’s no other word to describe his jaw-dropping playing. This is the Australian pianist’s debut album, and it’s a blockbuster. Yet here’s the shocker. Playing the piano isn’t even Wee’s day job. The piano, he tells us, is his ‘love,’ but professionally he’s a lawyer and barrister of London’s prestigious Gray’s Inn. I have a feeling that may change, though, as a result of this recording. No one who plays the piano like this can keep his talent to himself. That would be a crime against which barrister Wee would have to defend pianist Wee in court.   […] An exceptional release, urgently recommended to everyone.”


This is an utterly mind-boggling performance in every respect and a fitting conclusion to a marvellous performance of this complex and extremely taxing work.   […] I have no hesitation whatsoever as recommending this disc to anyone who enjoys superb pianism – made even more incredible by the fact that Paul Wee isn’t a professional pianist – he is a barrister by profession, albeit one who trained in music before switching to the law. I really don’t know how someone manages to juggle a full-time career and be such an amazingly talented pianist – as Alkan himself might have put it ‘Chapeau bas!'”

MusicWeb International (Recording of the Month)

‘Paul Wee – pianist and barrister’ is how this young Australian styles himself, and if his work at the bar is anything like as good as his pianism, his success in that business is assured. With this music, anyone’s pianism would be tested to its limits, for no 19th-century note-spinner built more towering keyboard edifices than these two works.  […] Wee’s recording earns him a place in the history books.”

International Piano (Critic’s Choice, February 2020)

Paul Wee, qui plaide la cause d’Alkan avec éloquence et sait se montrer convaincant – normal, il est avocat dans un grand cabinet d’affaires londonien –, aborde ces amples partitions sans effets de manche mais avec précision et simplicité, avec un son très contrôlé.

Classica (5/5)

[H]e achieves a filigree accuracy and, velocity aside, a tear-streak of real feeling  […]  it would be criminally negligent not to bring it immediately to your attention as my likely record of the year.”

The Spectator

[T]otally astonishing… an absolutely tremendous disc.”

BBC Radio 3 – Record Review