“Mr. Sauer, the violinist Ara Gregorian and the cellist Colin Carr opened the program with an involving performance of the ‘Ghost’ Trio, so nicknamed after Czerny wrote in 1842 that its slow movement reminded him of the ghost of Hamlet’s father. … The ensemble aptly conveyed the movement’s dark ambience.”

— The New York Times

“Colin Carr and Thomas Sauer demonstrated a refreshingly uncomplicated approach to Beethoven’s music for cello and piano in this BBC Radio 3 Lunchtime Concert at Wigmore Hall. Carr has clearly lived with and loved this music for some time, with every move and nuance borne out of instinct and familiarity. Crucially Sauer was on the same wavelength, for all of Beethoven’s duo-sonatas treat their two participants on equal terms.

 

The A Major is perhaps the best loved of the composer’s five cello sonatas…[t]he pianist was particularly sensitive in the finale, where the bravura of the figurations for right hand was intensely musical rather than obviously virtuosic…The pair’s proximity and attention to detail counted for much — here was chamber music performed and enjoyed as it should be.”

— www.classicalsource.com

“The concert by the duo of Colin Carr (violoncello) and Thomas Sauer (piano) proved very revealing in contrasting the eloquence of the mid-twenty-year-old [Beethoven] with the laconic severity of the seasoned master. Especially since Carr and Sauer performed the early pieces quite other than casually, they rather took them wonderfully seriously. Only this artistically serious standpoint made possible a clear insight and an appropriate comparison of both styles of a single composer. Carr’s slender, focused cello tone, [and] Sauer’s highly resolved, structurally clear piano playing provided for optimal transparency. Both the austere character of the C-major Sonata and the songlike compactness of expression of its sister-work in D major with its fugal finale stood out.”

— Frankfurter Neue Presse

“The American pianist Thomas Sauer, who studied primarily with Jorge Bolet and Edward Aldwell, has a discography that includes sonatas by Haydn and works for strings and piano by Britten, Hindemith, and Mozart. The present disc reveals him to be an accomplished pianist who is especially successful with the quirky humor found in Sonatas Nos. 16 and 18. In these works, his approach is understated and wry, with a discreet wink of the eye rather than the kick in the pants of some players. Everything is measured and in good taste, without exaggerations of tempo or dynamics. Certainly this is ideal in the first and second movements of both works, in which he finds an almost Mozartean elegance and transparency. His varied touches in the Adagio grazioso of No. 16 are executed with an etcher’s precision, with leggiero playing that a Gieseking might envy, and the tricky dynamic changes in the second movement of No. 18 are perfect.”

— Fanfare

“There’s an impressive depth of tone to Colin Carr’s sound…and he is accommodating of Thomas Sauer, whose pianism is similarly a fine blend of discretion and demonstration. What’s more, the recording balances the musicians as equals and with immediacy. … The finale is a tour de force for both musicians, their artistry superb and fed by technical sureness – both do nimble with commendable effortlessness – and their personal rapport.”

— International Record Review

“Mr. Sauer was joined by the cellist Colin Carr for an elegantly wrought interpretation of this genteel, ornamental piece, whose sunny dialogue unfolds gracefully, with the two instruments often finishing each other’s phrases. Mr. Carr’s singing tone, particularly lovely in the Adagio, complemented Mr. Sauer’s expressive playing.”

— The New York Times

“But what you noticed most [about] Mr. Sauer’s playing in…[the ‘Moonlight’ Sonata]…was the enduring mystery of the slow, simple introduction; even if you had heard the piece countless times, you were struck again by how the opening bars instantly pulled all rustles and sniffles into their velvet undertow.”

— The New York Times

“As played by Thomas Sauer, [‘The Dream Rags’ for Solo Piano by William Albright] were absolutely irresistible…[t]he rags, like Stravinski’s, are hugely difficult, especially ‘The Nightmare Fantasy Rag (A Night on Rag Mountain)’ with its occasional rapid stride bass, but Sauer managed it brilliantly, with a real feeling for the form.”

— Portland Press Herald

“Mr. Sauer gave the Piano Sonata [Op. 101] a modest but eloquent reading that made its points clearly and on a human (as opposed to a titanic) scale.”

— The New York Times

“Each work received the sensitive, carefully balanced and vibrant performance so typical of a Brentano concert…lush melodies occasionally pierced through the density and angularity of Carter’s 1997 piano quintet; Thomas Sauer was the fine soloist.”

— The Washington Post

“Carr and Sauer have spent this season immersing themselves in these wondrous works, performing the complete cycle in several cities across the country. That proximity to the music was clearly evident in their Salt Lake performance. They brought amazing insight into the music and a profound understanding of the intricacies of the works, dazzling their audience right from the start. …It’s absolutely no exaggeration to say that Carr and Sauer elevated chamber music to a higher level last week, and those who experienced it in person certainly have something they can cherish for a long time.”

— Deseret Morning News

“In the Brentano performance, with the pianist Thomas Sauer…technique was entirely secondary to the sheer magic of the constantly shifting flow of timbres that emerge as the five instrumental lines are alternately intertwined and dispersed.”

— The New York Times

“Mr. Sauer opened the concert with a vigorous performance of the Sonata No. 16 in G (Op. 31, No. 1), actually the latest work to be played, and the most rambunctious. Its chunky chordal opening and its exuberant finale show us a composer who draws his energy from at least the pretense of iconoclastic recklessness. But what, then, do we make of the gracefully ornamented Adagio grazioso? Mr. Sauer played it with an elegant formality that showed it for what it was: a feisty composer’s moment of good behavior between raucous pranks.”

— The New York Times

“Monday’s mostly young observers could not have asked for better role models. Thomas Sauer, who runs this institute, was a strong, watchful and well-informed pianist in both duo sonatas.”

— The New York Times

“Mr. Sauer’s pianism was the anchor in both works. In the ‘Archduke,’ it was truly central: the supple dynamic shadings that Mr. Sauer applied consistently set the tone for his collaborators … there was a warmth and vitality in Mr. Sauer’s keyboard textures that went beyond what was happening in the string lines, and that sometimes created the illusion that the music was being composed on the spot … . The Cello Sonata, for which Mr. Sauer was joined by Colin Carr, was more democratic. As fine as Mr. Sauer’s playing was here—and there were some remarkably crystalline textures in the closing allegro vivace—it never fully stole the attention from Mr. Carr’s magnificently deep, rich tone. Still, this was a collaboration, not a duel, and when they were at their best, probably in the Scherzo, Mr. Carr and Mr. Sauer made the music sing with an almost Schubertian lilt while preserving its purely Beethovenian muscularity.”

— The New York Times

“Sunday’s recital at the Holywell, the fourth in the society’s 2004/05 series, was a sublime display of virtuosity by two musicians of international stature. Colin Carr … and Thomas Sauer …established an instant rapport both with each other and with the audience, so the musical sparks began to fly early on… . Sauer … played with a conviction that elevated him above the status of mere accompanist.”

— The Oxford Times

“Cellist Colin Carr and pianist Thomas Sauer provided tonic by way of a vital, alert interpretation of Beethoven’s F major Sonata at the Mannes Beethoven Institute …[t]ogether, Carr and Sauer provided an ear-opening appreciation for Beethoven’s youthful musical genius.”

— The Strad

“[T]he Chamberfest included a crowd pleaser in the program—Schumann’s Quintet in E-flat Major, Opus 44, played enthusiastically by Sauer and the Brentano Quartet. … The quintet’s sparkling rendition of the final fugue brought a well-deserved standing ovation.”

— Portland Press Herald

“Messrs. Carr and Sauer gave a breathy performance marked by firm, limber textures, bright colors, and rhythmic verve worthy of the finest chamber music halls in New York.”

— The New York Sun

“Sauer’s technique is impeccable but never in evidence for its own sake. From the opening phrases, one feels a friendly warmth and welcoming lightness of spirit, punctuated by gruff cadences; all of this seems true to the composer and to the music. The pianist is engaged in an enlightened conversation with each individual listener. …These are experimental sonatas, in unconventional combinations of movements; Sauer, who obviously knows them well, seems to probe and find answers to reveal to us. … Sauer has a keen feeling for balance, both at the keyboard and interpretively.”

— Fanfare

“Mr. Sauer took over the stage for a reading of the ‘Diabelli’ Variations that was texturally transparent for all its overt finger power. It accomplished this work’s main task admirably, showing not only that Beethoven was able to build a magnificent edifice even on a foundation as dippy as Diabelli’s little waltz, but also that humor is as essential a component as pathos in this expansive exploration.”

— The New York Times

“Mr. Sauer, who has a nice, fluid, precise touch, opened the second movement with an appealing loose-limbed quality that tempered this Rondo’s tighter, classical air in an interesting way. … The pianist offered a fine lesson for students by daring to go out on a limb, letting his playing reach the expressive limits of a control that had earlier seemed on a tighter rein. It worked.”

— The New York Times

“More Beethoven was performed at the Mannes College of Music in two concerts presenting his sonatas for various instruments. Its highlight was the Cello Sonata Op. 69, played with great style, elegance, and concentrated expressiveness by Colin Carr and Thomas Sauer, the Mannes festival’s director and unexpected hero who, replacing an ailing colleague at the last moment, saved one program with a wonderful performance of a piano sonata.”

— Strings

“Pianist Thomas Sauer collaborated splendidly. … This was a uniquely satisfying recital.”

— The Washington Post

“The best of the concert was a performance of Mozart’s Piano Concerto in C Major, K. 415, with Thomas Sauer … as soloist. … Sauer did full honors to Mozart’s solo lines. He is a splendid pianist with a fine appreciation of the Mozartian style, tasteful, free from exaggeration, and always musically intelligent. He played Mozart’s cadenzas with deftness and charm.”

— Greenwich Time

“All played so well that they received an unusual number of curtain calls, but Sauer was outstanding in a score that is often a miniature piano concerto.”

— Portland Press Herald

“Violinist Mark Steinberg and pianist Thomas Sauer gave two concerts of 20th-century music at Mannes College … [t]he performances were terrific … Sauer is a superb pianist.”

— Strings

“[T]he F-sharp Major Prelude was magnificently heartfelt. Here, in the distant center of the key cycle, Sauer combined elegance, care, and calmness to create a time-stopping Nocturne. And in the C Minor Prelude, Sauer’s control of diminuendo was quite impressive. He was also at his best with rapid-fire passagework, such as the G Major, E-flat Major, and B-flat [Minor] Preludes. Sauer clearly demonstrated his affinity for technically challenging nineteenth-century music.”

— New York Concert Review

“On Sunday, Thomas Sauer chose Beethoven for his recital, playing the Bagatelle op. 33 no. 6 and the Pastoral Sonata. His rapport with these works, as a whole and with each detail, was intimate and affectionate in a way that recalled none other than Glenn Gould. Listen to a Gould recording, and you’re witness to a highly personal, one-on-one meeting of musician and music. Sauer’s Beethoven, similarly, made eavesdroppers of the audience—a wonderfully moving experience.”

— Seattle Weekly

“Sauer has long been a partner to Midori, and so Mozart’s F-Major Sonata, KV 376, came across in an interpretation marked by a lively chamber-music style that enjoyed to the full a richness of gesture, placing detail and the whole in an ideal unity … .”

— Der Tagesspiegel

“Midori conjured herself into these worlds, and was wittily and poetically supported there by Thomas Sauer.”

— Berliner Zeitung

“Violist Misha Amory and pianist Thomas Sauer proved to be a persuasive, technically impressive pair of young soloists at their Houston recital debut. … Pianist Sauer, who had been an important partner in the Schumann pieces, exhibited his own bold musical personality in a forceful performance of the mechanistic keyboard part to Hindemith’s Viola/Piano Sonata, Op. 25, No. 4.”

— The Houston Post