COMPOSERS: Beethoven,Chopin,Liszt & Musto
LABELS: Harmonia Mundi
WORKS: Piano works by Chopin, Beethoven, Liszt & Musto
PERFORMER: Nobuyuki Tsujii (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: HMU 907505
The 20-year-old Japanese pianist Nobuyuki Tsuji was born blind, and has been giving public concerts ever since his appearance at 12 years old in Tokyo’s Suntory Hall; these live recordings were made at the 13th Van Cliburn Competition, which he won.
The warmth of the applause indicates the extent to which he touched the audience’s hearts, but since this CD is in the marketplace, candour is required of a review.
He opens with a glittering delivery of the First Chopin Etude in which the balance between the hands is perfect, as it is in the Second, where the right weaves its rapid chromatic patterns over relaxed left-hand leaps.
But in the Third the emotion is understated; the Fourth is too hurried for the contours to emerge, and the ‘Black Key’ is mechanical. The sixth is devoid of any plangency.
Beethoven’s Hammerklavier is misconceived from the start. He can play the notes brilliantly, but there’s no weight behind his fingers and the drama is only hinted at. ‘La Campanella’ has ethereal charm, however.
Tsujii’s fastidious touch is a pleasure in itself, but he now needs to harness it to the character of what he is playing. Michael Church