Sunday, June 7, 2009

Nobuyuki Tsujii (final recital)

Well, I could have predicted from the outset than Tsujii would be better suited to middle-period Beethoven than late Beethoven. He started his recital with the "Appassionata" Sonata, and he took the first movement slower than usual (slower than I would have liked, frankly), but it still worked from a musical standpoint. The second and third movements impressed me more than any of his solo playing. The second was done with sensitivity and tact, and the third evoked Beethoven's characteristic angst pretty well. Hmm, maybe the shallow first-round performance was the result of nerves, and he's settling down as a musician now that he's gotten comfortable with the crowds here.

He played Chopin's Berceuse next, a lullaby with increasingly complex configurations played over an unchanging soothing bass line. I liked the shaping he did on the piece's simpler melodic phrases, but I've heard it played to more spine-tingling effect elsewhere. It was a professional account of the piece. He ended with Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, and I always admire any pianist who plays it without being intimidated by the specter of Bugs Bunny. Tsujii took a middle-of-the-road approach that I liked, not trying to speed it up and show that he can play it superhumanly fast, and not slowing it down and trying to show that it's a serious piece of music. (Because it's not.) This pianist still isn't all there as an interpreter, but more than ever I'm convinced that greater emotional depth and intelligence will come in the future. He has everything else he needs to make a career.

1 comment:

  1. I thought that the choice of HR2 maybe wasn't the best, because it's a piece that really calls for a lot of bravado and hand lifting and visual efect to pull off, something that Tsujii cannot do with the need to feel for the keys constantly. The rest of the recital was quite good.