Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Sparkling, elegant, captivating

THIS recital, played on the church’s fine Augustus Forster piano, marked the fifth anniversary of the

THIS recital, played on the church’s fine Augustus Forster piano, marked the fifth anniversary of the Concerts in Caversham series and provided a rare and inspiring treat for concert-goers on a chilly autumn evening.

In the predominantly romantic programme, the brilliant young pianist Yuko Sano captivated the sizeable audience throughout with performances of incredible virtuosity matched with her wonderful musicianship.

Popular masterpieces were interspersed with some lesser-known works which displayed the breadth of Sano’s artistry. This was immediately apparent as Sano began her recital with the gentle, yet beguiling introductory bars of the Schubert-Liszt

Ave Maria
.

Out of this modest opening emerged the wonderful cantabile phrases of this famous lied — the singing melodic line sustained from beginning to end as both hands moved effortlessly up and down the keyboard in rapid succession to provide chordal accompaniment.



This is one of Liszt’s most difficult piano transcriptions, yet few would have guessed as much from this highly accomplished and sensitive rendition.

Next, for contrast, came one of Haydn’s most virtuosic works, the

Fantasia in C Hob.XVII:4
.

Here, sparkle and elegance were both present in equal measure, while the seemingly endless flow of arpeggios and scale passages were delivered with a lightness of touch and dexterity which kept the music buoyant throughout.

On to the contemporary item of the evening:

“Uninterrupted Rest No. 1: Slowly, sadly and as if to converse with...”
by Takemitsu, Japan’s most famous classical composer.

In this short interlude Sano’s accessible interpretation provided a reflective balance of silence and sounds — a tonal landscape influenced by French composers Debussy and Messiaen.

Chopin next with the

Polonaise-Fantasie in A flat major Op 61
, one of his last compositions. Sano’s interpretation here was poetic, serious and broad in scope with underlying shades of melancholy, whilst also retaining a distinctive reminder to us of the character of Poland’s national dance.

Chopin’s ever-popular

Nocturne in E flat major No 2
was a delight while the

Nocturne in C sharp minor No 20
, with its hauntingly beautiful melody, completely expressed the longing and reminiscence of happier times.

Ravel’s

Ondine
from

Gaspard de la nuit
is perhaps its most lovely movement. Here, the playing was ravishing, with the watery washes of sound perfectly depicting the magical world of the water nymph.

Liszt’s

La Campanella
, a real show-stopper, was delivered with total command and brought the programme to a resounding finish.

Review: Maureen Idowu



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