One of the most grown-up review sites around

2019
52,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider


Yes we are selling
Acte Prealable again!
£11 post-free


we also sell Skarbo

and Oboe Classics


TROUBADISC

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas

Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website

WYASTONE releases



The Birth of Rhapsody in Blue
A superlative recreation


such a success


An outstanding performance


make acquaintance without delay


Violin Concerto
This is an impressive disc


Strong advocacy
for a British composer


Piano Music - Martin Jones
agreeably crafted


Piano Music 5CDs


Consistently fine


Rare and interesting repertoire


An excellent introduction


A Celebration on Record


An issue of importance


Richard RIJNVOS
A splendid disc


both enlightening and rewarding
additional review

 

REVIEW
Plain text for smartphones & printers

We are currently offering in excess of 52,000 reviews


Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount



Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage


a vibrant slice of life


BRITISH CELLO WORKS
stylistically assured


About Every Hill and Valley
Swedish Songs


Hallberg and Dente
interesting and most welcome


An inspired partnership
additional review


TOSCA
A valuable document



Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

 

Support us financially by purchasing
this disc through MusicWeb
for £14.99 postage paid world-wide.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918)
Reflets dans l'eau
Two Arabesques [7:20]
Images, Book I [15:40]
Ondine [3:28]
La cathédrale engloutie [6:01]
Estampes [13:47]
Clair de lune [4:59]
Images, Book II [14:07]
L’Isle Joyeuse [6:02]
Kotaro Fukuma (piano)
rec. 13-15 March 2012, Sagamiko Kouryo Center (?), Japan
EDITIONS HORTUS 113 [71:24]

Kotaro Fukuma is a very impressive young pianist. His strengths include a glowing soft touch that matches Debussy’s sound-world well. This is noticeable from the first track onwards, most of all in “Soirée dans Genade”; a gift for the bell and gamelan sonorities of “Pagodes” and “Et la lune descend…”. He has a dazzling ability to handle staccato notes with such precision that they all tell separately without the slightest trace of blurring, as in “Mouvement”. This last trait was apparent on his excellent debut CD, too: that was a Schumann album recorded for Naxos. The two Arabesques which kick off the recital make excellent showcases for all of Fukuma’s gifts all at once.
 
The “Hommage à Rameau”, taken at a slow hazy pace, is pretty far removed from anything Rameau could recognize. “Clair de Lune”, on the other hand, is relaxed in pace but utterly fabulous. The only significant flaw is a willingness to stop and smell the roses which nearly spoils the momentum of “Reflets dans l’eau”, when, near the climax, Fukuma pulls back for a moment and nearly kills the energy. This is not a huge problem, certainly nothing on the level of somebody like Lang Lang.
 
Part of the appeal of this album must be the 1912 Steinway Model D used; it doesn’t sound a world apart from today’s pianos. That said, I wonder if it helps Fukuma manage such glittering staccato runs and if the fragile-seeming high notes contribute to the magic of “Pagodes”. This is a joint production with Denon, and the sound quality is very good, although on a couple of tracks Fukuma’s clicking fingernails (?) become legitimately irritating. This nearly sinks the dazzling playing in “Mouvement”. I googled the recording venue listed and found no results to tell me where it’s located.
 
Thus, this is another excellent step forward for a pianist who slipped under the radar with that wonderful Schumann album (2005). Born in 1982, Fukuma has also recorded a solo Takemitsu recital (Naxos, 2007) and Albéniz’ Iberia (Hortus, 2012). MusicWeb International has not yet reviewed any of those, an error I will have to address in coming months.
 
Brian Reinhart