MusicWeb International reviews more classical CDs and DVDs than any other site

2020
53,656 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

a

 

 



selling Internationaly

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

Some items
to consider



£11 post-free anywhere
Normal service resumed


TROUBADISC

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


 

Recordings of the Month

July


KAPSBERGER
Che fai tù? - Villanelles


Cyrillus KREEK
The suspended harp of Babel


SHOSTAKOVICH
violin concertos - Ibragimova


Peteris VASKS
Viola concerto - Maxim Rysanov


The Complete Lotte Schöne

June


Beethoven String Quartets


Produzioni Armoniche


Seven Symphonic Poems


Shostakovich VC1 Baiba Skride
Tchaikovsky Symph 5 Nelsons


Vivaldi Violin Concertos

 

 

REVIEW
RECORDING OF THE MONTH
Plain text for smartphones & printers

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

Dumka
Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881)
Pictures at an Exhibition [33:53]
Mikhail GLINKA (1804-1857)
L’Alouette (transcribed by Mily Balakirev) [5:24]
Mily BALAKIREV (1837-1910)
Islamey, Op. 18 [8:43]
Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Dumka, Op. 59 [8:53]
Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971)
Three dances from The Firebird (transcribed by Guido Agosti) [11:14]
Kotaro Fukuma (piano)
rec. 2014, West Rock, Cognac, France
EDITIONS HORTUS 115 [68:07]

Japanese pianist Kotaro Fukuma keeps getting better and better. Turning 33 years old later this year, he landed on the scene in 2005 with a very good Schumann recital on Naxos, and then surveyed Toru Takemitsu’s piano music for the same label. Fukuma moved on to Denon and Editions Hortus, with a couple albums I haven’t heard, before appearing on MusicWeb International’s radar in 2013 with a fantastic Debussy recital.

It’s a joy to watch a young artist elevate his artistry with every new release. This Russian album is yet another step upward. It has some very big names (Mussorgsky’s Pictures, Islamey) mixed in with little-known works that deserve the same headline treatment. In memory of his teacher Busoni, Guido Agosti took the three final sections from the Firebird Suite and compressed them for piano. It’s a series of fireworks, especially the Infernal Dance, and Fukuma plays it to the hilt. He’s got virtuosity and panache in spades; if you’re going to listen to the Firebird on piano, it doesn’t get better. I wonder what Fukuma sounds like doing the piano version of La valse.

At the opposite end of the expressive spectrum, we have Tchaikovsky’s Dumka, probably my favourite piano piece by that composer. It’s a longer, more drawn-out and fully developed piece than the dumka dances by Dvorįk, and the anguished tone forbids the possibility of Tchaikovsky using one of his trademark balletic melodies. Fukuma shapes his performance beautifully. He does a sensitive job, too, with a lyrical transcription of a Glinka song.

The big draw is Mussorgsky’s Pictures, in a clean, crisp performance highlighted by the steady rhythm and drive of the promenades, Fukuma’s precise articulation of fast-fingered scenes like the market in Limoges, and his general mastery of piano tone and color. This is not the most distinctive reading, but when you combine a great instrument (Steinway D, in this case), a great microphone setup, and an artist who knows how to fully exploit those two things, the result is almost always rewarding. This is a state-of-the-art recording, proving that the label’s engineers have also improved since Fukuma’s Debussy recital.

If Kotaro Fukuma isn’t already on your shortlist of young pianists to follow closely, it’s time you added him. If you don’t think that Stravinsky’s Firebird could work on the piano, then you have another think coming.

Brian Reinhart



 

 



Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount



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



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