One of the most grown-up review sites around

2019
51,000 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

TROUBADISC

colourful imaginative harmony
Renate Eggebrecht violin


Leticia Gómez-Tagle
Chopin, Liszt, Scarlatti


Bax Piano Music


Guillaume LEKEU


 


Superior performance


Shostakovich 6&7 Nelsons
Notable


Verdi Requiem Thielemann


Marianna Henriksson
An outstanding recital


Arnold Bax
Be converted


this terrific disc


John Buckley
one of my major discoveries


François-Xavier Roth
A game-changing Mahler 3

........................................

Bryden Thomson


Symphonies


Vaughan Williams Concertos


RVW Orchestral

 

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.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849)
Autour des Ballades
Andante spianato et Grand Polonaise brillante in E flat, Op. 22 [14:04]
Fantaisie-impromptu in C-sharp minor, Op. 66 [4:56]
Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op. 23 [9:36]
Waltz in A minor, Op. 34 No. 2 [6:04]
Ballade No. 2 in F, Op. 38 [7:47]
Ballade No. 3 in A flat, Op. 47 [7:23]
Nocturne No. 13 in C minor, Op. 48 No. 1 [6:05]
Ballade No. 4 in F minor, Op. 52 [11:28]
Nocturne No. 4 in F, Op. 15 No. 1 [4:07]
Etude No. 3 in E, Op. 10 No. 3 [4:23]
Kotaro Fukuma (piano)
rec. 2013, Cosmos Hall, Tokyo
EDITIONS HORTUS 118 [75:53]

Every new Kotaro Fukuma album is better than the last. This is a very mature, accomplished Chopin album, in which the pianist skilfully blends the composer’s power and poetry. I don’t mean that as a generality or a platitude. Fukuma demonstrates a gift both for Chopin’s full emotional spectrum. Moments on this album call for the softest of touches, while others demand thundering virtuosity; this pianist can do both. He can even combine them. Listen to the way his tasteful pauses in Ballade No. 4 never become arch and never threaten the work’s irresistible momentum.

You want panache? The last ballade’s coda is played as dazzlingly, and flawlessly, as anybody since Sviatoslav Richter. This is one of my ten or twenty favourite works in all of classical music, and I get picky. Fukuma times the deceptive calm fake-ending perfectly, then gets through the knotty final moments with clarity and power. The cascading chords are rarely better-judged. His Fantaisie-Impromptu is a knockout, especially - again - the ending, where his virtuosity sails off the charts.

You want sensitivity? How about the Nocturne Op. 15 No. 1, the main theme of which is played very quickly but with such a delicate touch that it still feels ethereal. Try the album-opening Andante spianato, divine. Fukuma’s encore is the Etude Op. 10 No. 3, a piece he has worked on since it was his childhood favourite. He gets sentimental over it, in a very slow, emotive performance, but you’re allowed to be sentimental in an encore, right?

I don’t have much else to say. The pianist’s personal notes about the music are touching. The recorded sound is state-of-the-art. His keen fashion sense continues to add a tiny extra element of appeal to each album cover but the most important thing about a Chopin recital is, does it deliver the goods? Does it present the poetry, the sensitivity, but also the classical rigour, the technical innovation and the raw energy? In this case, the answer is a decisive yes. One of the best Chopin recitals in recent years.

Brian Reinhart



 

 



We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 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

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