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Nobuyuki Tsujii: Live at Carnegie Hall [Blu-ray]
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The recital starts with one of the test pieces from the van Cliburn competition, the Improvisation and Fugue by John Musto. This is a technically demanding piece requiring considerable digital dexterity but could not be described as exploring means of expression such as touch or lyricism or other means of expressing a player's sensitivity. The piece clearly establishes the `wow' factor however and thus we are prepared for a fairly robust interpretation of the Beethoven `Tempest' sonata. This robust side of Tsujii's playing is much in evidence throughout the recital and especially in the first half which concludes with Liszt's `un sospiro' (a sigh) and his Rigoletto paraphrase.
The second half of the recital is interestingly very pictorial in its inspiration. It starts with `Pictures at an Exhibition' by Mussorgsky and this is followed by the image conscious `Jeanie with the light brown hair' in Tsujii's own arrangement. Chopin's `Raindrop' prelude follows with its portrayal of rain dripping and the recital concludes with Tsujii's original composition `Elegy for the Victims of the Earthquake and Tsunami of March 11, 2011'.Read more ›
This video does not have the drama of Peter Rosen's acclaimed video "A Surprise in Texas", the documentary for the 2009 Van Cliburn International Competition, which propelled Nobu to international stardom. Just the same, it is a lovingly made tribute to the unique musical talent and indomitable spirit of Nobuyuki Tsujii.
Because I had heard Tsujii play the other works at previous concerts, the most interesting parts of the Carnegie Hall performance, to me, were the opening piece and the encores.
The recital started with John Musto's daunting "Improvisation and Fugue", performed with the composer in the audience that night. I cannot do better than quoting critic Gregory Sullivan Isaacs, who wrote thus about Nobu's performance of this piece in Texas in 2010: "It is amazing enough that he can make the wide leaps that Musto's composition requires and land so accurately. But, when you ponder that he learned this harmonically complex work note by note, without being able to see the music, the phenomenon that is Tsujii becomes something transcendental."
Of the three encores, the first was a real surprise. Titled a "Tribute to Jenny", it is an interpretation of a parlor song by American composer Stephen Foster (1826-1864): "Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair". Nobu the composer chose this song as a tribute to American music, and he is proud enough of this work that it is designated his Opus 1. The second is Frederic Chopin's Raindrop Prelude.Read more ›
The concert features the Improvisation and Fugue of John Musto, and moves right into Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 17 in D minor, Op. 31, No. 2 "The Tempest", and it is wonderful. But what follows, Franz Liszt's "Un sospiro" from Trois Etudes de concert, No. 3, is amazing - Mr. Tsujii definitely shows that the virtuosity required for this piece is not a problem for him in the slightest. Next is Liszt's Verdi Opera Transcription of Rigoletto for piano, and this is *amazing* and fun. I wish I had been there to hear this in person!
The real centerpiece of the concert, though, is Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition. Mr. Tsujii performs this work magnificently, with deft technique and sensitivity, as well as conveying the personality of each art work depicted by Mussorgsky. This piece gets a huge ovation from the crowd, and it is well deserved. Mr. Tsujii then plays his own arrangement of Stephen Foster's "Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair", followed by Chopin's Prelude in D flat major, Op. 28, No. 15, which is absolutely stunning, and ends the concert with a heartfelt work of his own, an Elegy for the Victims of the Earthquake and Tsunami of March 11, 2011. And Mr. Tsujii's reaction back stage after the concert is over is neat to see as well.
This video is wonderful. Highly recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent video quality. Had audio trouble with my first disc received but things improved greatly with its prompt replacement. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Lanse J.
No! It would not play on any of our players. I am sending it back....very disappointed...Thanks, Sally Bouton
This man has been blind since birth. What he accomplishes on the piano is amazing.I highly recommend this DVD. Just try it!Published on October 12, 2013 by Mary W.
She had a video of it and has played several times and wanted to make sure that she has an extra copy for then the video tape becomes unusable. Read morePublished on August 27, 2013 by L. Mansur
Nobu won GOLD at the Van Cliburn, and if Van were still with us, he would surely give him another award after the Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition as performed here on this... Read morePublished on July 5, 2013 by James T. Parsons
Such humility in this great artist. He doesn't realize how extra-ordinary his playing...both technique and expression.. Read morePublished on June 4, 2013 by Dave West
The most brilliant new pianist! Plays not only standard finger breakers, but the best Beethoven D-minor sonata I ever heard!!!Published on January 7, 2013 by Gabor Koves