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Symphony
SO CO PHIL BON VOYAGE CONCERT AN ODYSSEY OF CONTRASTING SOUND
by Terry McNeill
Friday, June 15, 2018
In a splashy bon voyage concert June 15 the Sonoma County Philharmonic Orchestra launched its June 17-25 Costa Rica tour, performing gratis in Santa Rosaís Jackson Theater the repertoire for tour concerts in San Josť, Costa Ricaís capital, and in surrounding towns. Conductor Norman Gamboa pr...
Chamber
COMMANDING CHOPIN AND DEBUSSY IN SLV RECITAL
by Terry McNeill
Wednesday, June 06, 2018
Concerts at the classy Spring Lake Village Retirement Home in Santa Rosa have admission limited to residents and a few guests, but the chance to hear a first cabin North Bay pianist June 6 brought a Classical Sonoma reviewer into the audience of 100. The crowd numbers were unusually low due to a ba...
Recital
MUSICAL ALCHEMY INSIDE A HIDDEN GEM
by Kayleen Asbo
Friday, May 25, 2018
The Petaluma Historical Library and Museum is a hidden gem of Sonoma County, a gracious†building†that is one of Sonoma Countyís loveliest venues for chamber music concerts, with a fine period piano particularly suited to Romantic music.† Of the surprisingly large array of festivities there, one of t...
Chamber
FINAL VOM MUSICIANS CONCERT IN SCHROEDER A SCHUBERT DELIGHT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, May 12, 2018
It's rare to have the opportunity to compare in a short period two performances of the same major Schubert work, in this case the great B Flat Piano Trio, D. 898. The chance came May 12 when the Valley of the Moon Festival musicians played it in Schroeder, just over a month since the Hallís residen...
Symphony
FERRANDIS BIDS ADIEU WITH MAHLERíS FINAL SYMPHONY
by Steve Osborn
Sunday, May 06, 2018
Sonoma State students in graduation robes posed for pictures and hugged each other at the universityís stone gates on Sunday afternoon, mirroring the prolonged farewells within the universityís Green Music Center, where Bruno Ferrandis bid adieu to the Santa Rosa Symphony after a dozen years at the ...
Symphony
SONIC SPLENDOR AT MARIN SYMPHONY SEASON FINALE
by Abby Wasserman
Tuesday, May 01, 2018
The Marin Symphony Orchestra ended the current season with a flourish, interpreting big and small works by Richard Strauss and Stravinsky. Strauss and Stravinsky were contemporaries for 40 years, but inhabited different worlds. Both composers were affected by cataclysmic changes and war, and musical...
Symphony
ORGAN SYMPHONY IN SSU ORCHESTRA CONCERT IN WEILL
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 29, 2018
Though Classical Sonoma seldom reviews student concerts, as ample North Coast concerts keep the staff of 11 reviewers busy. But the chance to hear the Sonoma State University Orchestra tackle St. SaŽnsí majestic Organ Symphony April 29 was a rare opportunity and not easily to be missed. Avec lí...
Recital
HEAVENLY SCHUBERT AND DEMONIC CHOPIN
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, April 21, 2018
One of the anomalies in the long ago ďGolden EraĒ of romantic pianism (about 1905 to 1940) is that the virtuoso giants of the time didnít play Schubert. It took the German pianist Artur Schnabel to bring the beauties of Schuberís work to the publicís attention, and now they seem to be on almost ever...
Symphony
SPLENDID JUPITER AND ZOOMING CONCERTO AT VALLEJO SYMPHONY SEASON FINALE
by Terry McNeill
Sunday, April 15, 2018
Over the past two years the Vallejo Symphony has made big changes, moving from a stark middle school auditorium to the snazzy remodeled 1911-era downtown Empress Theater, and engaging Marc Taddei as its seventh conductor. April 15 was the seasonís final concert of the 86th season. In a programmin...
Chamber
VIRTUOSO CELLO AND GUITAR TRANSCRIPTIONS AT RAC SEBASTOPOL CONCERT
by Terry McNeill
Saturday, April 14, 2018
Listeners and yes even music critics usually prepare for a concert with research, checking recorded performances, looking at artist biographies and even reviewing sheet music. This was a difficult task for the April 14 Redwood Arts Council concert in Sebastopolís Community Church, as the performers...
SYMPHONY REVIEW
Mastercard Performance Series / Friday, May 01, 2015
Nobuyuki Tsujii, piano

Pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii

MOUNT TSUJII ERUPTS AT THE GREEN MUSIC CENTER

by Nicki Bell
Friday, May 01, 2015

A great painter changes the way we see and understand the world. The extraordinary Nobuyuki Tsujii, a 25-year-old Japanese pianist blind since birth, changes the way we hear music. He has a transformative power. Formidable technique, a staggering mastery of pianistic and tonal color, surprising tempo surges and lingerings, intense musicality--all these phrases hardly begin to describe the uniqueness of his musical voice and the thrilling nature of his performances, including the one at the Green Music Center on Friday evening, May 1, which featured gems by Chopin, Liszt and Beethoven.

Tsujii pulled the audience into his world with the opening notes of Chopin's Nocturne, Op. 9, No. 1. The whisper of pianissimos, the quick surges of intensity, the extreme and instantaneous dynamic shifts--they all made perfect musical sense. The subsequent Nocturne (Op. 9, No. 2) had moments of such limpid quietude that the full house seemed to stop breathing so as not to lose a moment of the magic. Tsujii's concentration is extreme. With his isolation from visual distraction and the focused attention of his listening, the clarity of his playing is thrilling.

With his formidable technique, Tsujii brought moments of ecstasy to Chopin's late Barcarolle in F-sharp major. His exquisite trills were a blur of sound, just a vibration. Using his left hand as an engine, he displayed phenomenal power in the driving middle section.

The Consolation No. 3, written by a grieving Franz Liszt after Chopin's death, was exquisite. Liszt's Mephisto Waltz No. 1, "The Dance in the Village Inn," had the devil in it, every extreme, from playing as fast as humanly possible to blessed quietude and back to staggering passion. Tsujii conveyed the colors and fullness of sound of a complete orchestra. He literally filled the hall, and the audience went crazy.

After intermission, Tsujii started Beethoven's "Pathetique" Sonata so slowly, so quietly, so daringly that you could not anticipate the speed, even though you knew what was coming. No matter how often you have heard this sonata--and it is often played--it becomes a new world in this young master's hands. So too with Beethoven's "Appassionata" Sonata, a huge work with mountains of difficulty, one of the composer's most violent and passionate creations. In Tsujii's hands, the tonal and emotional contrasts of the three movements kept building and building all the way to the thrilling conclusion.

The audience did not want to let Tsujii go, so he played three encores. The first was his own rendition of Stephen Foster's "I Dream of Jeanie," the second his own sweetly lyrical song, and the third a magnificent rendition of Liszt's "La Campanella." The only way for Tsujii to leave the stage was to close the lid of the piano's keyboard.