Music review: Mitsuko Uchida
Edinburgh International Festival Scotsman review: Mitsuko Uchida at The Usher Hall, reviewed by Ken Walton
Mitsuko Uchida’s solo programme last night focused exclusively on Germanic keyboard repertoire, pitting Bach against Schoenberg, with a sizeable chunk of Schumann as Romantic middle ground.
The first two composers allowed Uchida to pick up where she left off in Sunday’s exquisite Beethoven concerto performance, though in her Bach openers there was stylistic attitude, giving both an outward glow to the hard-edged Prelude and Fugue in C, but shading the Prelude and Fugue in F sharp minor with deeper, darker hues.
Then Schoenberg’s Six Little Piano Pieces, Op 19, and the elemental nuclear world of the 20th century miniature.
Uchida’s performance was a compelling microscopic study of Schoenberg’s ultra-condensed musical gestures, even the minutest details laced with ringing expressive relevance.
The remainder of the programme focused on Schumann, and a series of performances that saw Uchida really open up her dynamic and emotional range.
After the picturesque nuances of Waldszenen, the robust intensity of the Piano Sonata in G minor, a powerful fusion of rhapsodic passion and heart-felt lyricism.
And finally, a return to the autumnal delights of Gesänge Der Frühe, an idyllic ending to an evening of true poetry.
Originally published in The Scotsman