horizontal line

Nobiyuki Tsujii is remarkable. Blind from birth and joint winner in the 2009 Van Cliburn Competition, Tsujii (born 1988) is also a composer: there are two performances here of his touching Elegy for the Victims of the Earthquake and Tsunami of March 11, 2011 – played in each case as an encore.

Tsujii seems fearless (in the Cliburn Competition he elected to play Beethoven’s Hammerklavier). The performance of the Tchaikovsky first concerto, delivered in a terrific recording, is astonishing. Emotionally wide-ranging, Tsujii negotiates Tchaikovsky’s fearsome difficulties with ease. Yet actually, the strength of his performance is in its diversity. He has the muscular approach, but he can also melt the most graceful of phrases. Gergiev, meanwhile, does magnificently as his accompanist.

As well as Tsujii’s gentle, poignant Elegy, other encores included here are Rachmaninov’s Prelude Op 32 No 12 and a tender ‘November’ from Tchaikovsky’s The Seasons. The disc also includes a memorable Shostakovich Symphony No 14 (with Olga Sergeyeva and bass Yuri Vorobiev).

The Carnegie Hall debut is a great document of a personal triumph. It climaxes with a Musorgsky Pictures from an Exhibition that in its abandon is reminiscent of Richter’s famous Sofia account. Impressive also is the angular Improvisation and Fugue by John Musto.

There is also Peter Rosen’s 70-minute film, which touchingly tracks the life of Tsujii, confirming the pianist’s status as something of a modern-day miracle.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


   Read full review   


To continue reading, please upgrade to a premium account. You will have immediate full access.



Read more classical music reviews online here:



Piano International, 2015 - ©Rhinegold Publishing