Brahms: Piano Sonata In F Minor, Op.5

Album cover art for upc 093046733926
Label: HARMONIA MUNDI
Catalog: 907339
Format: CD

Nakamatsu is one of the more interesting piano prize winners of recent years. Not even a full-time pianist when he won the Van Cliburn Piano Competition in 1997, Nakamatsu has proven to have great sensitivity and a vivid musical personality, an artist of stature. Now he demonstrates the facility and self-confidence needed to play the Brahms Sonata, a legendary finger-buster. He does very well with it, storming through the most demanding passages and giving us gorgeous lyricism in the two slow movements. Curzon and Rubinstein have left mellower performances of this music, but Nakamatsu can't be faulted for youthful enthusiasm in this youthful work of Brahms. There is one mildly disappointing element in his playing of the wonderful short pieces, slightly shallow piano tone which leaves Katchen and Kempff as somewhat superior choices in this music. Still, Nakamatsu is very responsive to Brahms's volatile moods in this forward-looking music, which is still performed and recorded too seldom. This may not be a perfect release but it's a greatly satisfying one. --Leslie Gerber

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