Reviews

The Times, Geoff Brown

“Take the pianist Chisato Kusunoki. She’s emerged from Oxford and the Royal Academy of Music with wonderfully fleet and supple fingers, patient quick to locate the music’s inner voices, able to dapple and perfume …She’ll be heard from; she’s got it.”

The Straits Times, Chan Tou Liang

“Some of the pre-requisites to perform Russian piano music convincingly are emotional heft, physician an iron-clad technique and loads of reserve. While one does not need to be Russian or at least Slavic, order it certain helps. It was thus a pleasant surprise to see a UK-based Japanese pianist wrestle with the Russian bear and come out victorious and pretty much unscathed.

Chisato Kusunoki packs a wallop within her tiny frame. For Alexander Scriabin’s fiery Third Sonata in F sharp minor which opened her 2-hour long recital, the music tread the fine line of being copy-Chopin to bursting free from all fetters. She shaped the lyrical phrases beautifully, especially in the languid slow movement, and went for broke in the volatile and breathless finale. Poised and polished, she was unafraid to throw off the gloves and go bare-knuckled.

Equally enthralling were two contrasting Transcendental Études by Sergei Lyapunov, an obvious homage to Liszt’s virtuosity. The serene Lullaby luxuriated in Borodinesque harmonies while the harrowing Lesghinka, a coruscating Oriental dance, found her in imperious form. If there is a work to outdo Balakirev’s overplayed Islamey Fantasy, this is it. Students and serial competitors take note!

Demonstrating she was not just dizzying fingers, her selection of three Tchaikovsky Seasons – the slower and more introspective ones – revealed a more intimate side. In Autumn Song (October), Kusunoki’s uniting of two disparate voices was a model of particular beauty and sensitivity.

In Rachmaninov’s Six Moments Musicaux (Op.16), all the critical faculties for a memorable performance came to bear. Her gift of cantabile served the first and fifth pieces well, the former never a slave to the right hand’s vertiginous maneuvers and the latter reliving the joy of arch-simplicity. Razor-sharp reflexes also weathered the whirlwind tempos of the second and fourth Moments, with lots more to spare.
The brooding third number, the most Russian of the set, probed deeply into the collective psyche and offered up some secrets. For the final C major romp, she unleashed the roar of the ocean, approximating the power of a Lazar Berman, but without the pummeling brute force. Her lovely encore, a Chopin nocturne and the only non-Russian work, marked a welcome return to solace and serenity.”

The Record Geijutsu, Naomi Toyama

“…In such opulently virtuosic pieces, cialis Chisato plays with a sense of freedom; she is a pianist possessing extreme technique and sensitivity. We draw special attention to her choice of rarely played works along the standard repertoire… Every note is clearly judged even in the rapid passages…the poetic element of Russian music is beautifully brought out and the overall balance is well maintained…”

International Record Review, Francesco Burns

“Chisato Kusunoki shows a particular sensitivity to texture in the first and fifth movement (of Rachmaninov’s Moments Musicaux) and the third movement treated with just the right amount of gravity and restraint…Kusunoki shows subtle and controlled weighting and touch in the way she sings the melody through the frenetic texture of the second and sixth movements-Kusunoki remains precise throughout…Kusunoki handles the sudden shifts of rhythm (Sonata in G minor by Medtner) with vitality and assured precision. She is particularly arresting in the Andante Lugubre, buy showing a delicate sense of touch and shading. Her tempetuoso is not overdone but rather suitably tempered to fit in with her general sweep of the movement…There is much to be said for her natural, drug lyrical phrasing throughout the work…To close the recital we were treated to three gems from Lyapunov’s set of Transcendental Studies Op 11…Kusunoki shows a particular facility with rapid, light piano runs. Most impressive is the Berceuse. Kusunoki’s gentle approach makes for a performance of subtle colour and warmth along with a charming singing tone.”

The Straits Times Singapore, Chang Tou Liang

“Japanese pianist Chisato Kusunoki has garnered a reputation as a fine interpreter of Russian music. In the six early Moments Musicaux Op 16 by Rachmaninov she finds the perfect marriage of Schubertian lyricism with coruscating emotionalism…Kusunoki obviously loves this music and it shows in her brilliant and incandescent advocacy.”

Copyright © 2013, Chisato Kusunoki. All rights reserved
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