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Piano Dreams
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: Aria [3:20]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Piano Sonata in A Major, K. 331, No. 11: Alla Turca [3:14]
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Piano Sonata in C Minor, Op. 13, No. 8 'Pathétique': II. Adagio Cantabile [4:16]
Für Elise, WoO 59 [2:46]
Franz LISZT (1811-1886)
Grande Étude de Paganini for piano in G-Sharp Minor, S. 141: La Campanella [4:56]
Liebesträume in A-Flat Major, No. 3: O Lieb [4:26]
Antonin DVOŘÁK (1841-1904)
Humoreske in F-Sharp Minor, B. 138: Vivace [3:22]
Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Kinderszenen, Op. 15, No. 7: Träumerei [2:31]
Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918)
La Fille aux Cheveux de Lin, L. 33 [2:44]
Clair de Lune, L. 32 [4:38]
Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849)
Grande Polonaise Brillante in E-Flat Major, Op. 22, No. 2 [6:45]
Nocturne, Op. Posth.: Lento Con Gran Espressione [3:28]
Etude in E Major, Op. 10, No. 3: Lento Ma Non Troppo [3:43]
Nocturne, Op. 9, No. 2: Andante [3:48]
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)
Sechs Lieder Ohne Worte, Op. 19: I. Andante Con Moto [3:22]
Isaac ALBÉNIZ (1860-1909)
Suite Espagnole, Op. 47, No. 5: Asturias [6:35]
Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)
Romeo and Juliet; Montagues and Capulets, Op. 75 No.10 [3:36]
Yuko Yamashiro (piano)
rec. Kerzlin, August 2012
BELLA MUSICA BM312449 [67:39]

Bella Musica has a line in lighter aspects of the repertoire, and in producing discs such as this, which may appeal to the casual browser. It’s a ‘best of’ piano recital, the kind of thing that existed even back in the days of shellac, when little ten or twelve-inch albums of well-known pieces were available.

The Japanese pianist Yuko Yamashiro is the protagonist, born in Yonago, and who studied in Tokyo from 1993 to 1997. She then continued in Berlin for five years and this is where she began giving concerts, winning third prize at the Paris International Piano Competition in 2002, and first prize the following year at the Maryse Cheilan competition. She has since returned to her native country where she performs and teaches.

Her Mozart is more successful than her Bach, though it’s hardly fair to judge her on the basis of just the Aria from the Goldberg Variations and the Alla Turca from Mozart’s K331. The slow movement from the Pathétique sonata is straightforward, but her Liszt La Campanella could be both tidier and more thoughtfully shaped. It sounds like it needs work. Her Dvořák Humoresque sounds like a bit of a Gondola-study and it’s not very romantic, whilst her Debussy is stymied by a rather one-dimensional tonal palette, though the technique is clean and clear. Chopin’s Grande Polonaise brillante, Op.53 lacks power - I’m assuming from this performance that she has small fingers. There’s a distinct lack of weight, and it’s not down to the recording level. It’s also an inconsistent performance with some serio-comic voicings. Significantly better is the Nocturne Op. Posth.: Lento Con Gran Espressione arguing for her stylistic acumen when she has the right repertoire. Alas, the companion, the famed Op.9 No.2 Nocturne is a bit heavy-handed. Asturias replenishes the good and her Liebesträum No.3 knocks spots off her disappointing La Campanella.
Jonathan Woolf