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Rich in tone and possessing an enviably secure technique – 5 Stars

Pianist Hiroaki Takenouchi - Sterndale Bennett And Schumann

Classical Ear, Andrew Achenbach
Sterndale Bennett and Schumann
Hiroaki Takenouchi

Rich in tone and possessing an enviably secure technique, the London-based Japanese pianist Hiroaki Takenouchi lends enormously persuasive advocacy to the substantial Sonata in F minor by William Sterndale Bennett (1816-1875).

Completed in 1837 and bearing a dedication to Mendelssohn, this 36-minute work in four movements is as impressive as it is neglected, launching most propitiously with a gloriously long-breathed Moderato espressivo worthy of Felix himself (exposition repeat rightly included) and attaining comparably eloquent heights in the Moderato grazioso slow movement (a deeply touching inspiration) and thrillingly combustible Presto agitato finale.

Not surprisingly, Takenouchi sounds utterly besotted with this cherishable discovery, and he goes on to give a no less accomplished rendering of Schumann’s magnificent – and technically daunting – Symphonic Etudes in their original guise, composed three years before Bennett’s Sonata and inscribed to the Englishman (the two works also share the same opus number). All in all, a very desirable pairing.

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A hugely enjoyable listen, played with infectious authority
Pianist Hiroaki Takenouchi - Sterndale Bennett And Schumann
Hiroaki Takenouchi does the piece proud
Unwavering conviction and … constantly expressive musicality
Pianist Hiroaki Takenouchi - Sterndale Bennett And Schumann
Exhilarating playing here from pianist Hiroaki Takenouchi
Pianist Hiroaki Takenouchi - Sterndale Bennett And Schumann
Takenouchi handles this with bravura ease and a warm, refined sound
Pianist Hiroaki Takenouchi - Sterndale Bennett And Schumann
Romantically affluent, poundingly sonorous and rich in pathos
Pianist Hiroaki Takenouchi - Sterndale Bennett And Schumann
Broad expressive capacity…..superb technical abilities
Pianist Hiroaki Takenouchi - Sterndale Bennett And Schumann
Brilliantly played by Takenouchi
Confidence, conviction and tremendous panache
Pianist Hiroaki Takenouchi - Sterndale Bennett And Schumann
His playing is rich, dazzling and intelligently shaped
Movingly Played
He is unfailingly convincing, his playing thoughtful, lyrical and spontaneous
A convincing advocate
Finely played
Gracefully expressive
Takenouchi will go far
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16/07/2020