Nakamatsu's Schumann


May 12, 2014

The Co-Artistic Director of the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival explores the serenity and passion of Robert Schumann's Papillons, Carnaval, and Sonata No. 2

Winners of major piano competitions are always at risk of being typecast, held by the expectations of concert presenters and their audiences to a particular style and range of expression that, after the bouquets and encores, may not be a reflection of an individual's true musical personality. Jon Nakamatsu ran that risk after his 1997 Gold Medal at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

Jon Manasse and Jon Nakamatsu

Jon Manasse (left) and Jon Nakamatsu

But he's emerged as anything but typecast. He leads a musical life defined by variety and eclecticism. The solo appearances with major orchestras that usually result from those competition wins are part of it, as are solo recitals. But as Co-Artistic Director of the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival, Nakamatsu, with Jon Manasse, also has a hand in shaping musical experiences with a larger arc.

That variety is perhaps the best kind of preparation for taking on Robert Schumann's music, as Nakamatsu has in a new recording. Unlike the unified grace and elegance of Mozart, for instance, or even the layered but cohesive moods of Brahms, Schumann's emotional palette calls for a quicker musical reflex. The ability to pivot between the two allegorical characters Schumann used as inspiration is central to interpreting his music.

As described in the program notes for this new recording, “Florestan was outspoken and impulsive, while Eusebius was more introverted.” Each, to fully communicate the core of Schumann’s genius, must be fully inhabited without reservation.

When an artist is equal to the task, the results are magical. We hear resonances of emotional truth unlike those expressed by any other composer.

Tune in to 99.5 WCRB all week to hear Jon Nakamatsu's Schumann.

To purchase this recording, visit ArkivMusic.

To hear Jon Nakamatsu and Jon Manasse perform in WCRB's studio, click on "Listen" above.


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