by Daniel Hathaway
Cleveland, OH — July 30, 2011
We went into this evening’s session eager to hear four pianists build on their achievements in the first round. We came away wondering what on earth had possessed them to attack their repertory so heavy-handedly.
Mr. Shinnosuke Inugai (29, Japan) led off with a promising and energetic A-Flat Prelude and Fugue (WTC I) with good cadential gestures in the prelude and clear counterpoint in the fugue. The two Chopin Scherzos (op. 39 and 54) that followed were curiously muscular rather than humorous and poetic. There were some nice touches (clear textures, poignant middle sections in the second and fine right hand passage work) but erratic tempos and aggressive drives toward climaxes obscured the architecture of the pieces. Atsuhiko Gondai’s Transient Bell (2009) was full of metallic effects and crystalline meanderings in the extreme treble as well as gratuitous piano tricks (too many full keyboard glissandi). Mr. Inugai played it enthusiastically, but the sonic effect was numbing. [Read more…]