Nobuyuki Tsujii: Live at Carnegie Hall Blu-ray Review
- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
- Video Codec: MPEG-2
- Resolution: 1080i/60
- Audio Codec: PCM 2.0 Stereo; DTS-HD Master Audio 5.0
- Subtitles: None
- Region: ABC (Region-Free)
- Rating: Not Rated
- Discs: 1
- Studio: EuroArts
- Blu-ray Release Date: September 25, 2012
- List Price: $39.99
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When a famous violinist was asked, do you know how to get to Carnegie Hall, his oft-quoted response was simply: “Yes, practice, practice.” Obviously, young Japanese pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii heeded such advice. A co-winner of the 2009 Van Cliburn competition, Tsujii elicited this response from Mr. Cliburn himself: “You feel God’s presence in the room when he plays. His soul is so pure, his music is so wonderful and it goes to infinity, to the highest heaven.” Extreme praise from one of the piano legends of this or any other time! Tsuji was 23 at the time of this 2011 Carnegie Hall recital and what makes this story even more astounding is that he was blind from birth. Given the complexity of the piano literature, and particularly the pieces chosen for this program, I was continually amazed at this pianist’s sheer virtuosity and near-note perfect delivery. Besides two monsters of the piano repertory, Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and Beethoven’s “Tempest” Sonata, we are treated to a knuckle-busting Improvisation and Fugue by American John Musto, a Chopin Prelude, Lizst’s Un Sospiro, and Rigoletto-paraphrase for piano, Stephen Foster’s Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair, and Tsujii’s own composition, Elegy for the Victims of the Earthquate and Tsunami of March 11, 2011.
There are a lot of close ups of Tsjuii’s hands that, at times, seem to move at blinding speed, while his head bobs and weaves throughout the recital. Detail is fine, if not the last word in crispness, while the distance shots of the hall itself seemed a little out of focus. Some of the camera angles are sharper than others suggesting that equipment with differing resolution was used during the recording.
The sound engineers have nearly outdone themselves in the rich sound of the Carnegie Hall Steinway. The microphones are discretely placed to emphasize the sounding board and not the thumps of the pedals or clicks of the keys. I have rarely heard a live piano recording sound better than this one. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.0 soundtrack gives more depth and richness than the PCM stereo version.
Given the fairly recent arrival of this potential superstar on the world’s music scene, I would have loved to have gotten some interview material, particularly since this concert occurred only eight months after the disastrous tsunami in Japan. Unfortunately, just trailers for EuroArts BDs.
The Definitive Word
Lovers of the piano repertory will get a major wow factor feeling from a recital that would be an ambitious undertaking for any soloist let alone one so young. While there is little question about the sheer talent possessed by Tsujii, I felt that, in the larger pieces, he came up a bit shy in the insights and colors department. Of course, I have heard the Mussorgsky, Beethoven and Liszt selections played by such luminaries as Sviatoslav Richter, Vladimir Horowitz, and Vladmir Ashkenazy, so my bar is set quite high. The good news is that, given the obvious youth of Mr. Tsjuii, he will most certainly plumb the depths of the piano literature as he gains more life and concert experience. A recital debut not to be missed. The next Lang Lang, perhaps?
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