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Friday, Dec. 14, 2007


Sincere approach to Mozart's sonatas

Special to The Japan Times

Kazuko Nagatomi, "Mozart: Piano Sonata Zenshu Vol. 1" (Columbia)

From one of the most esteemed interpreters of Mozart came this year the long-awaited first volume of the composer's piano sonatas.

Though Nagatomi clearly has thought hard in order to understand Mozart's music, her playing remains relaxed and natural in the way it strips back any artificial edifice: She acts as a filter that reveals how Mozart originally intended his sonatas to be played. The sincerity to her playing is what marks her out as a true individual.

Nagatomi currently lives in France, where she instructs students in her own piano method — this at a time when students seem to want to simply mimic their instructors because they lack individuality, and those capable of showing something artistic in their playing are becoming rarer and rarer. With globalization making the exchange of teaching methods easier, it's unlikely that this situation will change anytime soon. That makes Nagatomi's individuality all the more precious.

Also recommended

Best DVD: Hilary Hahn, "Portrait" (Universal)

Best reissue: Johann Sebastian Bach and Tatiana Nikolayeva, "Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier Books I and II" (Victor)

Best box set: Glenn Gould, "The Complete Original Jacket Collection" (Sony Classical)

Naoyuki Akiyama is a staff member at Disk Union Ochanomizu Classical Music Store, Tokyo.

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