An inspiring piano recital with young Yu Kosuge
Fantasy is essential to all art forms. Only in music, however, is there a whole compositional category devoted to it. Originally, Fantasy referred to an impromptu instrumental piece. By the 18th century, however, it had evolved into thematically independent instrumental compositions with deliberate, idiosyncratic variations.
On Friday evening in the Nikolaisaal Foyer, Japanese-born Yu Kosuge (1983) gave a stylistically confident performance of Fantasies from Bach to Manuel de Falla. Similar to Bach’s two-voiced inventions, a Fantasy in C Minor was followed by a true virtuouso piece in A Minor. With restrained pedal usage, Yu Kosuge came very close to a perfect Bach interpretation. With Mozart’s Fantasy in D Minor she once again exactly found the right tone and, with precise piano touch, brought a rendition of this work from 1782 to life.
Haydn’s Fantasy in C Major sounded unmistakably like the final movement of a Haydn piano concerto. To complete the three most famous classics, she followed with a very typical Beethoven Fantasy in the far-flung key of B Major. The piece begins with downward tumbling tonal cascades and only cautiously, interrupted by racing sequences, does the lyrical theme take on shape.
Towards the end, the Fantasy dissolves into a theme with variations. Yu Kosuge completely satisfied Beethoven’s demands and she demonstrated the same mastery in Schubert’s Grazer Fantasy. A feisty dance in the middle of the piece released the listener into the intermission. The second half turned romantic with Chopin’s great Fantasy in F Minor from 1840/41. Naturally, Rachmaninow could not be omitted from these Fantasy references. His piece, influenced by Schumann, and the Fugue in D Minor were reminiscent of the first part of Bach’s Well Tempered Piano. But the absolute hit was the final piece of the evening. The Fantasy Baética, dedicated to Rubinstein, united utmost virtuosity with the folkloric passion of de Fallas’ Spanish homeland. These Fantasies, in their unity with composition and interpretation were pure pleasure, highly coveted and served well by the young pianist.