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Takenouchi moves with ease through dizzying interweavings

Diapason, Bertrand Boissard


Nikolai Medtner has no equal when it comes to hooking the listener from the very first seconds… even if it means losing them in dense, prolix developments. Such is the case with Improvisation No. 2 (“in the form of variations”), whose molto cantabile opening seduces with its thousand colours – the splendid sound recording contributes to this spellbinding effect.

Particularly admirable in the volcanic Tumulte dans la foule (seventh of the sixteen variations), Takenouchi moves with ease through these dizzying interweavings.

From Marcel Dupré, the dedicatee of Medtner’s Improvisation No. 2 (who composed it in France), the Japanese pianist presents the Variations Op. 22 (1924). Not particularly daring but certainly brilliantly written, the score proves gratifying for the performer: the Vif of Variation IX succeeds in its effect, as does the misty lassitude of the following one (Lento). Takenouchi easily supplants François-Michel Rignol’s stiff reading (Solstice).

Not far from equalling the success of Leif Ove Andsnes (Warner), he unfolds Grieg’s Ballade with sensitivity and power.

The splendour of a nobly sorrowful procession (Lento), fortississimos resounding “with all their might” (Meno allegro maestoso), the furious anger of the penultimate section: these are the contrasting stages in a journey through Scandinavian lands, the conclusion of this musical cabinet of curiosities in which it is a pleasure to browse.

Translated from French.

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