Music beyond the senses. Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto with Nobuyuki Tsujii, the Romanian National Youth Orchestra, and Michael Sanderling at #EnescuOnline
Between April 29 and May 1, the Enescu Festival Online presents a concert that proves true what poet and Harvard Professor Henry Wadsworth Longfellow famously said, “Music is the universal language of mankind.” Performed in the 2019 George Enescu International Festival, on the Grand Palace Hall stage in Bucharest, the concert was presented by the Romanian Youth Orchestra conducted by Michael Sanderling, with pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii as soloist.
The Romanian Concerto by György Ligeti is a celebration of the authentic folk tradition, composed “simply for the sake of the music itself” and inspired by Romanian folk songs and the musical early memories and experiences from Ligeti’s childhood in Romania. With Nobuyuki Tsujii at the piano, Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto enveloped the audience in an irresistible sound atmosphere, springing from the overflowing emotion of the performance and the intimate soloist-orchestra communion. Finally, the Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor by Johannes Brahms, in Arnold Schoenberg’s orchestration, allowed the orchestra to display a mature and full sound in performing a piece that is emotionally intense almost to the point of melancholy, with an outpouring of myriad musical ideas and unusual key changes.
Described by The Observer as the“definition of virtuosity”, Japanese pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii (Nobu), who has been blind from birth, amazes the world with his exceptional musical talent, being included, at only 30 years old, in the international charts alongside the best musicians in the world. Impressed by his special musical sense, John Giordano, the musical director and conductor of the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra and the president of the Jury for the Cliburn Competition confessed: “It’s amazing! I closed my eyes and what I heard is so phenomenal that it’s hard to hold back your tears. Nobu played seamlessly one of Beethoven’s most difficult songs for an hour [Sonata no. 29]. This is, in and of itself, something extraordinary for any musician. But for a blind person, who has learned it by ear, it is something close to unthinkable.” Nobuyuki Tsujii is also a very talented composer. He composes a lot of film music, his creations illustrating many successful Japanese films. In 2011, his compositions brought him the Japan Film Critics Award.
Michael Sanderling held the position of Principal Conductor of the Dresdner Philharmonie for eight seasons (2011-2019). During his tenure with the orchestra, Michael Sanderling recorded the complete symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven and Dmitri Shostakovich for Sony Classical. Of the pairing of Beethoven’s Third Symphony with Shostakovich’s Tenth, MusicWeb International wrote “Characteristically stylish and entirely compelling under Michael Sanderling, the Dresdner Philharmonie demonstrates its prowess in these Beethoven and Shostakovich masterworks.”
The Romanian Youth Orchestra was formed in 2008, at the initiative of cellist Marin Cazacu, as an artistic and educational program supported by the “Friends of Music – Serafim Antropov” Foundation. Currently, the project “Romanian Youth Orchestra – Enescu’s spirit and European tradition” involves various creative development activities. The program aims to offer young emerging musicians the possibility of training within an orchestra, to assimilate a rich repertoire by participating in masterclasses and, most importantly, to cultivate the pleasure of performing together with internationally renowned conductors and soloists, such as Bogdan Băcanu, Sarah Chang, Amanda Forsyth, David Garrett, Stefan Geiger, Andrei Ioniță, Kristjan Järvi, Roman Kim, Elisabeth Leonskaja and Pinchas Zukerman.
photo credit: Andrei Gîndac