It was a fantastic evening for all of us. Masayuki Tayama is undoubtedly a splendid virtuoso; a pianist who not only delivers a phenomenal performance but also connects and communicates with the audience. He is very friendly and laid-back, nothing arrogant about him which made all us feel so comfortable.
His playing is very precise. I feel he is very faithful to the score and recreates what the composers wished to express. This impression hasn't changed since the first time I heard him. I love pianists who are precise; I love to sit back, close my eyes and relax when listening to music I adore, not noticing mistakes here and there.
The first piece,Â Beethoven Sonata 'œPathetique' has always been special to me. It is the last substantial piece that I played, in one of those pupils" recitals, before I stopped studying; I think I was 14. I love this dramatic and tragic Sonata '“ the very dark and grave first movement, followed by the beautifulÂ Adagio, and then into the finalÂ Rondo. Masayuki offered everything I wanted to hear. A dark, depressing, heavy mood swallowed us in the first movement; right from the beginning loud and heavy chords, followed by right hand octaves with a very subtle left hand '“ just impressive. I just wish I could play this movement like him! The second movement has most the beautiful melody, which has been incorporated into popular music. I noticed that he had his foot on the soft pedal during the entire movement.
Schumann Sonata No. 2 is also one of my favourites. Oh my, the first movement was impressively fast, as Schumann instructed the pianist to play 'œas fast as possible' and later 'œgo faster, even faster'. Masayuki played it with much dynamic and passion. Just the way I like it!
Etudes-Tableaux Op. 39 was the second half. I love this massive work ofÂ Rachmaninov. It is powerful and yet most beautiful. Masayuki"s playing was acute, sharp and dynamic. It was such a privilege to listen to and witness this most amazing work performed right in front of my eyes.Â Etude No. 5 in E flat major, Appassionato, was full of emotion and expression. It created shivers deep inside my body. I remember Masayuki playing the last piece,Â Oriental March, as an encore at his recital here last year. Equally impressive this year, he played it with aggressiveness and the result was perfection (in my opinion).
Masayuki not only played the piano but also gave us brief and yet informative introductions to each piece. He certainly knows how to satisfy the audience"s greedy desire to know about the pieces!
Two encores at the end '“ 'œanother Rachmaninov' as he put it,Â Rachmaninov"s Prelude in C Sharp Minor, followed byÂ Chopin"s Nocturne also inÂ C Sharp Minor. Absolutely beautiful, nothing more needed. And the audience could not stop applauding.
Only a couple of weeks ago, I went to Masayuki"s recital atÂ Wigmore Hall. In spite of the fact that it was on a Sunday of a Bank Holiday weekend, with an irregular Tube operation, the Hall was nearly full. This is very rare as most of the time it is half empty. It shows Masayuki is a well-regarded and wanted pianist, and I am very proud of my fellow Japanese musician's success and recognition in the U.K. He will always be one of my favourite pianists.
Again, it was such a fantastic evening. Much better than the England v USA football match, don"t we agree? Â Please add your comments below!
- Beethoven: Sonata in C minor, Op.13 "Pathetique"
- Schumann: Sonata No. 2 in G minor, Op.22
- Rachmaninov: Etudes-Tableaux Op.39
About Masa Tayama
Tayama first came to prominence when he won First Prize in the Takahiro Sonada International Piano Competition in Japan, followed by numerous top prizes in Europe including the Brant Birmingham International Piano Competition and the Grand Konzerteum International Piano Competition in Greece. He studied at Toho University of Music in Tokyo, and later was awarded a Fellowship under the Japanese Government Overseas Study Programme for Artists to study in the UK, where he gained the Performer's Diploma with Honours from both the Royal College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.
Tayama lives in London, and performs extensively in Europe and returns regularly to Japan for recital and concerto appearances.
His first London concert appearance was in 2002 at the South Bank"s Purcell Room, and in 2003 he gave his concerto debut at the Fairfield Halls, both of which were met with critical acclaim. Most recently he made his first Cadogan Hall concerto appearance, and gave his debut recital to a sell-out audience at the Wigmore Hall. His recent performance with orchestras include Rachmaninov Piano Concertos Nos.2, 3, 4 and the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, and the two Piano Concertos by Brahms, collaborating with conductors including Stephen Bell, Adrian Brown, Darrell Davison, John Gibbons, Levon Parikian and Vladimir Valek.