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Yu Kosuge gives passionate performance in Holiday Concert Series

By Grace Jean,

With a flair for long melodic lines and intensity of sound, pianist Yu Kosuge stormed through a recital focused on Beethoven and Chopin at the historic Evermay Estate in Georgetown on Friday evening.

The recital — part of the S&R Foundation’s inaugural Overtures Holiday Concert Series — featured the Tokyo-born/Hanover- and Salzburg-trained pianist’s take on Beethoven’s “Moonlight” Sonata No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 27, No. 2. She showed restraint in a meditative, steady account of the opening movement, where the melody, delicately layered over glassy-smooth arpeggios, was conducive to the ballroom’s acoustics and cabaret-style setting. As much as she seemed to enjoy the lilting second movement, Kosuge dove into the finale’s fury without pause, reveling in the fiery accented chords and pushing the limits of her sonic boundaries.

Kosuge’s interpretation of Chopin’s 12 Etudes, Op. 10, was equal parts emotional and cerebral, and blissfully void of the exaggerated rubato and affectation that often burden the pieces. Fleeting moments of crystalline textures and pastoral hues gave way to the bold, tempestuous waves that Kosuge created so naturally at the keyboard. If her first, second and eighth etudes sounded methodical and measured, then the ninth, 11th and 12th were passionately driven. Heavy pedal use blurred her brilliant technique in the fourth, sixth and 10th etudes, but whenever Kosuge employed the soft pedal, particularly in etudes three and five, the effect was quite beautiful.

Jean is a freelance writer.

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