Ryutaro Suzuki plays Scarlatti, Ravel, Mozart and Liszt
The Japanese pianist Ryutaro Suzuki will be 28 this year. Since 2008 he has studied at the Paris Conservatoire, the University of Strasbourg and in Fiesole. His ambitious debut release was superbly recorded last spring by Jean-Claude Gaberel.
Two of the most popular Scarlatti sonatas are dispatched with neat efficiency as a warm-up to four of the six pieces of Le tombeau de Couperin. Ravel’s Prélude has a nice flow and the Menuet a wistful, piquant delicacy. Less successful are the curiously choppy Fugue and a slightly hectic Toccata.
Suzuki’s exceedingly polite performance of what is perhaps Mozart’s least polite piano piece, the tormented K310, seems entirely focused on proportion. I daresay I’ve never heard the insistent left-hand chords accompanying the principal theme of the opening Allegro more perfectly equal in time and volume, or quite so devoid of meaning. Any hopes held out either for an emotional eruption in the operatic slow movement’s middle section or for a sense of desperation in the flight from the Furies of the concluding Presto are sadly dashed. Suzuki remains imperturbable throughout.
Something of the same unflappable circumspection prevails in the Don Juan Fantasy, here given a crystalline, pellucid and technically immaculate performance. What is missing is a grasp of why Liszt might have chosen to elaborate on the ominous appearance of the Commandatore, the Don’s seduction of Zerlina and the wild abandon of ‘Fin ch’han dal vino’. In other words, any sense of motivation, poetry or drama. Even the tiniest hint of personality would no doubt do wonders.