Music review: Mitsuko Uchida In Recital

Edinburgh International Festival: Mozart's Piano Sonata in C major K545 is a ­favourite of young ­pianists, but it also functions on another level as Mitsuko ­Uchida demonstrated.

Usher Hall


Sign up to our daily newsletter

There was a beguiling translucency to her approach that was anything but simple. This was echoed in her playful account of Jörg Widmann’s modern take on the piece, Sonatina facile. Uchida seemed to channel Mozart the precocious boy genius, who couldn’t resist gleefully going off-piste every few bars. She beautifully captured the allegro’s extemporary spirit, the submerged textures of the slow motion andante and the rondo’s petulant discord.

Inspired by an ETA Hoffmann character, Schumann’s Kreisleriana alternates between dynamic extremes – great torrents of notes one movement, something more enigmatic the next, ­especially the quirky finale. While ­Uchida is master of the quiet and distilled, she often misses the big dramatic moments and didn’t quite knit all the themes into a unifying whole.

She had more sparkle in the Fantasy in C major Op17 with its big rippling themes and sense of grandeur. Schumann’s experiments with tone and structure were ahead of his time and although Uchida struggled to deliver this full dynamic spectrum, her iridescent textures in the intricate last movement were sensational.