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Before the interval, we had the only violin/piano duo (the other having had to return at short notice to the USA) comprised of two irresistible nineteen-year-olds from the Royal Academy, still in their undergraduate course -- pianist Si Chen from China and violinist Yuka Ishizuka from Japan. Together they provided a heartening spectacle of the two greatest SW Asiatic nations overcoming their differences through the power of Beethoven! With the intensity of Carneiro's Beethoven behind us, we were almost unprepared for this lyrical outpouring of purest joy -- the little-played Sonata in A Op 12 No 2 -- bursting on our ears like some springtime dawn chorus. Their ensemble was sheer perfection -- not calculated but spontaneously arrived at as if on the wing.

The cello/piano duo of Joas Cardoso (another Brazilian) and Yuki Kumagai which followed the interval while eminently deserving lacked the Beethoven thrust -- the playing was always musical but without the necessary focus and sensitivity to the interpretive demands, especially on the part of the agile pianist whose tone was sometimes edgy and didactic. At twelve Joas was described by Brazilian critics as 'Brazil's most talented classical musician' and was invited to play a concerto with the orchestra of the 'International Cello Encounter' in Rio de Janeiro where, in 2000, he won a Special Prize in the IBEU Cello Competition. In 2004 he was awarded second prize in the Bach Competition of Trinity College of Music (TCM), where he has been studying with Richard Markson since 2002. Yuki was born in Kyoto Japan and she attended the Kawai Music School from the age of five. In 2003 she entered TCM where she studied with Nina Sereda before starting her present Postgraduate Diploma Course.

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Copyright © 5 June 2007 Malcolm Troup, London UK


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