Tuesday 20 December 2022


 That fine pianist Mitsuko Uchida turns 74 today – hard to believe she's even older than I am. I once met her, in the Woman's Hour studio (no, I wasn't a guest; I was writing something about the programme, I think for the late lamented Listener). I was of course tongue-tied and totally overawed, but I did manage to bandy a few civilities with her before she went in to be interviewed. I remember that she seemed surprisingly slight physically, as is often the way with performers, and that she drank green tea. There you are: The Mitsuko Uchida I Knew.
I have a couple of her CDs which I cherish and play quite often: the three last Beethoven sonatas, and Schubert's D899 impromptus. Here she is playing the G flat impromptu. (Music lovers might like to compare her version with Dinu Lipatti's, which I posted recently: Lipatti makes lighter work of it, with a wonderful flowing cantabile, but Uchida's interpretation works perfectly on its own terms.)

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