Masterclass in Tokyo
20th March 2016
'The Fujita Piano Trio have played for Cockermouth Music Society before, but never to greater effect than in their recent concert in the town.
This can only be described as a stunning performance by three Japanese sisters who play from memory which in itself is a feat, but it comes completely naturally from these three great musicians. The empathy which flows between them and their innate musicianship is woven together to produce a performance of the highest standard. Megumi Fujita is a formidable pianist whose power is quite extraordinary, but she can also play softly and with great sensitivity.
The Haydn Trio in C sparkled and sang-joy personified in music. Then followed a memorable performance of Ravel’s great A minor Trio, with some tremendous moments of power contrasted with moving beauty. Arisa Fujita’s violin sang out with great clarity whenever needed, beautifully complemented by Honoka Fujita on the cello and always backed by Megumi’s incredible piano playing. A rarely heard but very fine Beethoven Trio Op 70, No 2 in E flat completed the evening, with a deeply satisfying performance in every sense from a world class trio who we were so lucky to hear at the height of their powers.'
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Plymouth Chamber Music has been bringing most of the top international artists to the city for a long time. Whilst the occasional artist has possibly been the equal of the Fujita Piano Trio in terms of technique alone, there is one thing which simply puts this all-sister ensemble in an unassailable class of its own: the whole programme is played from memory!
It's almost impossible to appreciate what this means in performance. The solo pianist who suffers a memory lapse can usually regroup, and for the concerto soloist, the orchestral players at least have their own parts to follow. But for a trio the potential for disaster is virtually unimaginable.
However, this in itself creates a unique listening experience. There is no barrier which the use of music, with its constantly disruptive page-turning, otherwise imparts, and moreover there is always that necessary sense of risk which ensures that every performance has that special added frisson.
Arisa, Honoka and Megumi are, of course, absolutely superb solo artists in their own right, and psychologists would no doubt be able to account for this uncanny display of sororal memory. But their magnificent performance of this taxing programme of trios by Mendelssohn, Takemitsu, Shostakovich and Schubert, was second to none, and must surely rank as one of the most memorable musical experiences heard in the city for many years to come.
5 out of 5 by P-G Bergfors of Goteborgsposten (Swedish daily newspaper)
"Such riches, such a gift! The two Schubert Piano Trios for the first time on the same maxed out CD, in a luminous, well balanced recording. And the way these three Japanese sisters are playing! Their skillful phrasing, their sensitivity to the Schubert intimacies, their natural choice of tempi, their obvious dexterities in the musical details without loosing any sense of spontaneity (which I suppose comes from the fact that they play concerts and record from memory, i.e. without sheet music in front of them)
The feel of this recording is as it was a live recording by Schubert in two of his most blissful chamber music works. The interpretation of the slow movements is better than any recording I can remember. And their frisky playing in the concluding movements of both trios is uplifting."
Bergfors (Goteborgsposten 18/12 2007)
Opinion Nov/Dec 2006 Max Harrison