Magazine article Musical Opinion

Wanami Plays Bach and Ysaye

Magazine article Musical Opinion

Wanami Plays Bach and Ysaye

Article excerpt

Geoffrey Crankshaw has been talking to the Japanese Violinist about his forthcoming recitals on the South Bank

Please make a note of these dates. 27 April and 4 and 11 May. All Monday evenings in the Purcell Room at 7.30pm during which the Japanese Violinist Takayoshi Wanami will play all the Solo Violin works of Johann Sebastian Bach and Eugene Ysaye. Blind from birth, this much lauded artist, whose wife is equally famed as a pianist, has pursued music with unabated zeal. Joseph Szigeti had a great influence upon him, both as one of his teachers and as an artist of superb authority. Szigeti proved a link as I talked to this kind and enthusiastic musician in his home, for Szigeti's playing has endured in my memory as music-making of utter honesty.

We spoke, too, of the recent death of Shin'ichi Suzuki, the great Japanese educator, whose Suzuki Method has had a profound influence not only on the art of teaching the violin to children throughout the world. but also on the development of music as part of contemporary Japanese life. The great expansion of high quality string playing in Japan would not have taken place without him" maintained Wanami.

What does he owe to others, those who have helped him build a large repertoire in spite of blindness? His mother learned Braille so that she could transcribe one score after another for her musically voracious son. That was indeed a labour of love, and Wanami is continually mindful of it. Now his wife is a constant aid and encouragement in maintaining a career which inevitably demands unremitting concentration as new scores are learned and old ones revised. …

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