Wednesday, October 13, 2010

REVIEW: Nishizaki Plays Suzuki Evergreen (Vol. 1-7)

The complete set of 7 volumes includes all the music in volume 1 to 8 of the original Zen-On Edition of the Suzuki Violin School.

If one will include Nishizaki’s already existing recording of Mozart’s concertos No. 4 and 5 (the music of books 9 and 10), this could be the most complete collection to accompany the progress of a student.

To read my review of the collection, please go to:


Published in Time-Out Hong Kong: October 13-36 2010 issue No. 65, p.88

Nishizaki Plays Suzuki Evergreen (Vol. 1-7)

3 out of 6 stars

This set of seven volumes is recorded by Takako Nishizaki, the youngest student to ever complete the Suzuki Violin School, and who received her teaching diploma at the age of nine. On the basis of her involvement in this release, this new compendium of Suzuki method classics are being marketed for their authenticity, as discs to be listened to from start to finish. However, this tends to overlook this collection’s main attribute as a teaching tool. With the remarkable level of comprehensiveness and musicianship it displays, it serves as an ideal companion to anybody teaching or learning the Suzuki method.

An important aspect of the Suzuki method is the use of sound recordings to aid the students. Suzuki believed that great artists (such as Mozart) grew up in an environment where excellent performances were within reach. These recordings build upon that philosophy, making these sounds accessible to a mass population. The Suzuki method insists on regular listening to learn notes, phrasing, dynamic, rhythm and most importantly, beautiful tone quality by ear.

These seven discs provide a model accompaniment to a student at any level, from the simple little tune of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star (Vol. 1), all the way to Veracini’s Violin Sonata in E minor (Vol. 7). Throughout, Nishizaki and pianist Terence Dennis provide a clean and clear guide for students to absorb. Even the placement of the microphones seems to be engineered to provide a more forward sound for the violin to maximise the clarity of tone. On the other hand, this collection’s main utility is as a learning tool, so it probably won’t have the same resonance for those with no affinity with the Suzuki method.

Satoshi Kyo

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