(Received the Top Rating of 5 from Diapason Magazine) Japanese pianist Fumiko Shiraga has made a specialty of performing famous concertos with a small group of instrumentalists. "It was common in the 19th century to present concert performances of large-scale works in a scaled-down version," she explains. "There were many fewer orchestras … and so one had recourse to the musicians that were available and adapted the music accordingly." To Shiraga's mind small formations offer many artistic advantages. "When one plays with an orchestra; the result depends in large part on the conductor; on his or her ideas and ability to enter into the world of the soloist. With a small ensemble it is quite different—one is flexible; reactive. One reaches the limits of fortissimo much more quickly; and thus the piano has much wider expressive possibilities." For this recording she chose two Mendelssohn concertos scored by Cord Garben for piano and string quintet as well as six "Romances without Words" delicately arranged for piano, violin, and cello.
"Trained in Germany, [Shiraga] is a talented pianist who plays with verve, sensitivity, musicality, and taste."—Beethoven Journal