Classical Session: Hayato Sumino

Classical Session: Hayato Sumino

In his invigoratingly imaginative Classical Session, Japanese pianist Hayato Sumino tempers two classic pieces of Baroque repertoire with one of his own compositions. We begin with the great pianist Myra Hess’ sublime arrangement of Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring. “The piece is so famous that I have been familiar with it since I was a child,” Sumino tells Apple Music Classical, “and I feel attached to it.” Next is Sumino’s glittering Reminiscence, a piece built on a fragment of melody from Chopin’s Ballade No. 2. “It’s a piece that came naturally to me when I went to Poland,” he says. “It’s about my memories of that trip to Warsaw—it’s a very personal piece, as if based on my memories of facing Chopin’s music.” Finally, Sumino evokes memories of his own childhood with one of the 555 sonatas that flowed from the pen of Baroque composer Domenico Scarlatti throughout his life. It’s a piece that Sumino says he practiced a lot as a child, and he brings to it a beautiful, fresh simplicity. That this Classical Session has an intimate, almost muted sound is thanks both to the closeness of the microphones, but also to Sumino’s choice of instrument: a Steinway upright piano. “I like uprights a lot,” he says. “They have a very personal, internal, slightly nostalgic appeal—a different warmth to the grand piano. Uprights draw you inward.”

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