This is charming and genial playing by 43-year old Atsuko Seki, a name unknown to me before now, but a lady in possession of a soft, gossamer touch and impeccable Mozartian line. She plays this music as though she really has affection for it, using sparse pedal, and giving the music all the time in the world it needs to breathe. Unlike my three other favorites in these sonatas, Pires, Brendel, and Uchida, who all (despite their incontrovertible authority in this music) play according to their own preconceived agendas, Seki seems to just let it flow, almost stream-of-consciousness in its uncelebrated passiveness. There is nothing here that feels at all deliberate, just free-flowing and for-the-moment playing, as if we are living a splendid instant that can be recovered only in the vaguest of memories.
The sonatas are all excellent, especially one of my favorites, the C major. The Rondo gets a very subdued and concentrated reading, one that is not likely to eclipse my favorite (Rubinstein) but is nevertheless supremely effective. This is a fine album that bodes well for Seki’s hopefully full and rich future recording career. Our own Laurence Vittes, reviewing her in an accompanying role with cellist Dirk Wietheger, says Seki “dominates inappropriately if very beautifully because of her imposing musical elegance and the lovely sound she draws from her instrument.” Two qualities I can only second here with hand raised high.
— Steven Ritter