◆Rion Fukada, from Japan, played the same work with razor-sharp focus and a burnished tone – no doubt partly thanks to the restored 19th-century French instrument at her disposal – but struggled to carry through the elegiac lines of the slow movement.
◆Japanese candidate Anna Tanaka performed with cool poise and evenness of tone
◆Japanese native Yoshie Okura offered a lovely if perfection-driven reading. Her awkward delays in the short reprise of the inner Andante failed to bring depth to a performance that otherwise stuck to its gleaming surface, although her final Allegro was nicely on point.
◆Her compatriot, 20-year-old Reina Shibutani, swept through the yearning lines of the concerto with great stamina and brought a fresh edge to the final movement, but one couldn’t help but wonder if she was deliberately shooting histrionic facial expressions in the jury’s direction.