Blog and Book Reviews

LACO Concert 4/18/15

April 20, 2015

It was my first tme to hear a cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan, a 2011 XIV International Tchaikovsky Competition winner. I have heard a great reputation about him, and it was so exciting! He chose to play Saint Saens concerto, and after finishing it he played Armenian composer’s unaccompanied sonata. He played it to dedicate to the victims of Armenian genocide which was happened 1915, 100 years ago. First of all he has everything, amazing technique, wide range of expression, and beautiful tones. I like his stage presence too. And he is only 27 years old…. The gust conductor, Joshua Weillerstein, chose Hallman’s imagined landscapes to open the concert, and concluded with Mozart’s Jupiter. Also it was my first time to visit Alex Theater in Glendale! It was a very nice evening.

Organ Recital by Cherry Rhodes and Ladd Thomas 4/17/15

April 20, 2015

I had never heard Pictures an Exhibition on Organ, and Cherry Rhodes performed it arranged by Jean Guillou. It is a brilliant and virtuoso transcription. I am sure Gillou transcribed mainly from the orchestra score which was transcribed by Ravel from Moussorgsky’s original piano score. Ravel’s score is known to be very colorful and imaginative. Organ can create so many different sounds and Pictures of Exhibition is a perfect piece to be played on organ. Cherry Rhodes has an amazing technique and expression, and she created whole different Exhibition for me. (this piece may be a standard repertoire in the organ world, but I don’t know..) Ladd Thomas performed beautiful Mendelssohn’s Sonata in F minor, and together they performed Dukas L’apprenti sorcier.  I had a wonderful evening.

LA Opera “The Marriage of Figaro” 4/12/15

April 12, 2015

I went to the last performance of this production today.  It is just great! James Conlon gave us a wonderful pre-concert talk on the opera. I learned several new facts around Mozart’s opera, and it made sense during the performance! Conlon is a great speaker!! For instance the famous overture is linked to the ending music of the opera. The staging is very colorful, and the choreography is very lively. It is so FUN! The singers, Roberto Tagliavini (Figaro), Pretty Yende (Susanna), Guanqun Yu (Countess), Ryan McKinny (Count).. are excellent, especially I became a fan of Guanqun Yu since the appearance at LA Opera’s The Ghosts of Versailles! Mozart was true genius.

サウスバウンド 奥田英郎 角川書店  4/12/15

April 12, 2015

何という冒険物語だろうか。夢がある。パワーがある。涙がある。愛がある。勇気がある。我々にとって、生きる糧になる源だ。誰もが憧れる、「生」がある。この本には、何の説明もいらない。そにかく、読んでください。

A Movie “American Sniper” 4/5/15

April 5, 2015

It is a very strong movie in many ways. From director Clint Eastwood comes “American Sniper,” starring Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history, a nicknamed “Legend”. He had a special mind to complete his 4 tours to Iraq, and survived through many dangerous moments. His mind was very focused to protect his brothers-in-arms. His pinpoint accuracy saves countless lives on the battlefield, and he kept very strong mind. It is unbelievable.  But upon returning home, Chris wonders. His mind was always at the war. I did not know the ending, and it is very hard to make sense why he was killed in that way.

A Movie “Seymour: An Introduction” 4/5/15

April 5, 2015

Seymour Bernstein started playing the piano as a little boy (that is not actually so special because most of professional pianists start our training pretty early), and he showed his exceptional talent in his early years. Interestingly when he turned 15 he was already teaching piano to others. He enjoyed an amazing performing career, but he gave it up at the age of 50. He did not deal with his fear of losing memory and stage fright at the concerts. So he decided to devote himself to helping others develop their own gifts. The movie shows his studio apartment in New York City a lot, and if I remember correctly he has been living at the same apartment for 57 years!!! Ethan Hawke met Seymour Bernstein at the dinner party, and that encounter inspired him to make this movie. Ethan was suffering a sort of “Mid-Life Crises”. He was looking for “Authenticity” in his life. Bernstein has an exceptional artist mind, and is very sincere to study music. After the movie was over I heard one audience said she did not know the musicians study scores so carefully, a note by note, and she now so appreciate the music she hears. As a musician myself I sometime could not agree with what he thinks, but it is still a very good movie to depict the true musician’s life.

A Movie “Deli Man” 4/5/15

April 5, 2015

Delicatessen has a long history. It is a center of Jewish Culture, and reflects the heart of a vital ethnic history in America. I am a Japanese, and my food preference is almost opposite of Delicatessen food (!), but it is very fascinating! Almost exotic to me! Jewish people are serious about Deli food.  In Houston, Texas (where I used to live), third-generation deli man Ziggy Gruber has built the finest delicatessen restaurant in the U.S. He is a very colorful man. He is talented, energetic, creative, emotional, loving…The movie shows most of the famous delicatessen in America, and interviewed many famous owners of delicatessen. I definitely learned a new culture lesson! The director is Erik Greenberg Anjou. You must see this movie!

マスカレードホテル 東野圭吾  集英社 4/5/15

April 5, 2015

東野さんのすごい才能で、読者を強く引っ張っていく、かなりの長編だ。そして、ホテル業界の奥へ、ずんずん入っていく。そこで、起きる数々の人間ドラマ。事件だけでなく、ホテルの日常をドラマチックに書いている。面白いし、やめられなくなるのだが、結末というか、事件の動機が、私にはちょっと弱い気がした。450ページの本を読み進むと、それなりに愛着が湧き、最後への期待感が膨らむもので、長旅を共にした本の最後が、「こんな動機で、大それた事件を起こすだろうか。。」という感じ。でも、東野さんの文章力のすごさに、私は今回も魅了され続けた。

噂の女  奥田英郎  新潮社  4/5/15

April 5, 2015

この噂の女は進出奇抜。いろいろな人の暮らしの、あちこちに出てくる。そして、とても強欲で、図々しい。又、頭も相当良い。色仕掛けで、次々に男を手玉に取る。ようするに、ハチャメチャなのだ。その噂の女に、私は筆者の強い愛情を感じてしまう。何か不思議な小説だ。

愛という字  向田邦子  ワニブックス  4/5/15

April 5, 2015

日本人の心の襞を書かせたら、この人に勝る人はいないのでは。。。東芝日曜劇場のために書かれたコレクションから、この本には3作入っている。昭和50年代前半に書かれたものだ。でも、全然古くない。そして、ユーモアたっぷり!昭和の家の感じ、家族の在り方、服装、食事まで、目の前に飛び出してきそうだ。本当に惜しい人を、早くに亡くしてしまった。今もし生きていらっしゃったら、80代。どんな本を書いているだろうか。