Blog and Book Reviews

A Movie “Whiplash” 12/21/14

December 21, 2014

This movie is about the music conservatory life which I went through myself. I attended Tokyo’s Performing Arts High School and Toho Conservatory in Japan, then master’s and doctor’s degree in US for piano performance. At the last year at Toho Conservatory 2 of my piano friends committed suicide because they could not handle the pressure before the big concert. I cried for many times after the lesson at Toho. My teacher was pretty tough. So I totally understand the atmosphere in this movie even though this movie is so extreme that it is so far away from the reality. Andrew Neyman (Miles Teller) is an ambitious young jazz drummer, single-minded in his pursuit to rise to the top of his elite jazz conservatory. Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), a teacher equally known for his terrifying methods for teaching. Fletcher discovers the big talent in Andrew, and pushes him with horrifying way. The script is well written, and acting is amazing.  I enjoyed it.

ノルウエイの森  村上春樹   講談社  12/21/14

December 21, 2014


写楽暗殺  今江祥智  理論社

December 14, 2014


LA Phil and Dudamel 12/7/14

December 12, 2014

I attended 2 programs of LA Phil conducted by Dudamel for the last 2 weeks. The first one was Reger: Four Tone Poems after Arnold Bocklin, Haydn: Cello Concerto in C with Gautier Capucon, and Schubert: Symphony No. 6. I know some of Reger’s works, but this tone poem was fresh to me. It is very poetic (!), imaginative, and lyrical.  After Haydn’s energetic performance we heard very charming (and not known) Schubert’s Symphony No. 6.  The program on the second week was Salonen: Helix, Rachmaninov:The Isle of the Dead, and Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition. Helix (I think there are several metric modulations) is rhythmic driven and therefore rhythmic minimalism. I love it! Rachmaninov uses different harmonic languages in the Isle of the Dead than his signature works, such as piano concertos. It has a beautiful  story telling. And here comes Pictures at an Exhibition….. I heard this so many many times, especially when I was very young.  This performance made me feel so young. LA Phil had an amazing energy under the baton of Dudamel, including fantastic solos. My heart was beating fast. I admit the music still works to me. I was still singing Promenade when I went to bed!

LA Phil Green Umbrella Concert 12/9/14

December 12, 2014

The concert started with Stockhausen’s “Gesang der Junglinge” (1956), and I felt as if thousands kids speaking to me from everywhere. I don’t know how many speakers they were using, but surely I felt the voices coming from every place in Disney Hall. It is a good piece to start an European avant-garde concert. The conductor was Mattias Pintscher, who is also a composer on this program, songs from Solomon’s garden, a West coast premiere. Romitelli’s West coast premiere on Amok Koma, and Furrer’s US Premiere on Linea dell’orizzonte. I was sitting front of a couple (who are not very young) with their friend, and I heard what the friend asked “how did you guys meet?” And the lady answered “We have seen each other for a while, but one day we discovered we share a deep passion in contemporary music. We never found anyone to talk about the contemporary music in that depth….” Green Umbrella is exactly for these people!!! I was so excited to hear their passion! An amazing singing by Evan Hughes and a powerful/thoughtful playing by LA Phil musicians! It was Mattias Pintscher ‘s debut with LA Phil, and I am sure he will come back to LA soon!










A Movie “The Imitation Game” 12/8/14

December 12, 2014

I have not gone to the movie theater for a while, and this movie was so perfect to come back to the theater! The Imitation Game is a British-American historical (based on the real true story!) thriller portraying Alan Turing, a British mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst,, computer pioneer, and a long distant world class runner. He was a key figure to crack down Nazi’s Enigma code which helped to the Allies to win the 2nd World War, and people believe this discovery shortened the war for 2 to 4 years. First of all Benedict Cumberbatch (Alan Turing) is doing a fantastic job being a genius mathematician, who stutters often, and act unusually, but truly believes what he does. Later he admitted of maintaining a homosexual relationship which was treated as a gross indecency in England back then, and chose to take a hormone therapy instead of going to the jail. He committed suicide in 1954. Cumberbatch is a perfect cast for Turing (they look alike too). The movie portraits a deep emotional process for war time struggle and human struggle. The biographical film on Turing goes from his difficult teenage at the boarding school, a triumph for breaking a code, and a criminal charge against his sexual orientation. This is a MUST see movie!!



作曲家との対話 12/10/14

December 10, 2014



冬の光 今江祥智   理論社  11/30/14

December 1, 2014


白鵬関、おめでとう!  11/24/14

November 24, 2014


優しさごっこ 今江祥智  理論社 11/24/14

November 24, 2014