Blog and Book Reviews

LA Phil Concert with Esa-Pekka Solonen 10/29/14

October 29, 2014

Esa-Pekka Solonen, the conductor laureate of LA Phil, returned to Disney Concert Hall to conduct for 3 weeks in this fall. I went to listen the first program on Saturday October 25. I really loved Janacek’s Sinfonietta! It is a charm. In my imagination Janacek’s music has been indirect, ambiguous, and nationalistic, but this work is more straight forward. There are 13 extra brass players, playing from the back of the stage (just below the organ). It was spectacular! The second piece on the program was Saariaho’s new commissioned work “Maan varjot” (East Shadows) which has a big organ solo. And they finished with Sibelius’ Lemminkainen Suite. It is a story telling work, and the performance was very imaginative. Of course cello and English horn solos were fantastic! It was a nice evening to see Solonen front of LA Phil again, and to hear an interesting program.

2 concerts on theme “Clara Schumann and Her Contribution in 19th Century Music” 10/29/14

October 29, 2014

Clara Schumann (née Clara Josephine Wieck) is considered one of the most distinguished pianists of the Romantic era. She exerted her influence over a 61-year concert career, changing the format and repertoire of the piano recital and the tastes of the listening public. Her reputation brought her into contact with the leading musicians of the day, including Felix Mendelssohn, Frederic Chopin, and Franz Liszt. She also met violinist Joseph Joachim, who became one of her frequent performance partners. Liszt and Chopin praised Clara’s technique and ability at the piano. Along with Robert Schumann she encouraged Johannes Brahms, and she was the first pianist to give public performances of some of Brahms’s works, notably the Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel.[1]She played a leading role in restoring Brahms’s D minor concerto to the general repertory. After the death of Robert she promoted his music throughout her career.

Clara Schumann’s influence also spread through her teaching, which emphasized a singing tone and expression, with technique entirely subordinated to the intentions of the composers.

Clara Schumann provided everything for her family through giving concerts and teaching, and she did most of the work of organizing her own concert tours. She refused to accept charity when a group of musicians offered to put on a benefit concert for her after the death of Robert. In addition to raising her own large family, when one of her children became incapacitated, she took on responsibility for raising her grandchildren.

The first of 3 concerts on this theme will be on Monday November 10 at 12:45pm for  Occidental College’s “Noontime Concert”, including Mendelssohn’s rondo capriccio Op. 14, Clara Schumann’s Scherzo Op. 14, Robert Schumann’s Fantasie Op. 17 (1st movement only), Brahms’ Intermezzo from Op. 118, and Chopin’s Ballade No. 1 Op. 23. The details will be found at http://www.oxy.edu/music .

The second concert will be on Saturday November 15 at 4pm at FUMC Pasadena for “Third and First” concert, including Robert Schumann’s Piano Quintet (Jin-Shan Dai and Johnny Lee, violins, Michael Larco, viola, and David Garrett, cello), Robert Schumann’s Adagio and Allegro for cello and piano, Mendelssohn’s Cello Sonata, and Clara’s solo piano work “Scherzo”. The details will be found at http://fumcpasadena.org/.

I hope you can come to enjoy some of the best romantic music! And both concerts are free for admission! More Better!

 

We live in the precious world… 10/29/14

October 29, 2014

We lost our beloved friend, Francetta LaRussa, this past weekend. She had a heart attack and a stroke. I just saw her a week ago, and she looked as happy and beautifully as always. She and Wayne took a wonderful trip to Alaska in September, and their photos from Alaska are still so vivid. She was very happy. We live in the precious world, and sometimes we forget today won’t be repeated. We get caught by small things and forget how amazing our lives are. We miss her tremendously. Francetta has been in my prayer. We will always remember your beautiful smile and soul…

ナニカアル  桐野夏生 新潮社  10/19/14

October 19, 2014

これは、林芙美子の生涯を小説化した、桐野さんの力作。芙美子の強さと才能を、恋愛と絡めて、激しく迫っていく。読んでいる間にすべてが本当に起こったかのような錯覚に陥る。最高のロマンスなのか、すべてが創作なのか。。。芙美子の生涯をあらゆる角度から調べ尽くした上での、フィクション。桐野さんへの尊敬が、又大きくなった作品です。

Third at First Concert series 10/20/14

October 19, 2014

We started the new concert series “Third at First” at FUMC Pasadena, California. As you see from the naming each concert will be presented every month on the Third Saturday at 4pm at First United Methodist Church in Pasadena, except March and May. We had the first concert performed by an exceptional organist, Ty Woodward on October 18. His organ playing was an eye-opening to us. His tone was so colorful, imaginative, and creative! I will be on the next concert, Saturday November 15 at 4pm. The theme will be “Clara Schumann and her contribution in 19th Century Music” and the program will include Robert Schumann’s Piano Quintet (Jin-Shan Dai and Johnny Lee, violins, Michael Larco, viola, and David Garrett, cello), Robert Schumann’s Adagio and Allegro for cello and piano, Mendelssohn’s Cello Sonata, and Clara’s solo piano work “Scherzo”. Clara Schumann is my ongoing project, and I am so excited to play this concert. Please go to the below site for the details of this new concert series. (My solo recital at Occidental College on the same theme will be on Monday November 10 at 12:45pm in Bird Studio.) Please come to the concerts!

http://fumcpasadena.org/ministries/music-ministry/concert-series/

 

2014 October Our New Concert series "Third at First"! Please go to my blogs.

 

 

 

 

 

LA Phil 2014-15 Opening Concert 10/6/2014

October 6, 2014

I truly enjoyed this concert! The program included David Lang: Man Made and Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 5, and this programming was an excellent choice to start a new season. “Man Made”, a percussion concerto written for So Percussion (4 percussionists group), is a co-commissioned work and Thursday night was its U. S. Premiere. “Man Made” is so creative, artistic, visually attractive, dramatic, and fun! To me the effect is a new style of minimalist. The conversation between an orchestra and 4 percussion is the key to bring the intention and drama. They echo each other and create the special atmosphere. I was so involved! And I could feel the entire audience was involved too. During the intermission we chatted over this new work, of course! Then here comes Mahler 5! From the moment the trumpet plays 4 notes to the end this more than 70 minutes symphony give us the reason why we like ORCHESTRA, an amazing solo playing in brass section, lyrical string sound in a slow movement.. you name it. One thing I never thought about this piece was that I somehow could hear the relation to Kurt Weill’s music. I started to hear Weill-ish melody and atmosphere in this symphony, and for a little while I could not get away from it. I guess I need to do some research on it! This program is so inviting to the audience to come back to Disney.

A Movie “A Most Wanted Man”

September 28, 2014

This is the last movie Philip Seymour Hoffman was involved before he died with the drug overdose. As always his acting is amazing, but the story is too difficult to believe. It is a great thriller. And I simply could not miss his last movie!

9月場所 大相撲の楽しさ、満喫!

September 28, 2014

皆様もご存知のように、今場所の大相撲はちょっと違う!ほぼ毎日「満員御礼」の札が出て、お客様の熱気がテレビを通しても伝わってくるようだ。私もあそこにいたい!!連日解説の方々が、相撲の内容が良いというコメントを出しているが、それに加え、ひと癖もふた癖をある若手力士が出てきて、面白さを十倍にしている。豪栄道の不振が、他の力士の活躍で余り目立たないのは、良いのやら悪いのやら。逸ノ城(モンスターボーイ)の新人離れした活躍には、まさに脱帽だ。しぶとさも、器用さも、データ収集力もあり、力だけに頼っているわけではない。今後が、滅茶苦茶楽しみだ。連日寝不足だけど、どうって事はない!毎夜一人テレビの前で、応援しています!

NHK達人達 竹内洋岳 篠宮龍三 インタビュー

September 28, 2014

先日ジャパンTVで見た番組から。アメリカ在住の為、このお二人の事をこのテレビ番組まで知らなかったのですが、はっきり言って感動しました。竹内さんは酸素なしで8000メートル級の山を次々と制覇、篠宮さんは海でのこちらも機材なしでのダイビングの記録保持者、確か115メートルの深さまで潜った記録を作ったのだと思います。もちろんこうした「記録」にも深く感動するのですが、お二人の話の中で、メンタルケアの重要性が語られ、というか、ほとんどの話が、精神面での事で、とても興味深かったです。体の強さを極限まで突き詰めたお二人の話の中心が、精神の強さに集中したのは、偶然ではないはず。そして、競技中や登山中での精神の旅、どういう風に気持ちが変化していくのか、そしてどういう風に自分でコントロールしていくのか。その強さには、恐れさえ感じました。精神が身体の強さ、健康を支配することは、我々の人生のすべての局面で出てくるのではないでしょうか。そしてこれは、我々音楽家のステージ上での精神面での強さ、弱さ、集中力にも繫がると思います。現在こそ健康に恵まれている私ですが、渡米前の日本での暮らしでは、精神的に不健康な状況が続いていたので、日常的に頭痛に悩まされ、元気に欠け、お酒に逃げ込むことも多く、今となると思い出したくない私の歴史です。精神面の重要性を忘れずに、健康で、明るく、そして楽しく、暮らしていきたいですね。

幸せのバランス   9/14/14

September 15, 2014

9月も中旬、日本も(場所にもよるけれど)そろそろ夏も終わり、秋の足音が聞こえて来た頃でしょうか。今年の夏は、災害の多い大変な時でしたね。私の方は、8月のフランス公演旅行も無事終わり、大学の新学期が始まって3週間目です。今週末はロスアンジェルスが超残暑で(コロラド州からは初雪観測の知らせも届いているのですが)、町中がうだっています!全く!

今日のテーマ”幸せ”は、何だか青臭いぞ。。という方も多いと思いますが、敢えて書こうと思っています。私もこの年までまあ人生の様々なことを経験して来ている訳で、表面だけ見れば分からないことばかりですが、「これで絶体絶命」のピンチに直面したこともあるし、どうしようもない家族の問題に長年心がすっきりしない事もあったし、仕事でとんでもない失望と戦ったこともあるし、まあ普通の人間なんです。その中で自分に言い聞かせているのは、いつも自分が持っているものに目を向けそれに感謝し、自分にないものに心を向けないということです。一人一人、性格から、秀でた能力も、環境、家族構成など、全然違う訳ですから、他人と比較して(悲しいかな日本にとても多い)、自分にない世界のことを羨んでもしょうがない。かと言って、自己満足しかしないと、進歩もしない、足踏み状態で生きていくことしか出来ない。という訳で、バランスが大事なんですね。そして、自分に健康的な意味で自信を持たないと他人も幸せには出来ないし、自慢や他人との競争でしか、自分への満足感が得られない場合は不健康で、他人を幸せには決して出来ないと思うのです。人間、調子の良い時は誰でもスムースに生きられるけれど、問題に直面したときに本領が発揮されるんです。バランスを上手く取りながら、笑顔で生きたいですね。