Blog and Book Reviews

Sir Andras Schiff at Disney Concert Hall 4/10/18

April 11, 2018

It has been for few years since his last appearance in Los Angeles and all of us were looking forward to attending the concert. This time Sir Andras is traveling with Bosendorfer and his piano technician. His program was all of my favorite including Brahms’ late works, ops. 117, 118, and 119. I have treasured those pieces for years. When we hear Sir Andras’ concert we almost forget there is piano. Of course he plays piano in the highest possible way, but piano almost does not matter. He plays music. He tells story. He shares his imagination with us. He sings. He plays piano in this very special way. His soul is there. And he enjoys every moment. It was so wonderful to see him in the backstage. I am honored to know him. He is truly inspirational. He plays piano the way no one can do. He played Capriccio by J. S. Bach for the encore. So perfect! The story continued from Beethoven’s Les Adieux. Archduke is back, but Johann Jacob Bach is leaving town! I love Capriccio (on the departure of a beloved brother). I think this is one of the oldest programmatic music for keyboard… J. S. and his friends cheer for his departure with postillion’s horn in the last movement because it was not the eternal good-bye.

I am heading to my music journey to Iowa tomorrow. I will perform at University of Iowa and teach master class. My program includes Schumann’s Davidsbundlertanze, op. 6. I hope to play with full of emotion while depicting Robert and Clara’s affection, jokes, fun, melancholy, silliness…. I also will play Liszt, Piazzolla and some of my favorite Japanese composers. This concert is partially supported by the Japan Foundation. It will be refreshing to be in the colder weather!! I look forward to visiting Iowa.

女の一生 キクの場合  遠藤周作 講談社 3/24/18

March 25, 2018


Johann Sebastian Bach – 333rd Birthday! 3/15/18

March 16, 2018

Have you noticed J. S. Bach will celebrate his 333rd birthday in few weeks! All of pianists (including me!) grow up with substantial amount of Bach’s music. We start with Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach, then Inventions and Sinfonias. When I finished 15 inventions my teacher told me that I need to study all of them again! That was quite shocking! But I did not have any other choice so I did it again. Oh well! Then some of miscellaneous pieces and suites. I was very lucky to have Bach’s assignments every week, going with etudes and pieces. In lessons I brought Bach’s piece with some kind of analyses for the first week, and memorized for the second week. When I reached WTC that was monumental. And the story continued! One of highlight in my life was to play Goldberg Variations with candle light at Los Angeles Bach Festival. The place was packed and when I finished the area at the end that feeling!! I can’t forget. Life is good! The long journey is over with joy and happiness, and satisfaction.

Easter is coming up soon. There is a beautiful J. S. Bach’s music, O Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht, BWV 118. The text is:

O Jesus Christ, light of my life,

my refuge, my comfort, my reassurance,

on earth I am only a guest

And the burden of sin presses down heavily upon me.

Martin Behm (1557- 1622)

サラダ好きのライオン 村上ラジオ3  村上春樹 マガジンハウス 3/15/18

March 15, 2018


A Movie “King of Hearts” 3/11/18

March 12, 2018

“King of Hearts” is a 1966 French comedy-drama film directed by Philippe de Broca. 50 years after the original film release, the movie is shown in a beautiful new 4k restoration. I did not know that “King of Hearts” has been a world wide cult favorite movie and it has been attracting the audience around the world! It is my first experience with this movie! It is very quirky and colorful, silly and truthful. The wits in the movie reminds me Monty Python (I confess that I am a big fan of MP). They share a similar tone of voice! During the World War I, Scottish soldier Private Plumpick is sent on a mission to a French village in the countryside to disarm a bomb set by the German army. Plumpick meets escapees from the local asylum who are the only people left in the village….. Who would tell the truth?? You have to see the movie! I strongly recommend this movie (especially if you like Monty Python!).

光の指で触れよ 池澤夏樹  中央公論新社 3/11/18

March 12, 2018


猿の見る夢  桐野夏生 講談社 3/11/18

March 11, 2018


君は嘘つきだから、小説家にでもなればいい 浅田次郎 文芸春秋 2/22/18

February 22, 2018


A Book “The Complete Correspondence of Clara and Robert Schumann” 2/18/18

February 18, 2018

This is the book I have been wanting to read! There are 2 volumes and it is really a complete correspondence. Eva Weissweiler has edited and Hildegard Fritsch and Ronald Crawford have translated into English. Thanks to my university! They let me have this book for a long period of time. We learn so many things from their letters, not only their lives, but also the lives of musicians in 19th century. I enjoy reading several letters a day and imagine their lives! It will take me for a while to complete reading it!

I am little envious to Clara and Robert. They write everything in their letters. They don’t hide their struggles, negative feelings, and complaining. I suppose they did not need to hide their feelings and emotions in their relationship. They cry, they laugh, they make jokes, they love, they do everything together!

Because of their long separations (before their marriage) their letters were often like essays. They spoke each other in their letters, longing and yearning. In one letter Clara writes ” You will crown me with the most beautiful wreath, the myrtle wreath..” When Robert composed his song collection Op. 25 he named “Myrthen (Myrtle) and dedicated to Clara in the year they got married. (By the way I have been playing Davidsbundlertanze recently and I hear Widmung – the first piece in Myrthen – in No. 6 of Book II in Davidsbundlertanze!!) The myrtle wreath is a symbol of love and it is quite an amazing naming for a gift to a new bride, Clara! Clara and Robert used their compositions as their love letters as well. Their lives give me a never-ending fantasy!

Piano Concert “Romance on Piano” Sat. 2/17 at 4pm

February 15, 2018

I am excited to perform this program this Saturday, 2/17 at 4pm, as a part of the concert series 3rd@1st. I have been coordinating this series and it is the 4th season! I am delighted to see the increase of audience and I really appreciate to all of donors to support the series. Thank you!!

The program will include Schumann: Davidsbundlertanze, Liszt: Rigoletto Paraphrase, Brahms: Klavierstucke Op. 118, and Chopin: Andante spianato et Grand Polonaise brillante, Op. 22. (Please forgive me I did not add German accents) I will share anecdotes and my personal attachment to the pieces during the concert. I hope you can join me to meet Schumann, Liszt, Brahms and Chopin! (