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

久しぶりに遠藤周作の本を手に取り、改めて、遠藤文学の深さに感動を覚えている。新聞小説として1980年から81年にかけて、朝日新聞に掲載されたもの。キリシタンを題材にした、朝、新聞を広げた時に読むには、かなり残酷、残忍だと思われる表現も沢山あり、かつ、その「愛」の深さについて、問うた小説。感動、感動。遠藤周作がその生涯をかけて取り組んだ、「日本のキリスト教」。情けなく、狡猾、弱く、みじめな伊藤の「どうしようもなさ」と、その対象にある、強く、一途で、芯がゆるがないキクの清々しさ。キクは、クリスチャンではなく、反発もしているのだけど、何故か大浦天主堂にあるマリア像にいつも語り掛ける。それは、時には「どうしてくれるんだよ!」という批判であり、愛の告白であり、嘆願である。人の人生の長さは、とても限られている。それを貴方はどう考える?どう生きる?

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

世界の村上が、こういう風に日常を捉えているのか・・・と、不思議な感じがするものの、何故かその「普通さ」に納得するのですね。音楽家も、ステージ上の自分と、日常の自分というのは、かなり違うし、まあそういう事なのかと、思っていますが。しかし、やはり私の中では、どうしても「世界の・・・」という気持が先に立ち、街角で会ってもおかしくない叔父さんというのが、受け入れ難い!相反することを、平気で言っています。すみません。でもきっと村上さんって、几帳面なんだろうなあとは、思っています。「ノルウエイの森」(これは私の大大好きな本です)の中には、アイロンがけのシーンが出てきて、それがとっても自然。見た事もないけれど、村上さんのシャツは、きっとピシッとしているに違いない。確信です!ああ、申し遅れました!この本は、村上さんのエッセイ集ですよ。いくつかとってもチャーミングなものがあるのですが、「献欲手帳」最高!大橋歩さんの挿絵(銅版画)が、良い味を加えているのは間違いなし。貴方も是非読むべし。

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

初めて、池澤さんの御本、読ませて頂きました。そして、とても気に入りました、その世界感に。その精神性と、日本的宗教観。新聞の連載小説として書かれたようですが、読者は毎日わくわくしたでしょうね。そして、同時に重い課題を与えられた事でしょう。夫婦と二人の子供、夫の愛人、その周囲を固める友人達の、真実を求める旅。例えば、主人公の妻が、スコットランドでパーマカルチャーを実践している友人に聞く場面がある。「こういう暮らしって、不安ではないの?もしもジャガイモの収穫がなかったらとか、もしもあそこに嵌める窓枠が見つからなかったらとか、考えないの?」と。すると、友人が「では、どんな暮らしならば不安でないか?何ならば絶対の安心の保証になる?」と言う。そして友人は続ける「外に保証はない。保証は自分の中にしかない。・・・・」この会話には、心底揺さぶられました。今でも、かなりガーンと来ていますね。文体も美しく、その中で漂う精神の会話がとても素敵で、究極を究めようとするも、がんじがらめにならない余裕がいつもある。池澤さんの次の本を読むのが、とても楽しみです。

猿の見る夢  桐野夏生 講談社 3/11/18

March 11, 2018

すべてが、最悪の方向に転がり落ちる!というお話。多分、高慢ちきな主人公が「猿」という訳なんだろうけど、何だかしっくり来ないんですね・・桐野さんの小説には、いつも大感動する私なのだけれど。主人公が、無駄に愚かすぎる!「愚かさ」に可愛気のかけらもなく、かと言ってしたたかさもない。そう、ただの馬鹿中年。だから、何故か読後にも、いつもの桐野さんの小説がくれる、どっしり感が全く持てなかった私です。すみません、こんなに批判してしまって・・きっと、貴方なら、違った感想が持てるのでしょうけれど。

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

流石!浅田次郎さん。本書中、ご自分でもでおっしゃっておられるように、「涙を誘う」エッセイ集です。ご母堂の話や、江戸っ子気質のご家族の話など、ありきたりとは言え、心温まります。もちろん、本書タイトルにあるように「小説家は嘘つき。。」という観点でとらえれば、まさに読者として簡単に騙されている事でもありますけどね!まあ、それでも結構。人生、騙し、騙され。しかし、御本人の生活スケジュールには、頭が下がります。お日様と共に起き、月が出たら(これは私の注釈)就寝という、まさに、日本古来の農耕民族的生活を送っていらっしゃる。私は子供時分から、完全な夜型(小学校3年くらいの時には、既に、夜7時から9時をピアノの練習にあてていたので。これだと、お日様のあるうちに、外で遊べるという利点はあるのですけど、ね!)。競馬関係のエッセイは、雲をつかむような感じで、すみませんが、すっ飛ばしました。しかし、美しい文章を読むというのは、本当に心の糧。大好きな時間です。

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! (http://fumcpasadena.org/news-events/thirdfirst/)