Blog and Book Reviews

白いしるし 西加奈子  新潮文庫  2/19/19

February 19, 2019

ポーランド映画の”Cold War”を見た後、この究極の恋愛小説を読んだ。ああ。。やっぱり私は、日本人。全てがしっくりする。心から共感し、涙する。夏目と間島。会うべくして、出会った二人。濃密な二人だけの時間。それはとても短いものだけど、その豊かさ故に、時間が関係なくなる。”想いを馳せる時間”、何て苦しく、素敵なのだろう。是非、お薦めの一冊。

A Movie “Cold War” 2/19/19

February 19, 2019

“Cold War” has been advertised and talked. So I went to see it. Yes, it is beautiful and romantic. The picture (black and white) is gorgeous. The music is great. But the story is not convincing to me. I suppose the story does not matter in romance?? Each scene is almost a segment, and sometimes they are not connected each other. Again it may be the way the director wanted. So we, the audience, have to make up “in between”.

Beethoven Piano Sonata Editions 2/11/19

February 11, 2019

As I practice Beethoven Sonatas I have been looking at the different editions for my curiosity. Henle is wonderful and just so nice to see the dark blue cover! Recently I am drawn to Hans von Bülow edition. I can tell he was a great teacher. His comments are often very practical, yet very passionate. We know that he was one of very first Beethoven scholar, and of course he understood Beethoven deeply. It is so wonderful to feel his affection to Beethoven’s music in his edition! Also his writing is quite charming to me because of the elegant expression.  My Japanese piano teacher always encouraged me to look at different editions, at least 3 different, when I was very young. I still do. IPad music is getting more and more common in these days, and it is certainly very convenient. I may shift to IPad for my chamber music playing. But personally I can’t study music well with IPad. It is so wonderful to compare different books and see the pages! I know I am a dinosaur! Anyway it gives us a great feeling to read what music giants were thinking.

Living with Beethoven’s Life 1/21/19

January 21, 2019

I am focusing on Beethoven’s music in the 2018-19 season. I was little overwhelmed few weeks ago preparing so many Beethovens! I just performed Beethoven’s 3 cello sonatas, and will perform Beethoven’s 3 piano sonatas in February. It was almost “miracle” that I started to feel comforted once I passed the stage being overwhelmed. Beethoven’s life has given us the great imagination for many years in the world. He is a giant and he is a human-being. I often find moments in his music “Ludwig, you are trying to trick us?!” or “You are having an amazing time!” or “You are giving me a hard time…” or just simply “I love your music”. It has been and it will be an honor to live with Beethoven’s music and life.

Beethoven wrote various sonatas for various instruments in a different part of his life and it is a wonderful journey to survey those pieces with his life. I am preparing Op. 31 No. 3 “Hunt”, Op. 53 “Waldstein”, and Op. 109, “Hunt” as one of the happiest sonatas, “Waldstein” as one of the most virtuoso ones, and Op. 109 as most tender one. He tells a lot of stories in those sonatas. As I wrote in the past 2 main facts should be examined for studying piano sonatas, one to be the instrument development (pianoforte to modern piano), and another one to be his deafness which transformed his existence. I imagine Beethoven loved new gadget. If he would live in the current era I am sure he would love the technology! So piano development was a big part of Beethoven’s piano composition.

My concert for 3 Beethoven Sonatas will be on Saturday February 16 at 4pm at First United Methodist Church of Pasadena (500 E. Colorado Blvd. Pasadena, CA 91101) as a part of 3rd@1st Concert Series . I will speak about the pieces and will perform.

 

タンノイのエジンバラ 長嶋有  文藝春秋 1/21/19

January 21, 2019

人生の一コマを切り取り、それを丁寧に描ける作家、長嶋有さん。4編の短編からなるこの本。どのお話も、もしかすると、見逃してしまうかもしれない、だけど、とても大事な、とても苦しい、だけど、とても素敵な、そんな人生の一コマを、描いている。オンラインに翻弄される時代、こういった時間空間が、とても貴重で、特別だ。オンラインの生活が普通になってしまった現在、情報も溢れ、ちょっと素敵なウェッブページも平凡になり、人は次から次へと「興奮」を求める。「自分であること」を持ち続ける大変さもあるけど、それが出来た人が人生の光を見つけて行くと思う。そういった方向性を差し出してくれる、本です。

夕子ちゃんの近道 長嶋 有 新潮社 1/8/19

January 8, 2019

私も日本に居た頃は、行きつけの居酒屋があって、何となく仲間が集まって、家族っぽくなったりして居た。日本的な空間というか、空気感というか、チマチマと言うと語弊があるかもしれないけど、半径10メートルくらいの中で起こる日常が、描かれているこの本。片側が5車線くらいあるフリーウエーがバーンと走っているアメリカ暮らしの中にいると、遥か彼方の物語に見える。とっても、素敵なのだけれども。日本人にはやっぱり「裸の付き合い」とか、「隣組」とか、「町内の回覧板」とか、が似合うなあ。だjけど、日本に帰国する度に思うのは、ちょこっと旅人で行くと、町はごちゃごちゃしているものの、「人間味」とか「温かみ」に触れるのは困難だと言う事。以前にも書いたけど、「故郷は、遠くにありて思うもの」とは、言い得て妙。日本の友人たちからも、「家族」の難しさについて聞かされるし・・・映画「万引き家族」然り、血の繋がりとは関係ない密な関係が、求められている時代なのだろう。「夕子ちゃんの近道」でも、そんな寄集めの集団での、「暖かい」人間関係が描かれている。(追伸:大雑把に見えるアメリカ社会だけど、家族の絆は強いし、家族を皆本当に大事にして居ますよ。)

猛スピードで母は 長嶋有 文芸春秋 1/2/19

January 2, 2019

カッコ良い、お母さんだ。それも飛び切りの、カッコ良さ。そして、自分の信念を曲げない。「我が道」を行くのだけど、決して我儘ではない。離婚して、男友達だっている。結構、モテるのだ。そのお母さんが大好きな慎が、「母」の事について語る小説。「母」はいつも、猛スピードで車を走らせる。

想像ラジオ いとうせいこう 河出書房 1/2/19

January 2, 2019

不思議な、そしてとても現実的な、哀しくも、愛おしい話。東日本大震災の亡くなった方々の会話が、想像ラジオで流れるというもの。死者と生きている者とを結ぶ橋が、どこにあるのか。もしくは、ないけれど、それを心愛おしく思うのか。死者の世界って?この世界の人間が行った事のない黄泉の世界の声を、代弁してくれる小説である。人間の「想像」という力は、すごい。これこそ、人間たりうる能力で、動物にないもの。私自身、空想癖があるし、想像の世界で楽しむのが好きである。黄泉の世界の想像ラジオ、ご興味があれば、是非この本を紐解いて欲しい。

A Movie “Capernaum” 1/2/19

January 2, 2019

I saw this movie just before Christmas. “Capernaum” blurs the line between fiction and reality. The performers are not acting. They are real people, like the characters in the movie. The movie is from Lebanon, and directed by Nadine Labaki. The movie starts with the scene which a 12 years old, Zain (Zain Al Rafeea), is in the court suing his own parents for their negligence and abuse. He wanted to sue his parents because he was born, and he wanted his parents to stop having more children. They are not registered. His parents have stayed where they were born, but Zain wanted to change. He has been taking care of his siblings, and he works at the nearby market. He is the one to bring food for the family. His father drinks. Everything is so painful and hopeless. But Zain has a mind and strength to think. The movie received the jury prize at Cannes Film Festival in 2018. It is a very powerful movie. It has been more than a week since I saw this movie, and I still think about it.

Christmas Prayer 12/24/18

December 24, 2018

Holy God of love, we rejoice in the reality of who you are.

We live within the joy of your love for us.

Our contentment comes and goes.

Our happiness ebbs and flows.

Our feelings depends upon our circumstances,

but our joy is deeply rooted in our identity as you beloved children. 

We give you thanks this day and always.