Blog and Book Reviews

Robert Schumann: Kreisleriana Op. 16 6/19/17

June 19, 2017

I have been always wanting to learn this monumental work, and this year is the time for it. I have been figuring out, studying, reading, practicing, but finally I have more time to really focus on Kreisleriana for the last few weeks. Now I can’t stop playing it. The tunes are constantly playing in my head. The images of Clara and Robert are staring to appear when I practice. I enjoy spotting the conversation between Robert and Clara in the music going with Julia/Kreisler in E. T. A. Hoffman’s novel. Hoffman and Schumann shared many aspects in their lives and Schumann uses Kresler from Hoffman’s novel and express his feeling toward Clara. Robert wrote to Clara “You and one of your ideas play the main role in it, and I want to dedicate it to you, yes, you and nobody else, and then you will smile so sweetly when you discover yourself in it….” It is known that Robert and Clara often had secret codes (!) in their music and only they knew the messages! How wonderful! I am sure musicologists have tried to discover those secrets. I believe some of them are from their pranky conversation or flirting acts. Nobody else needs to know!

I learned the important German word, Sehnsucht. (I took German for one year in the conservatory in Japan, and I forgot everything!) I think it is translated in English as longing, wistful, yearning, nostalgic, and futile attempts to complete the sentiment.. Schumann’s romanticism only exists with “Sehnsucht”. There was no way for Robert to communicate with Clara when she was away (she was one of the best pianists in the era). There were letters, but I am sure it took forever to reach. There was no photo to look at (he may had her portrait), no phone to hear her voice. His sentiment had no cure, and the imagination and longing was what he was hanging onto. Robert was in sanctuary when he thought of Clara and composed music. His mind was in peace.

I am ecstatic to live with Kreisleriana, and it is fun to come to piano everyday to greet with Robert and Clara. (I got a new piano a year and half ago, and it is more fun to practice at home now). I am sure I will develop more affection toward them as I practice and learn!

波打ち際の蛍 島本理生 角川書店 6/19/17

June 19, 2017


大きな熊が来る前に、おやすみ。   島本理生 新潮社  6/19/17

June 19, 2017


“Hymn to the Eternal Flame” text by Michael Dennis Browne 6/5/17

June 6, 2017

In 2005 Stephen Paulus, an American composer, and Michael Dennis Browne teamed up together to create the oratorio “To be Certain of the Dawn” commemorating the sixtieth anniversary of the liberation of death camps in Europe. “Hymn to the Eternal Flame” is drawn from this work. The music gave me tear..

Every face is in you, every voice,

Every sorrow in you.

Every pity, every love,

Every memory, woven into fire.

Every breath is in you, every cry,

Every longing in you.

Every singing, every hope,

Every healing, woven into fire.

Every heart is in you,

Every tongue, every trembling in you,

Every blessing, every soul,

Every shining, woven into fire.

まほろ駅前狂騒曲・番外地 三浦しをん  5/31/17

June 1, 2017


歩いても歩いても 是枝祐和 幻冬舎 5/31/17

June 1, 2017


A Movie “Paris Can Wait” 5/31/17

June 1, 2017

First and Most importantly it is a bad movie… It is an insult to French people!! This movie goes through a very shallow surface of France and portraits a French man as a “desire only, no brain” type. I have very good French friends living in a country side near Limoges, and have stayed at their petite château. I have met so many wonderful French people and admire their culture. I love French country side.. My friends often take me to woods and we explore the nature as if Chopin would walk and get an imagination to write Ballades. Anyway it is a deep disappointment. I wasted my time and money!

Lord of All Hopefulness by Jan Struther (1901-1953)

May 29, 2017

Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy,

Whose trust, ever child-like, no cares can destroy,

Be there at our walking, and give us, we pray,

Your bliss in our hearts, Lord, at the break of the day.


Lord of all eagerness, Lord of all faith

Whose strong hands were skilled at the plane and the lathe,

Be there at our labors, and give us, we pray,

Your strength in our hearts, Lord, at the noon of the day.


Lord of all kindliness, Lord of all grace,

Your hands swift to welcome, your arms to embrace,

Be there at our homing, and give us, we pray,

Your love in our hearts, Lord, at the eve of the day.


Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm,

Whose voice is contentment, whose presence is balm,

Be there at our sleeping, and give us, we pray,

Your peace in our hearts, Lord, at the eve of the day.



A Movie “A Quiet Passion” 5/26/17

May 26, 2017

I like Emily Dickinson’s poems. The movie is about her. She basically lived in isolation with close relationship of family members and few friends. She created so many beautiful poems, but she almost did not leave her home. She lived in her room, upstairs of her family home. She never gotten married, but she wrote so many love poems without reality. Her imagination, her creation, her expression, her dream, her hope.. Below is her poem. It could be interpreted as sexual desire, but I would not want to think that way. It is a love poem. If you are interested in her life and poems the movie is wonderful.

Wild nights! Wild nights!

Were I with thee,

Wild nights should be

Our luxury!

Futile the winds

To a heart in port,-

Done with the compass,

Done with the chart.

Rowing in Eden!

Ah! the sea!

Might I but moor

To-night in thee!

鍵のない夢を見る  辻村美月  文芸春秋 5/26/17

May 26, 2017