Blog and Book Reviews

銀河鉄道の父  門井慶喜   講談社文庫 7/10/20

July 10, 2020

不思議な引き合わせかも・・原田マハさんの「たゆたえども沈まず」でのゴッホとの時間の後に、この本。ゴッホも宮沢賢治も、生前は全く売れなかった。だけどゴッホには最愛の弟テオが、宮沢賢治にはその生涯を大きな愛で見守り続けた父がいた。両者とも短命である。しかし、その短い生涯で全て語り尽くした感がある。賢治の父政次郎は、「父親像」に乗っ取って、厳格であろうする。だけど、その愛は無償で、もう手のつけようが無いくらい、真実だ。幾つになっても、どうしようもなく、可愛いのだ。そして心配でしょうが無い。これは、「たゆたえども沈まず」同様、フィクションである。しかし、その題材がとてつもなく魅力的で大きいので、それを自由に作家の中で膨らませることが出来る”小説”は、何と素晴らしい事か。日本人なら多分誰でも知っている宮沢賢治。しかし、父親を通して賢治を見、その家族に触れると、とても新鮮に、生き生きとしてくる。宮沢家の喧騒が、紙面を通じて伝わってくるようだ。涙なしには読めない、感動の一冊である。

A Movie “Frantz” 7/8/20

July 8, 2020

It is a quiet and inward movie, setting in Germany and France in the post First World War era. “Frantz”, the name of the young German soldier who was killed during trench warfare, depicts an endless mourning period through the eyes of the war’s “lost generation”. Anna (Paula Beer) lost her fiancé, Frantz, and is living with his parents. Adrien (Pierre Niney), French veteran of the war, shows up mysteriously in her town, placing flowers on Frantz’s grave. Adrien’s presence in the German town is met with resistance by the small community still reeling from Germany’s defeat, but Anna gradually gets closer to the handsome and melancholy young French man. They started to share their emotional depth and their friendship started to grow. The story has a twist.

Can they desire for happiness? Guilt, Anger… This black and white film does not speak loud, but touches our heart.

 

 

動画・無料ピアノレッスン配信開始 

July 6, 2020

ご存知のように、音楽の世界は全く持って先が見えず、コンサートにしても、大学にしても、皆が大きな不安を抱えています。その中、New Normalとして、毎週配信するオンラインの無料ピアノレッスンを始めました。様々なレベルのレッスン経験と、自分の演奏活動から学んだ実践的な練習方法を使って、ロサンジェルスの自宅から毎週1回、レッスンを行います。一曲を何回かのレッスンに分けて細部まで指導、曲を無理なく仕上げるようにします。一緒に楽しく、音楽的にピアノを練習しませんか?今後も様々な曲を取り上げて行きます。質問もお待ちしています!
https://youtu.be/cD-JPq6SvUg

Ludwig van Beethoven – Song Cycle “An die Fern Geliebte (To the Distant Beloved) , Op. 98 7/3/20

July 3, 2020

I have been practicing Robert Schumann’s Fantasy Op. 17. I have so many things I want to say about this great piece, and will write it in a separate blog. Schumann uses quote from Beethoven’s “To the Distant Beloved” song cycle in his Fantasy. The quote comes from the 6th song which is very touching and moving. Beethoven wrote his famous “Immortal Beloved Letter” in 1812, and this song cycle was written in 1816. His feelings continue from the letter to this song cycle. The letter is very beautiful, truthful, and so personal. But for this song cycle, Beethoven asked Alois Isidor Jeitteles, a doctor, to write a text. The text is beautifully written, as if Jeitteles knew the existence of “Immortal Beloved Letter”. Each song takes us to the scenes Beethoven was imagining in his head.

“An die Fern Geliebte” is known to be one of the first example of a song cycle. Franz Schubert and Robert Schumann followed Beethoven’s step to write their own. I listen Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Gerald Moore.

“An die Fern Geliebte” text by Alois Isidor Jeitteles
1. On the hill sit I, peering
On the hill sit I, peering
Into the blue, hazy land,
Toward the far away pastures
Where I you, beloved, found.

Far am I, from you, parted,
Separating us are hill and valley
Between us and our peace,
Our happiness and our sorrow.

Ah! The look can you not see,
That to you so ardently rushes,
And the sighs, they blow away
In the space that separates us.

Will then nothing more be able to reach you,
Nothing be messenger of love?
I will sing, sing songs,
That to you speak of my pain!

For before the sound of love escapes
every space and every time,
And a loving heart reaches,
What a loving heart has consecrated!

2. Where the mountains so blue
Where the mountains so blue
Out of the foggy gray
Look down,
Where the sun dies,
Where the cloud encircles,
I wish I were there!

There is the restful valley
Stilled are suffering and sorrow
Where in the rock
Quietly the primrose meditates,
Blows so lightly the wind,
I wish I were there!

There to the thoughtful wood
The power of love pushes me,
Inward sorrow,
Ah! This moves me not from here,
Could I, dear, by you
Eternally be!

3. Light veils in the heights
Light veils in the heights,
And you, little brook, small and narrow,
Should my love spot you,
Greet her, from me, many thousand times.

See you, clouds, her go then,
Meditating in the quiet valley,
Let my image stand before her
In the airy heavenly hall.

If she near the bushes stands,
Now that autumn is faded and leafless,
Lament to her, what has happened to me,
Lament to her, little birds, my suffering!

Quiet west, bring in the wind
To my heart’s chosen one
My sighs, that pass
As the last ray of the sun.

Whisper to her of my love’s imploring,
Let her, little brook, small and narrow,
Truly, in your waves see
My tears without numbers!

4. These clouds in the heights
These clouds in the heights,
These birds gaily passing,
Will see you, my beloved.
Take me with you on your light flight!

These west winds will play
Joking with you about your cheek and breast,
In the silky curls will dig.
I share with you this pleasure!

There to you from this hill
Busily, the little brook hurries.
If your image is reflected in it,
Flow back without delay!

5. May returns, the meadow blooms
May returns, the meadow blooms,
The breezes they blow so softly, so mildly,
Chattering, the brooks now run.

The swallow, that returns to her hospitable roof,
She builds, so busily, her bridal chamber,
Love must dwell there.

She brings, so busily, from all directions,
Many soft pieces for the bridal bed,
Many warm pieces for the little ones.

Now live the couple together so faithfully,
What winter has separated is united by May,
What loves, that he knows how to unite.

May returns, the meadow blooms,
The breezes they blow so softly, so mildly,
Only I cannot go away from here.

When all that loves, the spring unites,
Only to our love no spring appears,
And tears are our only consolation.

6. Take, then, these songs
Take, then, these songs,
That I to you, beloved, sang,
Sing them again in the evenings
To the sweet sounds of the lute!

When the red twilight then moves
toward the calm, blue lake,
And the last ray dies
behind that hilltop;

And you sing, what I have sung,
What I, from my full heart,
Artlessly have sounded,
Only aware of its longings.

For before these songs yields,
What separates us so far,
And a loving heart reaches

For what a loving heart has consecrated.

たゆたえども沈まず 原田マハ 幻冬社文庫 7/3/20

July 3, 2020

兎に角、「感動」の一言です。最後の何ページかは、もう大泣き。ゴッホの絵は、いろいろな美術館で見て来たけれど、こんなに近くに、「人」として、ゴッホを感じたことはありません。これは、史実を踏まえた上での、フィクション。最後に美術史家の先生が解説をお書きになっているが、余りに深く研究しているので、史実と違うフィクションを楽しめないという感想。私も、前回の平野啓一郎の「葬送」で、私の考えているショパンと余りに違うので、平常心で読めなかった。そういう意味で言えば、私は大まかなゴッホの伝記は知っているものの、思い入れは全くないので、大いに本の中に入っていけた。原田さんの念密な下調べと、想像力で、ゴッホと日本人の画商(実在の人物)林忠正が出会い、ゴッホの弟・テオと画商の弟子が友情を温め、そこに世紀末のパリの喧騒と華やかさが加わり、素晴らしい物語が誕生。携帯電話で、本文中に出てくる絵を見ながら読むと、更に心に響くし、臨場感が湧く。家に居ることも多いこの頃、長編のこの本で、一人ゴッホの絵と戯れて見るのも一計では?

Seneca Quotes セネカの格言 6/18/20

June 18, 2020

他人の罪は目の前にあり、自分の罪は背中にある。

Other men’s sins are before our eyes, and our own are behind our backs.

 

神に見られているかのように人間の中で暮らし、人間が聞いているかのように神に話しかけよ。

Live among men as if God beheld you; speak to God as if men were listening.

 

およそ惨めなものは、将来のことを不安に思って、不幸にならない前に不幸になっている心です。

不幸な人の共通の過ちは、わが身に幸せが訪れることを、決して信じたがらないことである。

True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.

・・・・・

この他にも沢山心に染みる格言がありますよ。

 

 

 

 

 

Aspects de Chopin Alfred Cortot 6/18/20

June 18, 2020

I read this book in Japanese before (Japanese title misses “aspects” and just “Chopin”), but English translation is much better. Somehow the Japanese translator tried so hard to make it really complicated and difficult to understand… I practiced Cortot’s “Rational Principles of Pianoforte Technique” every day when I was young! He was one of the best Chopin interpreter. He was a teacher of Dinu Lipatti who is my personal hero! We can’t talk about pianism without Cortot. He formed a trio with Jacques Thibaud and Pablo Casals.

This book contains full of his affection to Chopin. He follows Chopin’s compositions, personality, relationships and works. If you love Chopin’s music, you will enjoy reading this book!

A Movie “The Farewell” 6/12/20

June 12, 2020

I truly enjoyed watching this movie. It is truthful, yet funny. It is soulful, yet silly. It is very entertaining and soul searching. The movie follows a Chinese family’s journey to search Chinese belief (I share this belief as a Japanese too) and to help the family’s difficulty together.  It happened when they discovered that their beloved Grandmother has only a short life to live. So they set up the grandson’s wedding to have a reason to gather in China because all of families are scattered, living in Japan and USA. Billi (Awkwafina) has a difficulty to keep family’s secret in front of her beloved grandma because the family decided not to tell the truth to the grandma according to Chinese belief. Everyone has difficulty to keep their feeling uplifted in front of the grandma. The grandma is so happy to see everyone and so excited to have a big wedding. First of all, Awkwafina is an amazing actress. You forget this is a movie so she is acting. She is so natural. This movie was a big hit last year. If you have not seen it yet, it is truly recommended! It is actually a perfect movie during our pandemic.

A Notebook (光塩女子学院・中学校卒業時の)- Full of Encouragement and Affection 6/3/2020

June 3, 2020

I have plenty of time now, and it is a good time to sort through my possession for the next step of my life. First, I  have been going through concert programs, photos, and schedule books to sort and to clean up. I filled a big trash bin before the trash collection last week! I am trying to digitalize all of my photos, except my childhood albums. If you only know the digital photos, photo albums take a big space and once it is made, no one opens and looks at! Once I finish this project, all of my photos will be in my computer/phon. I have kept most of my concert programs with posters, but I gave up posters and decided to keep one program from each concert. I decided not to digitalize those programs. I have kept my schedule books (I have done my schedule with phone for the last 10 years or so) for some reason, I don’t know why!! So they went to the trash bin. I feel great! My shoulder does not keep unnecessary weight anymore.

And I found this little notebook. When I was 14, I decided to go to the performing arts high school, instead of continuing to my beloved girls high school. All of my class mates took time to write some essays for me. They liked my piano. They wanted to come to my concert in future. They liked my wild attitude. They joked. They joked about our teachers. They drew cartoons. So much encouragement and affection. Since the day I found this little notebook, I have been keeping it on my nightstand. If the house gets fire, I will grab this notebook first.

I will perform a concert in Tokyo next May, collaboration with my girls school’s alumni association. I so much look forward for this occasion. I finally have a chance to play for my classmates since the graduation.

Pentecost Poems May/2020

May 31, 2020

Today is Pentecost, the Christian festival celebrating the descent of the Holy Spirit on the disciples of Jesus after his Ascension, held on the seventh Sunday after Easter. I think those are beautiful poems for Pentecost.

Unless the eye catch fire,
The God will not be seen.
Unless the ear catch fire
The God will not be heard.
Unless the tongue catch fire
The God will not be named.
Unless the heart catch fire,
The God will not be loved.
Unless the mind catch fire,
The God will not be known.

William Blake (1757-1827) from Pentecost

 

PENTECOST
Today we feel the wind beneath our wings
Today  the hidden fountain flows and plays
Today the church draws breath at last and sings
As every flame becomes a Tongue of praise.
This is the feast of fire, air, and water
Poured out and breathed and kindled into earth.
The earth herself awakens to her maker
And is translated out of death to birth.
The right words come today in their right order
And every word spells freedom and release
Today the gospel crosses every border
All tongues are loosened by the Prince of Peace
Today the lost are found in His translation.
Whose mother-tongue is Love, in every nation.

By Matthew Guite