English Blog

Movie “Non-Fiction” (French Title: Doubles vies) 5/26/19

May 26, 2019

The French title “Double Lives” describes this movie better than “Non-Fiction”. A celebrated publisher, Alain, runs a famous publishing company. One day he refuses to publish a book by a controversial author, Léonard. They are friends! Alain’s company adapts to the digital age. From there the story will start slowly and go around their circle of friends, their wives and husbands. They get together often and discuss a lot whether the discussion would hurt their own friends or not. They must say their opinion. (my French teacher once said French people must say their opinion even though it will hurt people’s feeling) The discussion seems a sport! And affairs are happening in this small circle and they carry their “Double Lives”. It is not triangle! It can be hexagon or more! Léonard writes about his own affairs for his books, and gradually he becomes vague between real and fictional. I thought it could be more witty, romantic and clever….

 

 

 

A Movie “Être et Avoir” 5/5/19

May 5, 2019

It is a 2002 French documentary film. The title translates as “to be and to have”, the two auxiliary verbs in the French language which I have been studying. It portrays a primary school in the commune (population of about 200) of Saint-Êtienne-sur-Usson, Puy-de-Dôme, France. The school has one small class room for mixed ages, from four to twelve years old, with a dedicated teacher, Mr Lopez. He is patient, calm, loving and gentle. He listens the children with respect. The camera follows their stories through a single school year. There are a lot of tears and laughter. The families of those children and Mr. Lopez are very close. They can’t hide a secret. They try to talk through their problems and struggles. And there is always beautiful nature, whether with snow or flowers. Each student has their own thought and sometimes they fight, but Mr. Lopez does not let problems and conflicts sitting around. He always talks to students and tries to get their emotions out. Humanity… Preciousness.. I know after the movie release Mr. Lopez sued the film maker and lost his claim, and unfortunately the movie carries this negative side. But children are always sincere. And Mr. Lopez is an inspiring teacher. Je suit tombé amoureuse de ce film. Did I make a good sentence, Mr. Lopez?

 

Good Friday

April 19, 2019

It was very beautiful during Good Friday Service.

O vos omnes                 Pablo Casals

O vos omnes qui transitis per viam:
attendite et videte si est dolor sicut dolor meus.

(O all ye that pass by the way, attend and see if there be any sorrow like to my sorrow)
Lamentations 1:12

Performance Opportunity at Académie internationale d’été de musique de Lyon, from July 27 to August 5

April 16, 2019

Hello! I would like to extend my invitation to come to Lyon, France, to study piano and perform this summer. I will be a piano faculty at Académie internationale d’été de musique de Lyon. It will be my second time to be at this festival! The festival is fantastic and Lyon is a beautiful city to stroll around, especially the evening is very romantic. The date will be from July 27 to August 5. I hope to see you in Lyon this summer! We will have lot of fun making music together. Please contact me at junko_piano@yahoo.com if you are interested in! 

Warmly, Junko Ueno Garrett

Festival Information
https://www.academie-internationale-lyon.com/en/

Beethoven Piano Sonata Op. 78 “Therese” 3/25/19

March 25, 2019

This sonata has been living in the special part of my heart since I first learned. Actually I learned it when I was in high school, and the first day I started to study I was totally attracted and mesmerized. What a charm, how tender and sweet… and humor too! And there is no conflict and agony even though Beethoven was going through a very difficult time. The 4 bars of the introduction is amazingly warmhearted and amiable. You almost feel the warm sunlight in the early spring time. Nothing to worry. Nothing to be distressed. The flowers are starting to bloom. There is a path to the loving future and hope. Then the 1st theme starts at the bar 5. It is effortless. The beautiful melody flows so naturally. Throughout the 1st movement there are a lot of loving conversations, never an argument. F sharp Major continues to the 2nd movement. Now we are in vivace. The rondo theme is very delightful. We can’t stop smiling while we play this movement! The rondo theme develops with a variety of notations and ranges. The other theme (theme B) is very interesting, as if a man (bass line) and a lady (soprano line) are playing around! The bass line plays legato phase while the soprano line plays jumpy and playful phrase. Or they are following each other, alternating the same 2 notes! Beethoven was suffering more and more difficulty with his hearings, but when he is with his music his mind goes through wonderful imagination. He is a great story-teller. Recently I rekindled with “Therese” and my heart is filled with full of affection.

A Movie “Cinema Paradiso” 3/6/19

March 6, 2019

This movie is one of my lifetime favorites, and I have already seen it so many times. Again I saw it the other day. This time on my computer! It was my first time to purchase a movie online to watch. I prefer movies at the theater though…. The movie is just wonderful. I cried again. Reflecting my own mind the movie seemed even more beautiful this time than usual. Robert Schumann said “The human heart sometimes seems strange, and pain and joy are intermingled in wild variegation.”

Ash Wednesday 3/6/19

March 6, 2019

Psalm 102.9  “For I eat ashes like bread, and mingle tears with my drink”

Music Performance! Subjective? Objective? 2/24/19

February 25, 2019

I played Beethoven Piano Sonata Concert last week. I was deeply moved by Beethoven’s mind during my performance. Op. 109 is one of my favorite sonatas. I have already written about my thought on this piece. We can feel Beethoven’s tender mind in Op. 109. The last movement is written in variation form, and at the end of the piece the opening theme comes back for a closure. It is very comforting. This opening theme is very meditative. During the concert after the finale of the variations (this finale is a “Praise God” moment, and we hear angels singing and trumpet playing) when the opening theme came back, tears came down on my cheek. Beethoven took me to a different zone. After I played the last note I could not get back to the real world (!) for a while. I try to have a balance between “Subjective” and “Objective”, but I often forget! I feel so fortune to be a musician and to have a free mind.

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.