Saturday, January 29, 2011

Klavierabend zum 150.Jubiläum der deutsch-japanischen Freundschaft

Heute möchte ich mein nächstes Konzert in Berlin ankündigen.

Anlässlich des 150-jährigen Jubiläums der Freundschaft zwischen Deutschland und Japan führe ich einen Klavierabend mit deutschen und japanischen Werken auf. Es ist mir eine große Ehre und Freude, wieder im Konzerthaus auftreten zu können. Für diese Gelegenheit habe ich berühmte und wichtige Komponisten beider Länder ausgewählt und ein besonderes Programm zusammengestellt. Jedes dieser Werke eröffnet sowohl einen tiefen Einblick in die unterschiedlichen Schönheiten der Musik beider Länder, als auch in die Seelen und Charaktere dieser Komponisten.


Konzertdetails:
Datum: Samstag, 12. Februar 2011, 20Uhr
Ort: Konzerthaus Berlin Kleiner Saal (Gendarmenmarkt, 10117 Berlin)
Programm :
Robert Schumann / Novelletten Op.21 Nr.1, 2, und 8
Ludwig van Beethoven / Sonate Nr.31 As-dur Op.110
Pause
Joji Yuasa (1929-) / Subliminal Hey J. (1990, Deutsche Uraufführung)
Toru Takemitsu (1930-1996) / For Away (1973)
Toshio Hosokawa (1955-) / Nacht Klänge (1968)
Mutsuo Shishido (1929-2007) / Suite pour le Clavier (1968)

Ticket : 20 Euro / 14 Euro, 10% Ermäßigung für Berechtigte
Tickets an allen bekannten VVK-Stellen,
unter www.konzerthaus.de und unter 030-203 09 21 01

Zum Programm:
Im Alter von 21 Jahren habe ich meine erste kommerzielle CD eingespielt - Schumanns „Novelletten“. Wie der Titel suggeriert, handelt es sich um "kleine Geschichten", mit denen Schumann seiner Geliebten Clara auf romantische Art und Weise vom Alltag erzählt.

Beethovens Sonate Op.110 ist meine Lieblings- und vielleicht seine schönste Klaviersonate. Während man im gesamten Verlauf des Werkes viele Aspekte der Menschlichkeit und Heiligkeit erlebt, nimmt uns das grandiose Finale mit in eine andere Dimension.

Yuasa war ein Kollege von Takemitsu im Kreis der japanischen Musikavantgarde Jikken-Kobo.
"Subliminal Hey J." wurde komponiert für das Aufnahmeprojekt der japanischen Pianistin Aki Takahashi. Sie ließ elf avantgardistische Komponistenfreunde - einschließlich Toru Takemitsu, John Cage, Frederic Rzewski - Beatleslieder aus dem Lennon-McCartney Songbook auf experimentelle Weise bearbeiten.
Yuasa hat das Lied "Hey Jude" ausgewählt und den Titel auf witzige Weise mit seinem eigenen Vornamen (Joji) kombiniert.

Takemitsu ist der berühmteste japanische Komponist des 20. Jahrhunderts. Er selbst hat Musik studiert und wurde durch viele verschiedene musikalische Stile beeinflusst, unter anderem Wiener Klassik, die französische Schule, japanische traditionelle Musik, Jazz und Filmmusik. "For Away" schrieb er kurz nach seiner Reise durch Indonesien, wo er zum ersten Mal die balinesische Gamelan-Musik gehört hatte. Von ihrer Schönheit und ihrem philosophischen Konzept war er sofort begeistert.

Der Name Hosokawa ist heutzutage in der Musikwelt so häufig anzutreffen, wie der Takemitsus, da er von wichtigen Festivals als Gast-Komponist eingeladen wird und Werke für erstklassige Musiker und Orchester schreibt. Seine Musik ist im Wesentlichen von japanischer traditioneller Kunst beeinflusst. Obwohl der Titel "Nacht Klänge" eine ruhige Musik erwarten lässt, erlebt man spannungsgeladene, ungewöhnliche Klänge, welche teilweise auf eine sehr extravagante Art und Weise im Korpus-Inneren des Flügels erzeugt werden, eingebettet in unerwartete, rhythmisch-freie Pausen.

Shishido hat in Paris mit Olivier Messiaen und André Jolivet studiert. Die "Suite pour le clavier" hat eine ungewöhnliche Struktur (Toccata-Adagio-Toccata II), aber zeigt so besonders eindringlich die japanische Seele, ihren Rhythmus und Virtuosität. Als ich dieses Werk bei meinem Debüt-Recital im Lincoln Center gespielt habe, beschrieb es die New York Times anschließend als "a real treat".

Ich würde mich sehr freuen, wenn Sie recht zahlreich an meinem Sonderkonzert in Berlin teilhaben!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Review of my recital in the Wigmore Hall

The Independent gave me 5 STARS for my Wigmore Hall recital!
Here is the review, which appeared on the 18th of January.

The guru principle holds good in Western classical music as it does in the music of the East. Kotaro Fukuma's programme note suggests he's collected a whole gallery of gurus: if he's drawn the key element from each, he should have crossed Leon Fleisher's Teutonic power with Aldo Ciccolini's Italian finesse, and Richard Goode's serene classicism with Maria Joao Pires's bold Romanticism; Mitsuko Uchida's fastidious intensity with Leslie Howard's virtuosity.


He opened his Wigmore recital with three of Schumann's Novelletten - pieces exploring the piano's texture, and pervaded by a curiously inward mood. Working on a large canvas, and with oils rather than watercolours, he gave each a vivid characterisation. His touch ranged from cantabile sweetness to sinewy muscularity, but there was no forcing of the music's fugitive emotions.

With Chopin's grandest Nocturne (in C minor) followed by his most majestic Ballade (in F minor), Fukuma then took things onto a more exalted plane. The opening of the Nocturne had an imperial spaciousness, with the arpeggiated chords being caressed rather than struck. The Ballade had a nobly singing tone, and its variations finally wound to a blaze of virtuoso magnificence. Perfectly judged and immaculate, this was playing such as one rarely encounters. Fukuma's physical relaxaion was reflected in his consistently beautiful sound.

Then, after using a silk handkerchief to wipe the sweat off the keys, he launched into Liszt, and into the empyrean. First came two concert studies, "Waldesrauschen" and "Gnomenreigen", and I have never heard the latter played with such velvet-pawed brilliance. Then came "Grande Etude de Perfectionnement" and six "Grandes Etudes de Paganini". These electrified Fukuma's packed audience much as Liszt and Paganini must have done theirs. As one finger-breaker followed another, and with his crossed hands moving like humming birds, he delivered this demonic music as though nothing could have been more natural. Everything had an airy lightness, and a bewitching beauty.

Then came three encores, by Liszt, Albeniz, and Chopin: the first and third exquisite, the second full of gutsy southern warmth.
A fabulous artist, and at 28 a prince among peers.

by Michael Church

Monday, January 17, 2011

My worst new year ever!?

I am sorry I have not updated my blog for some time.

I was very busy at the end of my stay in Japan, but I had a good time there with friends and family. I traveled in Kansai (Western Japan) and visited many beautiful and spiritual places. It was a precious experience for me. I wish I could have stayed for the New Year (正月 sho-gatsu) with my family in Japan, but I had to return to Europe to prepare for my recital in London.

As the Japanese proverb says: a misfortune happens when you least expect it...I encountered several unexpected misfortunes when I returned to Europe.
When I arrived home in Berlin on Dec. 27th, I found water had been leaking from the ceiling of my apartment because of heavy snow! I had to spend time shifting buckets, moving furniture and drying the floor until late night. The next day, someone came to repair the roof, but did not do a good job and the leaking started again after a couple of days break. In the meantime I came down with a cold and couldn't practice for three days.


The worst day was January 1st. I woke up at 7am (after about 4 hours sleep) because of the sound of a "waterfall" and found a stream in the living room...a nightmare!! I called some emergency numbers, but I could reach only the fire department. A fireman came and saw the miserable situation, then told me he could do nothing except to advise turning off the electricity and heating for safety. The roof was finally repaired properly in the late afternoon, but I couldn't stay at home without electricity and heating, so I moved to a friend's home, carrying valuable things. Fortunately the water leaking stopped the next day. You can not imagine how physically and mentally down I felt during this time.


I pulled myself together and flew to London on January 5th and my feelings immediately turned positive when I met some friends and finally could concentrate on my music and not on my series of Berlin disasters.

However, one more accident was to occur just before my performance. One of the hammers of the piano came off as the technician was regulating the voice (sound quality)! That happened at 6:55 pm, just 5 minutes before the doors were to open for the public! The technician and the hall managers ran downstairs, were able to get a hammer from another piano and repaired the concert piano within 15 minutes. The doors were opened at 7:18 pm while I was quickly checking the instrument!

If anyone wonders why I seemed happy on the stage during my performance even after that accident, it was because I was simply happy to perform in Wigmore Hall for the second time and to have such a big audience (nearly a full house!) and also because I had survived the series of misfortunes in Berlin before coming to London. After those experiences, nothing could give me any fear or stress. I was only motivated to enjoy the intense moment of the great music.

I want to thank everyone who supported me for this special concert. I hope to perform in London again in the near future!