iTunes Release: Three Pieces for Four Hands

Orange Mountain Music released “Three Pieces for Four Hands” today on iTunes. Orphée, Stokes and The Voyage were recorded last year in the Musiktheater Linz for digital release only.

Maki to premiere first Piano Sonata by Philip Glass

Philip Glass is writing his first piano sonata ever for Maki Namekawa who is going to premier the piece at Klavier-Festival Ruhr on July, 4th in Essen, Germany.
The work is commissioned by Klavier-Festival Ruhr.

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Deutsche Schallplattenkritik

Isang Yun | Sunrise Falling is on the longlist of “Deutsche Schallplattenkritik”. 155 music-critics nominated 276 new releases in 32 categories of the last three months. The shortlist will be reveales on Feburary, 15th.

GLASS Motion Picture & MISHIMA | Review from Gramophone UK

Namekawa’s excellent performance, combining both terraced dynamics and a kind of ‘terraced articulation’, stems from previous work on Glass’s set of 20 Piano Études. Her ability to shape, pace and project the composer’s music is most impressive during the more extended tracks, where she keeps all three elements superbly in check.

On the surface there’s not a lot to distinguish between these two discs. Both feature film music by Philip Glass in arrangements by longtime collaborator Michael Riesman on the composer’s own Orange Mountain label. Both also showcase the excellent Glass interpreter Maki Namekawa. However, both recordings display different sides to Namekawa’s musical character.

On ‘Motion Picture’ she is joined by the impressive Cello Octet Amsterdam in a three-movement concert-style suite of Glass’s soundtrack to Stephen Daldry’s 2002 film The Hours, followed by music written by the composer to accompany Tod Browning’s classic 1931 film remake of Dracula. Unlike the recording featuring Riesman himself with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra and Anne Manson (7/13), there’s very little by way of conflict here between soloist and accompaniment. During the opening two movements neither side seems willing to command centre stage. Cello Octet Amsterdam project a rich yet intimate tone and at times Namekawa’s piano hides behind the cellos’ warm sonorous glow. The tone inevitably grows more agitated during the turbulent passages that appear throughout the Dracula soundtrack but even here Namekawa’s piano sits inside the sound – as a cog in the ensemble’s wheel rather than an external mechanism driving it forward.

Glass once pointed out that The Hours is ‘a film about how art affects life’. In the case of the controversial Japanese writer and film-maker Yukio Mishima, the reverse is true: life impinged on his art to such an extent that resolution could only be achieved through death. Mishima’s final day, which leads to his suicide (or seppuku) bookends Paul Schrader’s 1985 biopic about the novelist. In between, four episodes in the artist’s life are interspersed with episodes from Mishima’s childhood and scenes enacted from The Temple of the Golden Pavilion and Confessions of a Mask.

Glass’s original soundtrack contained music for string orchestra and percussion to represent the present, cues for string quartet to evoke the past and incidental music for a combination of strings, electronic harp, electric guitar and synthesised sounds for the fictional scenes. Recreating such a diverse palette on a solo piano is impossible but Namekawa is clearly mindful of the need to characterise each cue accordingly. The opening, featuring bright music-box-style figures, takes an ominous turn when a scale-like pattern in the lower register snakes across the piano’s middle range. Namekawa’s excellent performance, combining both terraced dynamics and a kind of ‘terraced articulation’, stems from previous work on Glass’s set of 20 Piano Études (2/15). Her ability to shape, pace and project the composer’s music is most impressive during the more extended tracks, where she keeps all three elements superbly in check.

➞ GRAMOPHONE UK

Making of Mishima Part 01

This short documentary was shot during the recording of MISHIMA in June 2017.
Philip Glass and Michael Riesman comment on the soundtrack to the Paul Schrader movie.

Pasticcio Award for Maki

Today Maki received the renowned classical music award “Pasticcio Preis” for MISHIMA | Maki Namekawa plays Philip Glass by Austrian national radio Ö1. Congratulations!

 

Auf zwei Klavieren virtuos tanzen | Oberösterreichische Nachrichten vom 23. Okt. 2018

Schon zur Zeit Mozarts war es Usus, große Symphonien für kleinere Besetzungen zu bearbeiten.

So auch für Klavier, wobei mehr Spielraum zwei Klaviere erlauben, die Maki Namekawa und Dennis Russell Davies bei ihrem Recital anlässlich des 100. Geburtstags von Leonard Bernstein am Sonntag im Großen Saal der Anton Bruckner Privatuniversität gehörig zum Klingen brachten.

Bernstein pur

Maki Namekawa und Dennis Russell Davies gelingt das Kunststück, die pianistische Analyse so zu interpretieren, dass die Klangfarben des orchestrierten Originals durchaus greifbar sind. Nicht minder sezierend sind György Kurtágs Choralpräludien von Johann Sebastian Bach, die in dieser Form jede Linie verfolgen lassen. Im zweiten Teil dann Leonard Bernstein pur. Zunächst “Music for two Pianos” des damals 19-Jährigen, die er bei einem Konzert der Klasse von Heinrich Gebhard mit Mildred Spiegel in Boston uraufgeführt hat. Hier sind die typischen Bernstein’schen Rhythmen angelegt. Manches davon findet sich in “On the Town” wieder.

John Musto hat Bernsteins “Symphonic Dances from West Side Story” für zwei Klaviere bearbeitet, eine Fassung, die Maki Namekawa und Dennis Russell Davies auf der ganzen Welt spielten. Das gesamte Programm wurde technisch fulminant, musikalisch hinreißend und den Gehalt der Werke auf den Punkt treffend umgesetzt.

Fazit: Das Duo Maki Namekawa und Dennis Russell Davies schafft es auf zwei Flügeln, die Klangfarben des orchestrierten Originals greifbar zu machen.

Bruckneruni: Klavierabend mit Maki Namekawa und Dennis Russell Davies, 21. 10.

Michael Wruss