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Noriko Ogawa Piano Recital: Beethoven+ Vol. 3

Yoshihiro Kanno
Composer and Professor at Waseda University, Faculty of Science and Engineering, School of Intermedia Art and Science

Noriko Ogawa Piano Recital: Beethoven+ Vol. 3 was held on a snow day on February 11th, 2011, a date which is also National Founding Day in Japan. The recital was sponsored by Muza Kawasaki Symphony Hall. This recital was the 3rd installment of a series which has been continued for 3 years since September 2009. This year's recital was the final performance of the series. Noriko Ogawa is one of the most prolific core pianists in Japan. She bases her activities out of London and Tokyo, spending more than half of each performing overseas. Indeed, Ogawa is so active that she spends about 30 days each year in the sky on international airline flights. This year's recital marked the finale of 9 Beethoven piano sonatas that Ogawa has performed over the past 3 years. The recital featured Piano Sonata No. 30, 31, and 32 (Op. 109, 110, and 111), and it is no exaggeration to say that Beethoven poured all of his remaining life into these sonatas. As such, the sonatas are difficult works which require an extreme high level of emotion and technique. Ogawa closed this recital series with the outstanding accomplishment of performing these sonatas without an interval. The music woven from Ogawa's unshakeable concentration succeeded brilliantly in portraying the central themes prominent in Beethoven's final years, as well as depicting the rise of a spiraling shape. The silence which followed the whirlwind of energy bursting from Ogawa's performance left an unforgettable impression on the hearts of concertgoers.

The stage used masterful lighting

The "plus" in Beethoven+ refers to the production "'A Particle of Rainbow' for Piano and Kabuki Orgel" by Yoshihiro Kanno, a work created through a joint commission to Muza Kawasaki Symphony Hall and Noriko Ogawa. This production was also the 3rd installment in the past 3 years. The 2009 production was entitled "'A Particle of Light' for Piano and Nambu Bell" and the 2010 production was entitled "'A Particle of Water' for Piano and Myochin Hibashi chopsticks." Ogawa, who is active mainly overseas, desired to play a work which contained "something Japanese", and the Muza Kawasaki Symphony Hall hoped to convey music from Kawasaki throughout the world. These desires were the start of the 3 productions, and the previous 2 productions have already been performed in countries such as England, Norway, New Zealand and France. The performances have also been broadcast on BBC and will be shown on NHK this March. The current "Rainbow" production is schedule to be performed in London this May. A performance of all 3 productions is scheduled to be held in Manchester in June of 2012. We are eagerly awaiting reviews of these performances which are already being eagerly discussed throughout the music world.

Another important aspect is that the plan for these recitals was born from Muza Kawasaki Symphony Hall, an institution located in Kawasaki, a self-professed "town of music." For a long time, the music hall has been rumored to be part of a government focusing on the construction of public buildings. However, these efforts to convey music from Kawasaki throughout the world should be highly evaluated. Stated somewhat bluntly, pop music invigorates a town while classical music increases a town's brand image and contributes to the improvement and maintenance of public safety. Although I will leave the analysis of this cost-benefit relationship to the field of public economics, it suffices to say that the benefit is certainly significant. While gazing at the warm and cheerful countenances of concertgoers making their way home in the snow, the recital left me with a firm belief in the richness that music brings to the human heart.

Performance by Noriko Ogawa: "A Particle of Rainbow" for Piano and Kabuki Orgel

Noriko Ogawa and Yoshihiro Kanno: Explanation of Kabuki Orgel

Muza Kawasaki Symphony Hall

Yoshihiro Kanno
composer and professor at Waseda University, Faculty of Science and Engineering, School of Intermedia Art and Science

University of Fine Arts and Music with the Master's Degree in 1980.In 1979, he won the Prince Pierre of Monaco Musical Composition Award for his "String Quartet". In 1994, his "Les Temps des Miroirs--L'Horizontale du Vent" for ryuteki, sho, and electronic music became the recommended work of International Music Council sponsored by UNESCO.
Kanno's compositions are founded on three genres--the Western orchestral music, the Japanese traditional instruments, and the computer music. Employing the various elements freely and unboundedly, he has composed a number of pieces based on Japanese idioms and traditions.