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Playing in the Dark

Playing in the Dark

  • Release 08/10/2012
  • Media Format CD
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Price: €31.70

Product Notes

Track Listings 1. Fur Alina (Arvo Part) 5:57 2. Sonneries de la Rose Croix-1 'Air de l'ordre' (Erik Satie) 4:29 3. 2 Poems Op.32-1 (Alexander Scriabin) 3:12 4. 2 Poems Op.32-2 (Alexander Scriabin) 1:38 5. Etudes No.8 pour les agrements (C.Debussy) 5:30 6. Etudes No.10 pour les sonorites opposees (C.Debussy) 5:15 7. Etudes No.11 pour les Arpeges composes (C.Debussy) 4:55 8. Le Gibet ~ Gaspard de la nuit ~ (M.Ravel) 6:01 9. La Mandragore (Tristan Murail) 8:36 10. Sonate No.9 Op.68 "Black Mass"(A.Scriabin) 8:57 11. 2 Dances Op.73 "Guirlandes" (A.Scriabin) 3:18 12. 2 Dances Op.73 "Flammes sombres" (A.Scriabin) 2:14 13. Sonneries de la Rose Croix-3 'Air du Grand Prieur' (E.Satie) 2:53 note Pianist Tomoko Yazawa always thinks about her music with the future in mind. However, for her latest album, "Playing in the Dark," she made a rare diversion into the past - specifically, France at the end of the 19th century. [...] "I have mostly specialized in contemporary piano music rather than digging into the past with classical pieces," says Yazawa, who also commissions contemporary composers to write new compositions for her. "Cutting-edge music offers a glimpse of the future." [...] However, Yazawa tells The Japan Times that for the past few years she has sensed a "futile" and "desolate" atmosphere in Tokyo due to a prolonged recession that "gradually obscured my vision of a bright future." That caused her to gravitate toward works from France's fin-de-siecle (end of the century) movement. Those pieces "soothed my soul when I played them," she says before noting that this was before the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011, and the subsequent nuclear crisis. On March 24, 2011, Yazawa hastily moved to Okinawa. It was an unknown land to her, but more importantly it was an island without nuclear power plants. [...] Released from Yazawa's own label, Geisha Farm, the packaging for "Playing in the Dark" is elaborately designed with a stylish white jacket that features a lotus flower in black and silver created by Noriko Tanaka, a bingata (a traditional Okinawan dyeing technique) craft artist. [...] When opened, the flaps of the jacket become shaped like a cross that invites listeners into an unorthodox music world. The album opens with Estonian contemporary composer Arvo Part's quiet and spiritual piece, "Fur Alina," in which delicate high tones chime over the steadily held bass as if they were echoing throughout the void of space. The next piece, "Sonneries de la Rose Croix" by French composer Eric Satie (1866-1925), features a blended minor/major chord progression that evokes an image of hooded monks holding candles and slowly descending a darkened staircase into a secret sanctuary. Such visuals may be largely a result of Yazawa's particular approach to recording. "Human beings have extra-sharp hearing and machines cannot record nor reproduce sounds like we can, so I produce my recordings using special microphone arrangements and thorough sound mixing to create the same quality you'd hear at a live performance, where a listener can distinguish every tonal characteristic in accordance with my touch," Yazawa says. "I love live performances, too." The rest of the album mainly consists of the works of 19th-century French composers, such as mysterious etudes by Claude Debussy (1862-1918) and "Le Gibet" from "Gaspard de la nuit" by Maurice Ravel (1875-1937). It also includes works by Russian composer Alexander Scriabin (1872-1915), such as the occult-inspired "Black Mass," as well as French contemporary composer Tristan Murail's "La Mandragore" ("Mandrake"), which was commissioned and premiered by Yazawa in 1993. [...] The end of the 19th century saw both prosperity and global recession, and it may have something in common with the situation society finds itself in today. [...] At least these dark, elegant pieces can help provide something of a musical security blanket. --- Chiho Iuchi, The Japan Times, Feb.14 2013.


Title: Playing in the Dark
Release Date: 08/10/2012
Label: CD Baby
Media Format: CD
UPC: 888174182704
Item #: 829041X
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