06.08.2014

A Treat From Yukiko Sugawara

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In the afternoon, it was very cloudy and it looked like it was going to rain.

 

Inside the Akademie für Tonkunst, at 4pm, a big crowd of people was waiting outside the Großer Saal for the first solo recital at the 2014 Darmstädter Ferienkurse performed by the pianist Yukiko Sugawara.


The sound of excitement filled the hallways and stairways — some people did greet and meet, while some people talked about the Stockhausen's massive work Carré from the opening concert at the previous night — until the concert began.

 

It began with Hanspeter Kyburz's Kaspars Tanz, a conversation between soft impressionistic sustained chords with juxtaposed secco notes, shifting above and below the chords and contrapuntal lines. Sugawara's playing shifted quickly and cleanly between the ambiguous chordal texture and sharp pungent attacks and generating a dynamic atmosphere which led us into the second piece, Koe by Carlo Bermejo. It was surprising to hear Bermejo's concentration on the high register in the piece, but this restriction accentuated Yukiko Sugawara's focus, precision and virtuosity. While Koe explored the varied textures and densities in a limited range of pitches, Mark Andre's iv 1 maximized the sound possibilities from the piano in a well-articulated and elegant manner. Andre fully utilized the instrument as his sound source, constructing the piece with delicate sounds both from the keys and from inside the piano. Sugawara moved back and forth between the keyboard and the piano interior throughout the piece; her movements became the choreography for a subtle piano dance.

 

It was delightful to walk through the architecture created by the succession of these three pieces; the tension and energy of the music opened out in unexpected ways. The dialogue of contrasting layers in Kaspars Tanz and the resultant instability anticipated the bold extremes of Koe and its increasing virtuosity and velocity. It was not just the horizontal velocity of the fingers running over the keys, but also the vertical velocity of the fingers pressing the keys. Then the tension was taken even further in iv 1 by extending the sound range and reaching into the inside of the piano.

 

It finally rained after the concert. I didn't have an umbrella so I had to walk back home in the rain, but my Sunday afternoon was still such a treat.

By Viola Yip
06.08.2014

In the afternoon, it was very cloudy and it looked like it was going to rain.

 

Inside the Akademie für Tonkunst, at 4pm, a big crowd of people was waiting outside the Großer Saal for the first solo recital at the 2014 Darmstädter Ferienkurse performed by the pianist Yukiko Sugawara.