Miyoshi: Yukiko Kojima

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LABELS: Odradek
ALBUM TITLE: Miyoshi: Yukiko Kojima
WORKS: Sonata pour piano; Chaînes: Préludes pour piano; En vers; Pour le piano – mouvement circulaire et croisé
PERFORMER: Yukiko Kojima


Akira Miyoshi was 80 in 2013. Like his close contemporary Takemitsu, he studied in France and was profoundly influenced by the French post-Impressionist repertoire, citing Messiaen and Dutilleux as important influences. Unlike Takemitsu’s, his music is often active and flamboyant rather than contemplative, even in the early Piano Sonata (1958) which is as much post-Scriabinesque as Francophone and has a dynamic toccata-finale. The major work here is Chaînes (1973), a three-movement assemblage of 24 ‘preludes’ or fragments, kaleidoscopic in character and often dramatic in gesture; but they often reflect or invoke each other, the music turning back on itself, underlining Miyoshi’s fascination with circularity and mirroring in musical form. En vers (1980) is more of a poetic miniature, though rising to a big climax, while Pour le piano – mouvement circulaire et croisé (1995-8) seems to be a work of memory, meditating on a lifetime’s involvement with the instrument. In all of them there is a sense of connection to the act of breathing, defining the length and shapes of phrases.

I really enjoyed this disc. Miyoshi’s is distinguished, inventive and continuously stimulating music, full of beauty and colour and with a marvellous sensitivity to the full range of keyboard sonority and resonance (and indeed, silence). Yukiko Kojima’s stunning virtuosity is clearly allied to a deep insight into the works themselves.


Calum MacDonald