NHK Symphony, conducted by Tadaaki Otaka and featuring Chick Corea and Makoto Ozone, Pianos – May 14, 2016 – NHK-FM Tokyo –
Over to Tokyo this week for a rather unusual concert. This one featuring Jazz legend Chick Corea in a performance of Mozart’s concerto for 2 pianos in E-Flat K. 365 – along with Makoto Ozone as second piano. And as an encore, Chick Corea plays an improvisation on Armando’s Rhumba.
Bookending the concert is a really wonderful piece by the 20th Century Japanese Composer Toru Takemitsu – Nami no Bon composed in 1983. And ending with a performance of Elgar’s Enigma Variations.
Not sure how I feel about Chick Corea tackling Mozart, particularly in the cadenzas. I know it’s always been a challenge and desire for a lot of Jazz musicians to take a few turns at Classical – some have been wildly successful at it and others, not so much.
I’m not going to sway the thoughts, opinions or conversation one way or the other – but I would be curious to hear how others feel about it.
I would say that, for me, the centerpiece of this concert was the opening work – Takemitsu’s Nami No Bon, written in 1983 and revised in 1996 shortly before his passing. I was struck by the charming and somewhat deceptive simplicity of this piece, reminding me of Takemitsu’s film scores in character and execution. His music runs the emotional gamut and it is at once riveting, which explains why his collaborations with Akira Kurosawa were as powerful and emotionally exhilarating as they are.
Interesting and unusual concert – maybe not for everyone, but with many high moments.
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