quick and witty pianism...such graceful technique, an acute sensibility that carries a strong awareness for the core meaning behind the work
London-based violinist Midori Komachi has released her first album (recorded in 2014). Alongside mastering the great violin sonatas of Debussy and Ravel, the album fits in Delius's rare Third Violin Sonata (though it did feature in recordings by Menuhin and Wilkomirska) and an arrangement of one of Grieg's Lieder to conclude a CD that seems intriguing at first glance. Then there is the enigma of Gaugain's painting 'Nevermore' that features in the booklet. While one would question the reason behind this, in all honesty, there is a wonderful motive behind it all. The focal point is Delius - he was the first owner of the painting, he met Debussy and Ravel through Gaugain at a bar salon in Paris, and Grieg was a close friend of Delius during their time studying in Leipzig. It seems strange, but it is very rare to see such a strong thematic sense at the forefront of the programming. As a musician who lives in Britain, it is clear that Komachi has the desire to make a mark in bringing Delius into the public gaze.
One must be captivated by her extraordinary technical ability as a violinist, and the fact that she doesn't fail to constantly bring up ideas. Particularly in the complex score of the Debussy, where she gives a superb performance and attention to detail that one may not expect from a young, rising talent. In the Ravel, Simon Callaghan leaves a slightly modest impression on the piano, the overall coherence is good. While the highly distinctive masterpieces put the Delius at a disadvantage, one cannot argue that this CD deserves a first listen.
Since graduating from the Royal Academy of Music, Midori Komachi has become an advocate for sharing English and Japanese music in both countries. She has now released an album focused around English composer Frederick Delius with British pianist Simon Callaghan. Although they only perform one piece by Delius (the rest of the album feature violin sonatas by Debussy and Ravel and a short piece by Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg), all the composers had a deep connection with Delius. By presenting these works in this way, Komachi casts a clearer insight into the meaning behind Delius's music. This is the first time I have heard Komachi perform on record and I was immediately attracted by the opening Debussy. Although there is subtle delicacy, it is helped by Callaghan's quick and witty pianism and they display such graceful technique, an acute sensibility that carries a strong awareness for the core meaning behind the work, and they scentfully embrace Debussy's elegant world. Similarly, they give a charming performance in the Ravel. Their delicate expression and beautiful, crystal clear tone sings out Ravel's slightly cynical and unique sound world. Saved for the final act, the Grieg is also rich in emotion and filled with empathy. As one listens surrounded by these works, the Delius is the least known, but can surely be seen as a charming work. The liner notes written by Komachi are a must-read gem.
Colours of the Heart is the début disc from emerging violinist Midori Komachi and Steinway Artist Simon Callaghan. Highly sought after for their performances of the Delius Violin Sonatas, these two award-winning artists based their album on the intriguing story of Delius and Gauguin.