Wednesday 9 January 2019 – 1:00-1:40 pm
To introduce the first lunchtime recital of 2019, we were delighted to welcome back Yukiko Osedo, who first inspired music enthusiasts with her playing last autumn at Brentwood Cathedral. Today, some sixty or more attended Yuki’s recital to enjoy another fine selection of music, played on the Cathedral’s sublimely sounding grand piano.
Studying the piano from an early age, by the time she was fourteen Yuki had already made her debut playing Beethoven’s first piano concerto with the Tokyo City Philharmonic Orchestra and, at fifteen, entered Toho Music Conservatory. Following a four-year Bachelor of Music degree course in Piano Studies with Professor Moriyasu at Toho University, Tokyo, she gained a diploma in Ensemble Accompaniment, and then a Masters in Piano at the Royal Antwerp Conservatoire of Music under Pascal Sigrist, graduating top of the class. In Australia, she received piano tuition from Professor Max Cooke at Monash University’s School of Music. Yuki has performed concertos, solo recitals, chamber and accompanying works internationally, including a European tour with the Antwerp Conservatoire Orchestra and a recital series in Australia in 1999; she is also a well-known performer in Japan. Based in London, she plays regularly as a soloist and an accompanist, and also as a chamber music pianist. Her most recent performance was with clarinettist Luca Luciano at the Barber Concert Hall, Birmingham University. Future engagements include the Barnes Music Festival in June, and many more.
Yuki opened the recital with ‘Intermezzo, Op. 118, Nos. I and 2’, by the German Romantic composer Johannes Brahms (1833-1897): the opening movements from the Six Pieces for Piano, completed in 1893 and dedicated to Clara Schumann. Although written in the minor key, the first Intermezzo begins upliftingly, illustrated by Yuki, who then led us gently into the deeply reflective and heart-melting second Intermezzo, with lilting, melodic phrases that remained with us long after the performance. Yuki had chosen a romantically themed programme and, for her next piece, played ‘Romance’ by Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu (1930-1996). Composed in 1949, its delicately played phrases were soothing and atmospheric and complemented the beauty of the Cathedral, which during those few minutes happened to attract the sunlight through the stained glass windows, producing ‘wings’ of purple, yellow and pink on the walls – such a magical match between sight and sound!
Continuing with a romantic tone, Yuki performed three movements from Ten Pieces for Piano, Op. 75, by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953): this piano version of his Romeo and Juliet ballet music was first performed in 1937 to promote his ballet, which was first staged a year later. ‘Juliet, the young child’ was played gracefully in a lively and youthful manner; ‘Montagues and Capulets’ filled the Cathedral with menacing sounds, with Yuki also sensitively capturing the contrasting mood of the middle section; finally, ‘Mercutio’ excited the listener with its persistent and energetic theme, concluding Prokofiev’s much appreciated piano suite. You might have thought that another Russian work after this would lack variety, but Yuki chose a very different piece by Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943): ‘Elegie’, Op. 3, no 1, from a set of five piano solo pieces written in 1892. This was a truly heartfelt performance with all the romantic expression, feelings of quiet reflection and healing of the soul needed on a cold winter’s day!
The recital finished with ‘Poem, Vers La Flamme, Op. 72’, written in 1914 by Russian composer and pianist Alexander Scriabin (1872-1915): one of his last pieces for piano, originally intended to be his eleventh sonata but, due to the composer’s financial concerns, was published sooner as a ‘poem’. With its simple melody, but unusual percussive harmonies and tremolos, Yuki gave a flamboyant and convincing interpretation of this emotional and fiery work, followed by loud applause from the audience. Finally, we were treated to a short encore – ‘Clouds’: another piece by Takemitsu, floating quietly in beautifully calming contrast.
On behalf of Andrew Wright, Director of Music, we would like to thank Yuki Osedo for her very moving recital today and to give her our best wishes for her concert performances in the year ahead. We also look forward to hearing her again at Brentwood Cathedral!
Refreshments were available in the Song School after the recital
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