Elizabeth Falconer

Deep Pool

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Elizabeth Falconer, a koto virtuoso of sorts in the Pacific Northwest, here performs seven numbers inspired by an exhibition of modern Nihonga paintings. The style is only traditional in parts, and more contemporary and informed by an American aesthetic in others, with little runs of exotic-sounding strumming here and there that seem to emulate the Japanese aesthetic, but often aren't taken as part of the common Japanese repertoire of playing techniques. Despite this, the music is performed quite well technically, though it lacks some of the feeling inherent in much koto music. The use of the bass koto (a more recent invention) helps add some variety, making appearances in "Moon and Stars" and "Moon at Uji." The sound overall is really more meditative and empty than one would expect in the genre, coming almost closer to art music in many portions. While Falconer is quite technically proficient and able, the performance comes across as rather bland on the whole. While it's not a bad recording altogether, something from the JVC World Sounds koto compilations might be a better choice as an introduction or an addition to a koto fan's collection.

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