Miyako Arishima

Takemitsu, Szymanowski, Chopin, Serocki: Works for solo piano

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This is the debut release from pianist Miyako Arishima, who was trained in Japan and Poland. The program is unique. It opens with a short work by Toru Takemitsu, a sort of announcement of the pianist's background, but the rest of the program is Polish, containing works by Chopin, Szymanowski, and Kazimierz Serocki, a familiar figure in Poland but little heard in the U.S., where this album was released. These are temporally and stylistically diverse composers, but Arishima emphasizes the links between them, and the program flows naturally among them. She finds not only the Romantic pianism in the music of Szymanowski and Serocki but also the modernism in Chopin, and the latter is perhaps where Arishima is most striking. Sample the Mazurka in B minor, Op. 33, No. 4, and hear her edgy, percussive way with the music. She uses the pedal only lightly in Chopin, whose music she might perhaps play differently in a different context. Here though, her Chopin style contributes to a discourse that is lively and persuasive and is part of a larger general revival of 20th century Polish music. Steinway & Sons departed here from its usual New York haunts to record at the Lutoslawski Concert Studio at Polish Radio in Warsaw, and the results are impressively clean. Highly recommended.

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