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  • Writer's pictureNigel W. Ruddock

Peter Maxwell-Davies......

Japanese Spring 2019 Saturday (土曜日) 30th March

Peter Maxwell-Davies, Jo Kondo, Oliver Knussen, Rafael Nassif, Michael Jarrell, Georges Asperghis : I hate contemporary music on the radio, but love it live. It is so unexpected, surprising and, well, new. The chances are that unless you are a contemporary music freak you will never had heard the piece before. And here I was in a rather cool performance space just south west of Shinjuku station.

As soon as Erika Kawamura touched the piano keys, I knew that there was something “right” about this place. Wooden floor, brick and glass walls and concrete ceiling. Was it the juxtaposition of all these elements that gave the KM Hall its satisfactory acoustic?

The piano was liquid yet firm; Maiko Matsouka’s violin was clear and untroubled;

Aki Kitajima’s `Cello was punchy, resonant and fine,

and Ryuta Iwase’s Bass Clarinet was naughty but nice.

Yes, it was a chamber music concert. It was simply brilliant. Aki had invited me, and I was so glad that I went. I didn’t understand all of it, mind you. In Jo Kondo’s 1993 piece for `Cello and piano the poor `Cellist seems to spend half the time playing double stopped harmonic octaves….scary.

Aki hails the composer, Jo Kondo...

I thanked the composer afterwards – who gave me a deep bow – but my Japanese soon dried up after that!!

Being at the (for me) unusual time of 3pm, the concert ended with lots of time left in the day to eat and drink. Very sensible planning if you ask me. So it didn’t take long before we were all sitting in the upper room of a local Isakaya,

being served endless wonderful dishes. What is it about Japanese food? It is all so fresh and tasty. Raw fish – Sashimi,......

some sort of chicken meat balls on a skewer…

.......good Sake to wash it all down. It was pouring with rain when we eventually got outside, but everybody seemed to have an umbrella somewhere....

Somebody doesn't mind the rain!

... Once again, I was grateful for all those handles on suburban trains. You have to hold on to something afterwards….

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