Mail Magazine vol.22

Kumiko’s “In Search of the Transparent Sound” vol.22

What I learned through Prof. Sasaki’s lesson became the premise of my way of living. When we utter our voices or play some musical instrument, it is quite natural to listen to the sound.

What I experienced in his lesson was gradually condensed in my heart into the truth that there is a considerable difference between what I recognize and what I express.

On the other hand, what I always felt whenever I tuned to others’ voices is that there is infinite depth in listening thoroughly.

When you continue to listen to the sound, your “inner sense” keeps on changing. This is the very treasure you get by using the sound.

Once I have heard a wonderful Chopin at Prof. Sasaki’s house. The woman who played it was one of his pupils who lived in Yonezawa City. Her Chopin was unimaginably slow but straight, which pierced my heart.

It was her who took care of our concert in the City hall of Yonezawa. I remember that the program of the concert was composed of a chello sonata and Rafmaninoff’s concerto No.2 and No.3 etc.

A concerto is usually played by a piano and an orchestra. In this concert, the orchestra part was played by a piano. It was the orchestra part of Rafmaninoff No.3 that I was going to play. Almost two months was the time which was given to me to practice the piece in a duet at Prof. Sasaki’s house.

This is an outrageously difficult piece! If you practice it in a common, classical way, it would take you more than one year or maybe impossible to finish.

As this is a very long piece, I strained my brain and devised ways and means to save time to master it. Prof. Sasaki used to say “Listen!” whenevr I played it carelessly in a way that I acquired at the musical college. I used to jump at his words.

He never compromised. So I concentrated on listening to the whole sound and the flow of the piece for dear my life, trying not to be slave of what I learned at the musical college. Reading the score, listening to the recording of other pianists, I practiced the piece with my friend who was going to play the solo part at Sasaki’s house. Of course, he mastered the piece at an amazing speed. Fast, difficult……… was a really hard work (However, I was somehow terribly excited at this incredible challenge!).

When I played the orchestra part of the piece, I kept on cast off my common, classical way of playing, listening only to the whole sound .Prof. Sasaki used to say “Oh, you can do it, Kumiko” when I play like that.

In a duet practice, I had no time to follow the score with the eyes because it was too fast. The only way left to me was just to concentrate on listening!

The very day of the concert in Yonezawa was coming up.

I remember that I could not sleep well the previous night.

There is much more to follow, but I’ll tell you the rest of the story next time. Because I am afraid that it would be too long this time.

My journey to the “depth of the consciousness” with the sound had begun through many, many experiences under Prof. Sasaki. It’s still going on, provoking numerous coincidences and incidents. I want to tell you how mysterious it is and why I am so happy now.

Look forward to the story of the concert, please! See you soon!

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