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Misato Mochizuki Music for Ensemble

Si bleu, si calme for ensemble (1997)
All that is including me for bass flute, clarinet and violin (1996)
Chimera for ensemble (2000)
Intermezzi I for flute and piano (1998)
La chambre claire for ensemble (1998)

Klangforum Wien, Johannes Kalitzke

[2001/2002 54 mins]

I first became aware of this young Japanese composer's exceptional talent in Stuttgart, picking out an unassuming piece for solo oboe for special mention in my review of ÉCLAT (Festival Neue Musik Stuttgart 2000) : - - But for me, a special high spot was a marvellous piece for unaccompanied oboe by a young Japanese composer, Misato Mochizuki. Her au bleu bois - - deserves to be taken up by enterprising young oboists as a change from Britten's Ovid Metamorphoses.

Of her contribution to a Donaueschingen compilation in 2001, I wrote: - - Misato Mochizuki, now resident in Paris, has attracted the attention of Seen&Heard several times already, first for a brilliant solo oboe piece given at Eclat 2000 in Stuttgart. Au bleu bois integrates all the extended oboe techniques developed in recent years so that they feel entirely natural. Nor did her All that is including me for violin, clarinet & bass flute disappoint in Amsterdam - it confirmed my good impression of her imaginative assimilation of oriental roots into a contemporary language. - - Mochizuki's major score for large orchestra, Camera Lucida (20 mins), is inspired by consideration of light and the world of photography, with 'filtration, expansion & contraction - - cutting a movement or note into ribbons - - reflection on temporal development of musical parameters a central theme'. I found it strange and elusive first time - it gets under your skin on repetition - -

Now we have the first CD devoted entirely to Misato Mochizuki's music, and it is a triumph.

Now 35, she had appeared as a piano concerto soloist with Rostropovich at 14. Now an established composer, she brings together aspects of the 'sounds, timbres, gestures and sensibility of Japanese traditional music with those of Western modernism' (Christopher Ballantyne) and has a strange and wonderful sound world of great subtlety and ready accessibility. Misato Mochizuki's booklet notes give helpful references and clues to the music's genesis.

Whilst most of the scores are predominately quiet and gentle, the ear is captivated continually. Intermezzi I is a sequence of exquisite fragments for the flute of today, whispered voice and the piano, its interior as well as keyboard. Her reference sources are wide, and Chimera draws on techno dance music. All that is including me draws on gagaku methods.

It is all music to hear, not to write about. Only 54 minutes but they are continuously inventive and engrossing; you will want to listen again and again.


© Peter Grahame Woolf