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Keiko Harada

After the Winter

Heavy Wood 1998 for five players
Labyrinth VIII 1996 for cello and piano
Sonora Distancia II* 1996/1997 for guitar and eleven instruments 4
Bone + 1999
for accordion
Bone # 2000
for violin, kalimba and live electronics

Bone 1997 for piano
Abyss 1992/199 5
for clarinet, violin et cello

Ictus CONDUCTOR (1,3LGeorges-Elie actors

Cypres CYP5605 [75 mins]

Here is a uniquely delectable CD which may well please people who might be put off by the thought of 'academic' music by an eclectic Japanese composer who lives in Tokyo. Keiko Harada staked out her individuality as a child 'driven by an imperious need to rewrite and improve the pieces she studied when learning to play the piano'.

The poetic notes by Francois Deppe about this notably poetic composer place her well. Her academicism (study with Ferneyhough at Darmstadt, etc) need not worry you! A globe-trotting world citizen, she seeks to write 'nomadic' music, 'eluding geographical and historical ties'.

The piano piece Bone (1997) approaches the piano through its range of possible textures, 'freezing the traditionally privileged parameter of the piano - pitch' and at the end approaching Morton Feldman's universe. Two later variants, Bone + for accordion (1999) and Bone # for violin, kalimba - thumb piano - and live electroncs (2000) explore some delightful, newly conceived timbres. The substantial 13 mins accordion solo is a major contribution to this instrument's impressive contemporary repertoire. It refers to the Iberian tango and the Japanese mouth organ (or sho) and every concert accordionist should look at it. There are two works for larger ensemble, both featuring guitar, and the programme as a whole is one to play right through - and then start at the beginning again.

The Belgian ensemble Ictus, subsidised by the Flemish government, impresses as being in top international class, and the recording and presentation is impeccable; clearly a labour of love for all involved.


© Peter Grahame Woolf