KUNIKO - kuniko plays reich - The Big City Blog
04 June 2012The Big City Blog
It seems the Art Space struggles against this obstacle. Reich is
titan of contemporary music and, in a country where composers don't
register on the public consciousness, he is generally popular
with sophisticated fans of all sorts of music. Yet Kuniko's concert
was lightly attended, and much of the audience seemed connected to the
music through the Consulate General of Japan. This was an excellent
concert. The music, "Electric Counterpoint," "Six Marimbas,"
Vermont Counterpoint" and "New York Counterpoint," with modest and
lovely arrangements of Bach and Komitas, speaks for itself, and
Kuniko's craft is superior. Reich's work lends itself easily to
transcription to other instruments, and the pitfall is that it is so
easy that the results can be lazy and dull. She has a subtle and
imaginative ear for color, and moving the lead voice of the opening
movement of "Electric" to steel drums was a gorgeous touch, adding a
shimmering, sustained richness as well as a delayed attack that
made for a new, ambient quality.
Percussion instruments call for a great apparent physicality
in playing than guitars or violins or flutes, and that was visually
important in the concert, not only the effort of Kuniko in striking
metal and wood with beaters, but her dancing movements. She was
filled up with the physicality of Reich's beat, even as the sonic
edge of the musical was gentler, as in the transfer of "New York"
from piping clarinets to mellow marimbas. The music is very well
known by now, but she made it refreshing. With her own ear and taste
she responded to pieces that she clearly feels are beautiful and gave
us music-making that took for granted the intellectual success of the
composer's process and craft and gave us the sheer beauty of it, and
that's a considerable thing.
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