KUNIKO - kuniko plays reich - The 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.