Mariko Terashi: Piano

review Mariko Terashi x1 cong

We perhaps were not expecting too much from a Japanese pianist playing a Portuguese (Carlos de Seixas) composer, never having heard of either, but that just shows you should never judge.

José António Carlos de Seixas (1704–1742) is described as a composer during the “golden age” of Portugal, an accomplished virtuoso of both the organ and the harpsichord, with much of his work sadly being lost in the Lisbon earthquake of 1755.

Also featured is Jean- Philippe Rameau (1683–1764) (“a secretive man, and even his wife knew nothing of his early life,” says Wikipedia) and François Couperin (1668–1733), also an organist and harpsichordist, known as Couperin le Grand.

The release notes say Terashi has loved the music of the baroque since a very early age, and the album presents three composers central to the development of baroque keyboard music.

This is an album to listen to as a whole, so we’re not going to break down the works, just say that it combines the lively richness of the baroque with a more modern and fresh sound, and does not sound dated. The works all seem to have been originally written for the harpsichord.

It mostly flows along nicely, with no challenging sections.

Terashi’s playing is sensitive, imposing her own interpretation of the music without ever losing the original sound.

We’ve played it early in the morning to get going, and late at night to relax.

The sleeve notes make Terashi seem reassuringly normal for a world-class pianist: she admits she regarded grace notes as too much trouble “far too many to play perfectly” until harpsichord player Huguette Dreyfus stressed the importance of them, and how they were what the music was really about.

“As somebody who had bluffed her way through grace notes and played however she wanted, I felt now was the time for me to reassess,” she writes, though this change to her playing was a “long and arduous” process.

This is out on Divine Art’s Athene label, ATH23207.

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