Theme and Variations

Thoughts and experiences of exploring classical, jazz, and other art music.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Keiko Matsui Part Two

Let's start with a bit of music from her Deep Blue CD:



Rather than copy someone, and get charged with plagiarism, I instead provide a link to a great rundown of her life and career from Answers.com.

Starting with the next two CDs I'll be covering (pun intended) I've decided to keep listening notes. I have a fancy, shmancy notebook for this on order, but I'm starting with a small Moleskine notebook, where I put my jazz notes on the left page of the open book, and classical notes on the right (which currently has some notes on Brahms' sonatas for piano and viola).

These aforementioned CD's of Keiko's are her Night Waltz recording, and her Cherry Blossom CD.

Night Waltz is the earlier of the two recordings, and I found a nice video of her performing the title work.



This work is truly in three-quarter time, if my counting is correct, but a bit fast for a ballroom-style dance. It starts off the album, and might be considered a "fusion" work with her inclusion of a rockin' electric guitar.

The CD itself is short by today's standards, lasting only 41 minutes and fifteen seconds through nine works. When I listen, it is even shorter, as I usually skip over the two songs "Eyes Were Made to Cry" and "Where Wildflowers Grow." Again, the music is OK, but the lyrics turn me off.

If I were to pick a favorite track, it would have to be "Hope." I can't say exactly why; just one of those things, I guess.

I read in her bio (from the link I provided above) that Rachmaninoff is one of her influences, and maybe that is why feel drawn to her music. I can't say exactly why; just one of those things, I guess.

The next album, Cherry Blossom, is copyright 1992. In my notes, I noticed that, overall, the CD has the beginnings of her current smooth jazz sound. For example, there is a lot more sax, of which we'll hear quite a bit. The first track is entitled "Rainy Season" and it gets you in the listening mood. But I can't determine the link between the work and its name. I found this to be true on much of the collection. The CD title work, "Cherry Blossoms," sounds more Irish than Japanese. We know how important cherry blossoms are in Japanese art (Japan gave the US a gift of cherry trees, which can be found in the mall area in Washington, D.C.).

It's probably ignorance on my part, not recognizing the significance of the title. But, on the last two, I think I get it. The next-to-last work is called "Foot Steps" and you hear what sounds like sneaking around music. The last work is entitled "Dawn Opener," which starts out quietly like early predawn and finishes with the day in full swing. I've thought before that a Vermont morning would sound like that, and here she thought of it years ago.

I skip around "She Prays to the Wind," another vocal. Who knows? One day maybe I'll like these songs. I do generally like the music. I once despised opera, and I love it, now. So there may be hope for me yet.

10 Comments:

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I discovered this for being real on a lot from the collection. The compact disc name work, "Cherry Blossoms," seems a whole lot more Irish than Japanese
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