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It was Lithuanian piano music that Tamami Honma treated us to next. First, the 1975 Sonata of Bronius Kutavicius (born 1932), in which three movements taking dynamic markings as their names (Pianissimo, Mezzo Forte and Fortissimo) explore the meeting of two very different ideas -- one free and one controlled. Pianissimo, quiet, fastish and with a kind of 'beauty in chaos' feel, is largely improvised, with the performer guided by a free, graphical notation. Mezzo Forte, the melting pot in which the two ideas are juxtaposed, uses both the free graphical notation of the first movement and conventional notation (for interrupting patterns of fast notes). The whirlwind Fortissimo doesn't start loud, but is very fast, very complex and 'controlled' by conventional notation.

Japanese/British pianist Tamami Honma, a strong supporter of both Lithuanian music and the music of John McCabe
Japanese/British pianist Tamami Honma, a strong supporter of both Lithuanian music and the music of John McCabe

Finally, in her sequence of contemporary piano pieces, Tamami Honma gave the world première of another piece written especially for her, No moon, no flowers, no friend -- and he drinks sake (2003) by Anatolijus Senderovas (born 1945). This is an extraordinary study, bouncing and resonating practically on a monotone, with other -- purely percussive -- notes thrown into the mix. It's strong, unforgiving, powerful and mesmeric, until the extraordinary ending, which quietly quotes a Japanese pentatonic theme. Tamami Honma and Adrien Cotta's knowledgeable programme notes suggest at this point that the piece conveys something of the discipline, hypnotic energy and quiet desperation of a roving Samurai, with the ending providing a touch of humanity.

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Copyright © 4 December 2003 Keith Bramich, County Mayo, Ireland

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