I love music.

I write about the music I like and have purchased for the benefit of better understanding it and sharing my preferences with others.

kuniko plays reich

Kuniko I don't know much at all about percussionist Kuniko Kato. But I took advantage of the high-resolution downloads available through Linn Records to discover her album dedicated to works by Steve Reich from the 1980s: electric counterpoint, six marimbas, and vermont counterpoint. I'm a big fan of the first work, written originally for guitars, and performed on Nonesuch by Pat Metheny. Ms. Kato (according to the well-done notes available in PDF format) was in consultation with the composer regarding her arrangements, and in some cases, even down to the mixes used after the raw recordings. For a composer who has already written so much percussion, one might wonder what's to be gained in an arrangement for non-percussion (like guitar) for percussion (steel drums are used too, in addition to vibraphone!)? Or, in the case of Six Marimbas, why do a re-arrangement? Or for woodwinds into tuned percussion? The notes explain Ms. Kato's reasoning. Reich's music is such that I think it would translate well into a lot of different sound worlds; the fact that Ms. Kato is using real instruments in place of, say, electronic ones, I think lends the arrangements some organic flavor. In the case of the piece for six marimbas, Kuniko plays "live" against a recording of herself on the other 5 parts. It's different than the original live performance option with 6 live players. Her instruments lend a variety of nice textures, but I'm most fond of the sound of her marimba in this central piece which she has renamed Six Marimbas Counterpoint. It's also tighter sounding than I've heard before. This piece, recorded at 16:30, ends up being a substantial center point to the recording. The piece written for 3 flutes (piccolo, flute, and alto flute) is ripe with dynamics. I don't have the original piece to compare it too, but Kuniko speaks of her bold playing and making bold moves. This arrangement on vibraphone is intense. The precision of her playing reminds me, in this case, of the Yamaha Tenori-On, and the style of music which is possible with this electronic device. Despite the intensity of the sound, it's a kind of fun piece, lasting almost 10 minutes in length. Her dynamic playing here really adds value to the independence of voices and the texture with one instrument. In all, this was an interesting survey of Steve Reich's music performed by a technically gifted percussionist in her own arrangements. As I age, I admire Reich's music more. Having this different perspective and collaboration enriches my collect as well as my understanding of this living composer's work.

Further reflections on Il Giardino del piacere

Albinoni Concerti con oboe