Makiko Hirata | Hammerklavier

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Classical: Piano solo Classical: Beethoven Moods: Solo Female Artist
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by Makiko Hirata

A collection of some of the most challenging piano repertoire ever written, starting from Sonatas by D. Scarlatti in early 18th century to Dichotomie by Esa-Pekka Salonen, written in 2000.
Genre: Classical: Piano solo
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Sonata in D Minor, K 5
4:12 $0.99
2. Sonata in D Major, K 119
5:14 $0.99
3. Sonata No. 29 in B-flat Major, Op. 106 'Hammerklavier': I.
10:25 $0.99
4. Sonata No. 29 in B-flat Major, Op. 106 'Hammerklavier': II. SCHERZO, Assai vivace
2:50 $0.99
5. Sonata No. 29 in B-flat Major, Op. 106 'Hammerklavier' : III. Andante sostenuto
17:37 $0.99
6. Sonata No. 29 in B-flat Major, Op. 106 'Hamerklavier': IV. Largo-Allegro risoluto
11:44 $0.99
7. Dichotomie (2000) - I. Mecanisme
8:36 $0.99
8. Dichotomie (2000) - II. Organisme
7:18 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Both “Hammerklavier” and Dichotomie are challenging ― pianistically, musically, conceptually, and aesthetically. They appealed to me because I had just decided to prioritize artistic integrity over career promotion, and had moved to LA to study at The Colburn School after seven, fairly successful concertizing years based in NY.
Unstructured knowledge acquired through first-hand performance experience is real, but it is also susceptible to outside influences and inertia. Especially when classical music is becoming increasingly marginalized in mainstream culture, it is easy to fall into being a performer who gives the audience what they want to hear. By pleasing the audience without posing questions and challenging them, one becomes a mere entertainer. To do justice to music as a thinking human being, I wanted to challenge myself and my audience through these pieces. The Scarlatti sonatas are there to give some historical context to the following two pieces, and to explore how the keyboard as an instrument, as well as its repertoire, had expanded over the years.

About Makiko Hirata; “Elegant, refined and beautiful – a revelation!” said Ruth Laredo about Makiko Hirata’s performance of Debussy’s Fantaisie for Piano and Orchestra with the Jupiter Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Hirata went on to make regular appearances with this renowned New York City ensemble, presenting such rarely-heard repertoire as concerti by Tovey, Lalo, Godard, and the premiere performance of Variations on a Theme by Schubert for Piano and Orchestra by Kile Smith. Her recital debut was at Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie Hall in 1998. She has given recitals, lecture recitals, and children’s concerts in Japan, Poland, Macedonia, Germany, and the United States, and toured in America and Europe as the featured soloist with the Pecs Hungarian Symphony Orchestra, Polish Philharmonic Resovia and the Arad State Philharmonia of Romania.

A sought-after chamber musician, Ms. Hirata has made appearances in various chamber music series, collaborating with such distinguished musicians as violinists Christiane Edinger and Hagai Shaham, violist Paul Coletti, cellists Ronald Leonard and Andre Emelianoff, clarinetist David Krakauer, and pianist Sara Davis Buechner.

As a teacher, Ms. Hirata has given master classes in Bolivia, Macedonia, the United States, and Japan. She also taught piano and music theory at New York University for two years. She is currently an assistant to John Perry at The Colburn School. For a year in 2003, she wrote a column, “Listen to my Piano” in Apple Friends, a monthly insert in one of the most important Japanese newspapers, Asahi Shinbun.

Makiko Hirata is currently studying with John Perry at The Colburn School Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles. In addition to solo and chamber music performances at Colburn, Ms. Hirata has most recently performed Rachmaninoff’s Variations on a Theme of Paganini with the Colburn Orchestra, conducted by Leon Fleisher, in February 2009 at the Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena.



to write a review

Uncle Dave Lewis

On this disc from Makiko Hirata, she takes on one of the biggest and baddest of all piano sonatas, Beethoven's Sonata No. 29 in B flat Op. 106, the "Hammerklavier." No doubt that leads to the title chosen for the disc, Hammerklavier. The performances are also a step forward from her previous effort, Etudes, Seriously; she whips through the diabolic machine that is the "Mécanisme" from Esa-Pekka Salonen's Dichotomie like it's nobody's business. Her Beethoven is bold, colorful, and confident; the scherzo rattles along with briskness, assurance, and even a twinkle of humor. The Andante sostenuto is understated, poetic, and careful rather than cautious; Hirata does a nice job of realizing the subtle syncopations in the second theme. Although Hirata states in the liner notes that she included the two Scarlatti sonatas as an example of "how the keyboard as an instrument...[has] expanded over the years," these pieces are definitely a highlight of the disc; they are utterly charming performances, with crisp trills and, in the D minor Sonata K. 5, a good choice of tempo and dynamics; while marked Allegro, it isn't necessarily at its best played fast, or loudly.

While Hirata concertizes annually in Japan, she makes her home in Los Angeles and serves as an assistant at the Colburn School; she also regularly appears in the U.S., particularly in California. It is fortunate that Hirata appreciates the value of recording her own discs; any concert artist who is serious and without a recording situation through an established label should do so. This one is not without flaws; there is a slight ring in her Steinway and perhaps a stray sound or two. However, it is a significant improvement over Etudes, Seriously, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with the playing, which is grand, assured, and powerful.