Goteborg Posten (Sweden) 2006
Rachmaninov 24 Preludes - Intim Musik
"Ms Fujita plays it exquisitely...Fujita has a perceptive ear
for the poetic virtues of this music as well as having all the virtuosity
needed to capture the stormy atmosphere in some of the preludes. "
Musical Opinion (UK)
musicianship was again to the forefront at St.Johns' Smith Square on 2
October when the Fujita Piano Trio were the soloists in Beethoven's Triple
Concerto for Piano, Violin and Cello. The three sisters exhibited a strong
rapport throughout the performance as they exchanged encouraging
smiles and shared their great sense of enjoyment with the audience. Honoka
Fujita was particularly impressive in the taxing solo passages for cello,
as well as in dialogue with her sister Arisa Fujita, who drew from her
violin a silken lyrical tone in the Largo and the virtuosic execution
in the Rondo. Megumi Fujita at the piano played her less flamboyant
part expressively and unified the group in the trio sections.
Musical Opinion (UK)
Fujita Sisters at the Wigmore
The gifted Fujita sisters, well known for their championship
of modern music as members of the Fujita Piano Trio, gave a remarkably
impressive recital at the Wigmore Hall on 6 June. Arisa, the violinist,
was accompanied by her elder sister Megumi, opening with Schubert's C
major Fantasie D934, given an immaculate performance of quality.
The six Solo Sonatas Opus 27 by Ysaÿe have never really left the
fringes of the repertoire and fourth of these, in E minor, was brilliantly
and movingly played.
There were two modern works. Alexander Goehr's Suite for Violin and
Piano Opus 70 received its London Premiere.
The work dates from 2000 and is in three movements, of which the central
Rainsong made the most immediate impression.
Takemitsu's Hika was typically impressionistic, and the recital
ended with a fine account of Franck's A major Sonata.
CDs 2002" Ongakunotomo-sha, Japan
"Record Geijutsu" (The Art of Records magazine, Japan) Nov 2001
This is an album of Toru
Takemitsu's ten chamber music works recorded last December by our own
rising piano trio, the three Fujita sisters. The title of the CD is "Between
Tides", the last work of the programme. Incidentally, this is the
only piano trio in this CD. Members of the Trio are three sisters, Megumi,
Arisa and Honoka Fujita, playing piano, violin and cello respectively.
The teamwork and congeniality
in the ensemble among the members are excellent. I felt they shared the
common sensitivity in many points. Perhaps it is because they are particularly
suited to these pieces, a fresh and pleasant performance filled with pliability
and relaxation impressed me favorably. They seem to pursue even contemporary
music from their instinctive point of view, without being over-obsessed
with its intricate details. In other words, the Trio seems to be seeking
the music that fits the hand naturally and the fresh interpretation of
the way the music should be. That is probably the reason why we are drawn
Each player has perfect technique. It is a fine performance with deep
understanding of Takemitsu's language.
Shigeru Miyazaki (composer)
& Solo Piano Pieces.
Issue: Jan-Feb, 2002
program is the best collection of Toru Takemitsu's pieces for piano and
piano with strings that I've heard. This Japanese composer must be played
with great sensitivity and nuance, but he can't be allowed to drift off
into undifferentiated mysticism--which can happen, given his iridescent
Scriabinesque harmonies and the timeless, ecstatic, ineffable visions
he tries to convey. Still Takemitsu's music, with its exquisitely shaped
and articulated (and lovingly echoed) phrases, rigorous motive development,
and clear (if sui generis) large-scale outlines, is, in its own way, extraordinarily
disciplined and precise. It has both the sense of direction and logical
structure too often lacking in Messiaen--however influential that grandiose
Frenchman was on Takemitsu's idiom.
this because, after hearing the Fujita sisters play Takemitsu's music
with such superlative skill and understanding, I now see why I've so often
been disappointed by other, less convincing performances. (I haven't heard
the new recording of Paul Crossley playing Takemitsu's complete music
for piano on GMN 114, reviewed last issue.) Peter Serkin, for example,
is often held to be an authoritative performer of Takemitsu, but comparing
Megumi Fujita's playing of Litany and Rain Tree Sketch II with Serkin's
renditions (RCA 68595, Mar/Apr 1997) clarifies why I think Fujita is so
much better. Serkin elongates and attenuates the music, making everything
ethereal. The result is a cloying lack of variety, a self-indulgent obscuring
of the form, and a dilution of emotional impact. In Rain Tree Sketch II
for instance, Serkin plays the second idea--an airy, gliding theme (marked
"joyful")--almost as dreamily as the more tentative, elliptical
first idea. He simply ignores the subtle but unmistakable shift in mood
called for in Takemitsu's score. Fujita allows the second idea to flow
and sing--indeed to rejoice--so that the return to the gnomic first idea
feels like a return instead of an endless circling that never goes anywhere.
As good as
the Fujitas are with the five piano pieces (Romance, Pieces for Children,
Litany, and the pair of works designated Rain Tree Sketch), three violin-and-piano
duos (Distance De Fee, 'Hika', and From Far Beyond Chrysanthemums), and
Orion for cello and piano, they are simply magnificent in Takemitsu's
chamber music masterpiece, Between Tides. In this 15-minute piano trio,
written three years before his death, Takemitsu truly achieved the transcendence
he had been seeking for so long: to achieve a sound as intense as silence,
as he put it. The final section of this trio--though the trio must be
heard complete to feel its full impact--is as heartbreakingly beautiful
as anything in all of music, whether of the West or of the East--or, as
here, of both.
Mark L. Lehman
Review of Takemitsu
Between Tides CD by Fujita Piano Trio (5/5)
Stereo image: 8/10, Definition: 8/10, Sound quality: 8/10, Dynamics: 8/10
Toru Takemitsu possessed the gift of poetry, a point that is confirmed
by all the pieces of this collection. If the same language is not always
present from the piano piece Romance (1948) to the trio Between Tides
(1993), there is at least the same quality of inspiration, the same liberty
in the evolution of music permeated by dreams, the same meditation and
references to nature. This is a constant facet of this great Japanese
works, only two of which last more than ten minutes, are more like miniatures
than "haikus", and this difference is not negligible in a musical
universe that is constantly dispatching us back to French tradition. If
someone insisted that Romance from 1948 was in fact an unknown Prelude
by Claude Debussy, everyone would be willing believers. Distance de fee,
composed three years later might bring Ravel to mind, and already Messiaen
is brought to mind in the piano part of the Lento misterioso of the Litanie
a la memoire de Michael Vyner, Messiaen whom Takemitsu wished to honour
- in memoriam - in his Rain Tree Sketch II. And since we are on the subject
of French music, would it be excessive to mention the names of Poulenc,
or Satie, in connection with the delicious and malicious pieces for children
(Breeze and Clouds) from 1979?
Even if there
are many French references floating over this music, they are subtly interwoven
with the Japanese ones; poetic sources with Shuzo Takiguchi (one of his
poems is precisely titled Distance de fee), and Kenzaburo Oe (whose description
of a tree's abundant foliage retaining raindrops for hours, was the source
for the Rain Tree series).
are at work to communicate this music. The three Fujita sisters are tender,
dreaming, delicate and know how to preserve the simplicity of a very pure
and natural art.
CDs by Fujita Piano Trio (9/10) and Ensemble 2e2m directed by Paul Mefano
and rain have returned with autumn. And this is no joke; so have the recordings
of Takemitsu's soaken works. It is not a joke, besides, he wrote it himself:
"From far beyond chrysanthemums and November fog". Naturally
we are all a year older in our bones and particularly in our ears, which,
through those recurrences as regular as the tide, "Between Tides",
"see" how the memory of a recently departed master evolves.
who is experimenting an excellent personal autumn, has chosen, with the
excellent Ensemble 2e2m, an asserted, even turbulent if not stormy Takemitsu,
where all these pieces with rain or water in their titles gather an astonishing
depth. It is nearly a case of reverse usage, all the more so since the
nuance of the Japanese is the product of a claimed French influence, and
is heralded by Mefano in his role as composer, leader and citizen of our
four cornered hexagon country.
aaaaaaWe sometimes come close to Takemitsu-Janus
II, composer of film music, that is to say the cinema one, the one using
effects (and we should not attach too quickly the adjective "easy"
to this word!). This opinion is very easy to defend and can reveal that
Mefano also desires to put on a great act. He has developed a taste for
real (musical) life, since his harmonization of Waldteutel. He, who has
served the contemporary for so long, perhaps craves to escape its ghetto,
unless audacious as he is, he only wishes to take the contemporary out
of its ghetto. It is part of the current trend.
of Fujita Trio, whose playing is as delicate as a trinket, manages the
rather Japanese paradox of being more French than Mefano because it is
more intimately Japanese and perhaps, Takemitsuimian. Its subtle programme
covers the complete work, from student to the master acclaimed by everyone.
One can compare the Rain Tree Sketch from 1982, gracious, nostalgic, with
the composition dedicated to Messiaen, ten years later, painful, essential.
One will even discern an inclination towards the second Viennese school
in Orion, commissioned by the Austrian radio.
We will also
discover, with great interest, the very melodious Piano Pieces for children,
following the example of Helmut Lachenmann's Kinderspiel, opening up new
piano horizons to young people, to enthusiasts of all ages and their teachers.
Strad, September 2000 (review of The Fujita Piano Trio Purcell Room concert)
was enjoyable, the three players - Arisa on violin, Honoka on cello and
Megumi on piano - proving to be accomplished musicians who chose to play
the whole programme from memory.
The concert opened with Judith Weir's Piano Trio (1997), a work in which
all three parts seem equally important. The first movement pitted a solo
line against a two-voice accompaniment, giving all three players a chance
to demonstrate their ability, while the second was more animated. The
third movement made use of imitative textures, evocative in places of
both Faure and Bach, the trio adapted well to both styles.
In the first movement of Beethoven's 'Archduke' op97 the triumphant passages
and more intimate moments were equally well captured by the trio, the
sisters using their excellent range of dynamics to good effect. The Fujitas
showed real ensemble in the Scherzo-Allegro second movement, while their
rhythmic precision was highlighted in the finale.
Ravel's A minor Piano Trio is a virtuosic work and seemed ideally suited
to this group.
The players showed good use of dynamics throughout, with a crescendo to
fortissimo in the third
And fourth movements that almost shook the auditorium"
Musical Opinion, Spring 1999 (review of The Fujita Piano Trio Wigmore
Tides, composed in 1993, was the high point of the evening. All three
sisters were completely at one with each other, able to convey the programmatic
nature of the work so that we could hear the ebbs and flows of the tides
which at points created a suspenseful tension, offset at others by a
calm, almost ethereal mood. The final work of the evening, Tchaikovsky's
A minor Trio, was a tour de force in all respects. The opening pezzo
elegiaco contained some spine-tingling moments..."
Strad, June 1999 (review of The Fujita Piano Trio Wigmore Hall concert)
rendition [of Takemitsu's Between Tides] was subtly coloured and beautifully
nuanced, but it paled in comparison with their marvellous Tchaikovsky
Trio in A minor op 50. A difficult work to pull off with conviction, the
Fujitas rose to the challenge. The episodic Theme and variations second