Obsidian : Mika Sasaki Plays Clara Schumann

Rated 5.00 out of 5 based on 1 customer rating
(1 customer review)




SKU: YAR52635 Obsidian Category: Tags: , ,


Executive Producers: David & Margie Barry

This album celebrates Clara Schumann, her music, and the intricate artistic circle of musicians who surrounded her.

Clara Schumann’s superb musicianship and pianistic genius are demonstrated in the exquisite works recorded in this album. Her legacy lives on through these works, and through the strong influence she had on her musical family.

“As the year 2016 marks the 120th and 160th anniversaries of the deaths of Clara and Robert Schumann, I was also delighted to include Obsidian Liturgy(track 36), composed for me and Clara Schumann by my dear friend and colleague, Max Grafe. The piece unfolds through a sequence of emotionally dramatic musical events: an “Invocation” is followed by a ritualistic “Canticle” that builds into a fervent and obsessive “Incantation,” culminating in a cataclysmic explosion. After some seconds of silence, a vertiginous “Trance” of left-hand ostinatos sound from the distance, followed by a climactic “Peal” of strong, harsh bells. The “Benedictus” finally creates a sense of resolution, despite its haunting overtones, and finally, a desolate “Ite, missa est,” concludes the liturgy.”  — Mika Sasaki

Mika Sasaki performed much of this music in live concert for invited guests in Samueli Theater. She left our audience thrilled, eager for more.

“Pianist Mika Sasaki played well with forceful rolling chords in the final Romance, and continued admirable pianism with two sets of variations on a Robert Schumann theme…. Ms. Sasaki’s tempos were never rushed and she played with a subtle touch…

— Terry McNeill


1 review for Obsidian : Mika Sasaki Plays Clara Schumann

  1. Rated 5 out of 5

    Russell Ward

    Obsidian is a fantastic production, I’d say maybe Yarlung’s best so far, and that’s saying a lot. Solo piano has been my favorite music for a number of years, and this recording favors that bias. It seems to be the right selection of music for the time – genre-defying, transitional music, filled with both modernism and historical background (and with both hope and foreboding). The Pianist’s skills bring this out, and the playing itself is incredible. The Grafe piece fits in very well – and enhances the overall effect. I have also had increasing interest in piano-violin duo, in performances where there is equal weight given to both instruments, or even where the violin is used to extend the range of the piano (greater volatility), and again this recording satisfies that interest. I will be using it as the main reference disk in rebuilding my sound system, an ongoing (lifetime) project. Later I plan to add the Sibelius Piano Trio and 10th Anniversary Discs, and Evening Conversations, before expanding to other recordings of continued interest. However, this one disk contains enough for extensive listening.

    The New York – built Steinway was a superb choice for this music. I am so glad that it was made available by Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

    I look forward to reading the entire booklet for additional understanding and insight. Again, this is a fantastic coming-together of performer/performers, music, piano, and recording. Congratulations!

    • Bob Attiyeh

      Thank you so much Mr. Ward. We are delighted you are enjoying Mika’s debut album so much. We are thrilled with her accomplishment, both technically and musically, and I’m so happy you are enjoying her playing. Glad that you’re finding Obsidian helpful as a reference recording to fine-tune your audio system too! A wonderful added benefit. Take a look also at Orion, another beautiful New York Steinway under the command of a brilliant young American pianist.

      Thanks so much for your insights!

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