Album Review

Koji Asano “Suites for Violin and Viola” [Solstice]

cujo   4/5/2006   A Library, CD

The history of pieces for violin and viola goes back a long way – names like Mozart, Michael Haydn, Beethoven, Gli’re, Delius, Milhaud, and Holmboe have contributed to the repertoire, as have more recent (and more KFJC-friendly) big names like Martinu, Maderna (who we’ve recently added as composer and conductor), and Bolcom. Prolific guitarist/musician/composer Koji Asano weighs in with 7 new suites played by Kumi Nakajima (violin) and Masashi Sasaki (viola).

I don’t believe there are any masterpieces here; nevertheless, it’s good listening. It’s very meditative, but more in an academic than an Arvo P’rt kind of way. The performances benefit a great deal by being recorded in a great empty hall – an excellent and intimate way to listen to music.

There are no pyrotechnics or recognizable forms, though there are strong hints of a fugue in #2, and of a gigue (that’s fancy suite-talk for jig) on #3 and #7.

-Cujo, KFJC, March 2006

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