skip to Main Content

Colours of the Heart

MusiKaleido MKCD001


Midori Komachi (violin) and Simon Callaghan (piano)

Highly sought after for their performances of the Delius Violin Sonatas, these two award-winning artists, have based this new album around their ‘Delius and Gauguin’ project, which celebrates the colourful inspiration shared by the composer Frederick Delius and painter Paul Gauguin, along with pieces by other closely associated composers.

  • Debussy: Violin Sonata in G minor
  • Delius: Violin Sonata No.3
  • Ravel: Sonata in G
  • Grieg (arr. Sauret): Lieder for Violin & Piano

Please click here for more information.

Reviews:

Simon Callaghan proves the ideal partner, subtly weighting and detailing the music’s shifting harmonic and textural profiles

The Strad, Julian Haylock

Debussy’s Violin Sonata tantalisingly fuses stream-of-consciousness sensuality with structural and gestural Classical norms. Midori Komachi leans more towards the former, characterising the composer’s episodic asides with beguiling temporal flexibility and sonic allure. Simon Callaghan proves the ideal partner, subtly weighting and detailing the music’s shifting harmonic and textural profiles.

If Debussy’s Sonata can, in the wrong hands, appear structurally brittle, the shimmering languor of Delius’s Sonata no.3 can easily (if over-indulged) lose its expressive focus. Again, Komachi and Callaghan capture the music’s sound world unerringly – enhanced by the recording’s beguiling ambience – giving it sufficient room to breathe without saturating its emotional capacity. In an ideal world a slightly narrower or faster vibrato would have further improved the captivating, wistful quality of Komachi’s playing.

That said, she judges the sleek, neo-Classical lines of Ravel’s 1928 Sonata to perfection, balancing exquisitely its espressivo ‘cool’ and super-compressed nostalgic yearnings. If the modern tendency is to turn the central ‘Blues’ into a bitterly ironic statement à la Shostakovich, shattering any sense of familial connection with the opening movement, Komachi and Callaghan emphasise a sense of belonging by gently cushioning its harmonic astringencies and the finale’s moto perpetuo fury. Two Grieg songs expertly arranged by Émile Sauret end this fine recital in a radiant glow.

You will not be disappointed

Music & Vision, Geoff Pearce

“If ever there was a CD in recent years that has captivated me so completely, it’s this one. Violinist Midori Komachi and pianist Simon Callaghan have put together a recital that rivals all other recordings of these works. The partnership is incredible and the insights into the subtleties of this music are so well realized that I played this CD three times before I thought I could put pen to paper.”

“The partnership is incredible […] if you only have the budget to buy one CD this year, make it this one.  You will not be disappointed”

An adventurous selection of not-so-well-known sonatas delivered with aplomb

MusicWeb International, Ian Lace

I take my hat off to Ms Midori Komachi in admiration for her enterprise in realising this imaginative collection. She turns in, with pianist Simon Callaghan, very creditable performances of these colourful, off-the-beaten track works. She also contributes some interesting and erudite sleeve-notes suggesting links with Gauguin’s painting Nevermore (Delius was its first owner) and the work of Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849) especially his The Raven.

The Poe connection is explicit in the case of Ravel who was greatly influenced by Poe’s The Philosophy of Composition. Ravel’s Sonata was inspired by American music of jazz and blues, the second movement especially so with its reference to Gershwin’s ‘Summertime’. Komachi and Callaghan clearly relish the chance to let their hair down and make the most of their opportunity to colour this music. The movement begins with the violin emulating a banjo as we are immediately introduced to the spirit of America’s Deep South. The music proceeds with typical Ravelian quirky use of the Gershwin tune. There is another link since the American and jazz influence is apparent in a number of Delius’s compositions. The opening Allegretto is quirky and whimsical too, straddling many moods and including bell-like folk material and gypsy music as well as moments of pathos and nostalgia. The Sonata concludes with a Perpetuum Mobile.

Debussy composed his Violin Sonata shortly before his death from cancer in 1918. It was the third in a projected series of six solo sonatas – the first two being the Cello Sonata of 1915 and the Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp of 1916. This sonata was premiered in May 1917 with Debussy at the piano. It was to be his last public performance. The composer referred to this sonata somewhat sardonically as ‘an example of what may be produced by a sick man in time of war’. It is a spare work but not lacking in imagination and colour. Debussy claimed that it was inspired by scenes from Pelléas and Mélisande.Komachi and Callaghan introduce us, in the first movement, to a mysterious, enigmatic world, of pathos and suffering, the violin part sometimes discordantly wiry. The central Intermède is quirky and it seemed to me to suggest a donkey running around the field rather than the opening of the Finale as Midori suggests – no matter. The finale demands the piano’s lightest most articulate touch and, from the violinist, an embracing of the maximum pitch range without an overt display of ‘showy’ virtuosity.

The Delius Sonata was a joint effort between the composer and his amanuensis, Eric Fenby. Interestingly, Midori Komachi recalls Gauguin’s ideology that “music is the language of the listening eye”. Considering Delius’s blindness, by 1930 when this Third Violin Sonata was composed, she observes, “Just like Gauguin’s Nevermore, Delius’s music opens an infinite space of imagination.” Komachi and Callaghan offer a committed and heartfelt reading of this lovely work. The opening movement just marked ‘Slow’ is a lyrical flow, the music now meandering, now soaring, now skipping. At 1.42 it broadens into one of Delius’s most effulgent melodies. The sunny Andante Scherzandomiddle movement bounces along joyfully and playfully while the concluding Lento is an often intense autumnal reflection.

One of Delius’s greatest friends was Edvard Grieg who had always supported him and encouraged Delius’s father to allow the young Frederick to follow a career in music. Grieg was also known to Ravel and Debussy. So it is fitting that the concert is rounded off with the French violinist, Émile Sauret’s attractive arrangements of two of the most popular pieces in the repertoire: Jeg elsker Dig (Ich Liebe Dich) (I love you only) and Solveigs Sang from Grieg’s Peer Gynt.

An adventurous selection of not-so-well-known sonatas delivered with aplomb.
 
Ian Lace

Further recordings
British Violin Sonatas

SOMM Recordings SOMMCD0610

The deeper the blue…

SOMM Recordings SOMMCD275

Nicodé: Ein Liebesleben & other piano works

Hyperion CDA68269

Tableaux de Provence: Works for Saxophone

Resonus Classics RES10231

Bernhard Scholz and Josef Rheinberger
Concertos by Bernhard Scholz and Josef Rheinberger

Hyperion CDA68225

Coke Hyperion
Coke Piano Concertos

Hyperion CDA68173

Warp and Weft, EMR CD043
Warp and Weft

EMR CD043

Rarities of Piano Music at Schloss vor Husum from the 2016 Festival

Danacord Records DACOCD789

The Music of Roger Sacheverell Coke

Somm Recordings SOMMCD0147

Vivat Brahms! Volume I

SOMM Recordings SOMMCD0126

English Piano Works

De Rode Pomp RPGMA069073

Back To Top
08/07/2020