Tchaikovsky Ballet Suites for Piano Duo (2016)

Tchaikovsky

Mari Kodama, Momo Kodama

An inextricable bond exists between the piano and ballet, this due to the fact that the ballet dancer’s strenuous daily routine of rehearsing in a mirror-lined hall is not normally accompanied by an orchestra, but by a piano. Seated at the piano is a répétiteur, who, with two virtuoso hands, routinely and tirelessly replaces an entire orchestra, providing the musical fundament for the creative work of the choreographer. The répétiteur’s high level of musical and pianistic mastery has always been crucial, but this was particularly the case in the days when they frequently were required to play directly from an open score, with little or no preparation.

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Mari Kodama

Mari Kodama was born in Osaka, Japan and began playing the piano at the age of three with her mother. Her family moved to Europe when she was six. Eight years later she entered the Conservatoire National Superieur de Paris aged 14, where she studied piano with Germaine Mounier and chamber music with Genevieve Joy-Dutilleux. Three years later, she obtained the premier prix and completed her studies with honours (cycle de perfectionnement) at the age of 19. While still a student, she won prizes at several international competitions (including Jeunesse Musicale de Suisse, Viotti - Valsesia, Citta di Senigallia, and F. Busoni in Bolzano).

After completing her studies, she was immediately invited by the London Philharmonic Orchestra to play Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No.3, followed by a recital at the outhbank Centre. Gramophone reviewed her later recording of this work under conductor Kent Nagano as follows: "Mari Kodama's tone is beautifully shaded and she makes a lovely, liquid sound... piano playing of a distinctive sensitivity...It all adds up to a genuinely fresh, and refreshing view..." Since then, she has given concerts in Europe, USA, Singapore and Japan, where she made her orchestral debut in Tokyo under Raymond Leppard in Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G. Major orchestras with which Mari Kodama has performed include the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Halle Orchestra, Norddeutsche Rundfunk, Dutch Radio Chamber Orchestra, Wiener Symphoniker, American Symphony Orchestra.

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Tchaikovsky Ballet Suites for Piano Duo (2016)

Tchaikovsky

Mari Kodama, Momo Kodama

    MusicWeb International

[...] The Osaka-born sisters Mari and Momo Kodama, who grew up and had their musical training in Europe, are both new to me. That said, Dominy Clements welcomed the latter’s solo album, Point and Line, and Michael Cookson found the former’s Beethoven concertos with Kent Nagano and the DSO Berlin to be ‘impressive’, if not really competitive. Mari has also recorded the Beethoven sonatas and a new Falla album with Kazuki Yamada and the OSR, both for Pentatone. In their spirited preamble to the booklet notes – the word ‘fun’ appears several times – the sisters confirm they’ve played together before, but that this is their first recording as a duo. These iconic ballet suites have certainly attracted some prestigious arrangers for piano duo, among them Anton Arensky, Claude Debussy, Sergei Rachmaninov and, in our own time, the Cypriot pianist-composer Nicolas Economou. Solo versions include pianist-conductor Mikhail Pletnev’s Nutcracker suite, attractively played by Alexandra Dariescu on a recent Signum release. In another league entirely is the complete ballet, arranged and played by Stewart Goodyear. That Steinway album – recorded by Sono Luminus at their studios in Boyce, Virginia – is a musical and sonic treat; indeed, it’s a must for Tchaikovsky fans and pianophiles alike. Rachmaninov’s piano four hands arrangement of The Sleeping Beauty, begun in 1890, required a number of corrections and revisions before Tchaikovsky was satisfied with it. The Kodamas have chosen just five numbers, but those interested in hearing the full version might be interested in this recording from New Classical Adventure. I hope to review it some point, although the download’s lack of documentation is a powerful incentive not to. At least Pentatone are scrupulous about providing Pdf booklets which, in general, are pleasing to look at and good to read. [...]

Dan Morgan for MusicWeb International[read full review]

    HRAudio.net

"The performance of Mari and Momo Kodama are of particular interest in that they do not merely play the notes as dished up by the arrangers. Using the symphonic scores to understand and subsequently extract the transcriptions from their original context, they add another dimension. A dimension of fairytale through suggestive, but elegant and refined playing, with a judiciously coloured palette of make believe, with even some interspersed ‘mystique’ elements, making these wonderfully ‘transduced’ performances, which many are at best familiar with in their orchestral versions, so intimately and irresistibly enjoyable. I have a great respect for what Mari does, but had never heard Momo before. Judging by the result she is of equal stature. And the flow of both sisters’ playing demonstrates such a convincing degree of togetherness that it is impossible to hear who is in the lead, notwithstanding the excellent multi-channel recording. Both grands sound warm and Grand. Performance, Stereo Sonics and Multichannel Sonics: 5 out of 5 Stars rating."

Adrian Quanjer[read full review]

Tchaikovsky Ballet Suites for Piano Duo (2016)

Tchaikovsky

Mari Kodama, Momo Kodama

Editing Software: Pyramix
Mastering Engineer: Polyhymnia International
Producer: Hein Dekker
Recording Engineer: Jean Marie Geijsen
Recording location: Studio 5 MCO Hilversum, The Netherlands
Recording Software: Merging
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD64

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PTC5186579: Tchaikovsky Ballet Suites for Piano Duo
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Tracks.
1.
Sleeping Beauty Op. 66 Suite for Piano Duo transcribed by Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943) - Introduc
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2.
Sleeping Beauty Op. 66 Suite for Piano Duo transcribed by Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943) - Adagio -
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3.
Sleeping Beauty Op. 66 Suite for Piano Duo transcribed by Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943) - Pas de ca
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4.
Sleeping Beauty Op. 66 Suite for Piano Duo transcribed by Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943) - Panorama
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5.
Sleeping Beauty (La Belle au bois dormant) Op. 66 Suite for Piano Duo - Valse
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6.
Nutcracker (Casse-noisette) Op. 71 Suite for Piano Duo - Ouverture
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7.
Nutcracker (Casse-noisette) Op. 71 Suite for Piano Duo - Marche
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8.
Nutcracker Op. 71 Suite for Piano - Danse de la Fee-Dragee
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9.
Nutcracker Op. 71 Suite for Piano - Le Caf?
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10.
Nutcracker Op. 71 Suite for Piano - Le The
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11.
Nutcracker Op. 71 Suite for Piano - Danse russe Trepak
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12.
Nutcracker Op. 71 Suite for Piano - Danse des mirlitons
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13.
Nutcracker Op. 71 Suite for Piano - Valse des Fleurs (Flower Waltz)
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14.
Nutcracker Op. 71 Suite for Piano - Pas de deux (Grand adagio)
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15.
Swan Lake (Le Lac des cygnes) Op. 20 Suite for Piano Duo - Scene
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16.
Swan Lake (Le Lac des cygnes) Op. 20 Suite for Piano Duo - Danses des cygnes
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17.
Swan Lake (Le Lac des cygnes) Op. 20 Suite for Piano Duo - Scene
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18.
Suite for Piano Duo transcribed by Claude Debussy (1862-1918) - Danse russe
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19.
Suite for Piano Duo transcribed by Claude Debussy (1862-1918) - Danse espagnole
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20.
Suite for Piano Duo transcribed by Claude Debussy (1862-1918) - Danse napolitaine
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