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Kyoko Takezawa



I saw this incredible violinist at NC Symphony concert last Sat. night. She played Barktok Violin Concerto #2. She was technically immaculate, lightning speed, faster runs than I have ever heard on any recording, even my fantasy woman Julie Fischer. She played with passion and emotion and had the chops to pull off the powerfully emotional playing. She grew stronger toward the end after 15-20 minutes of hard work on stage. Her tone was unbelievable. It was whatever the music called for at the moment, sweet and gentle, big and round, sonorous and projecting, razor sharp and shrieking, growling and sarcastic. With Bartok you need it all, and many players resort to the cop-out of "making it their own" because it demands too much from them to play it as written with imagination and skill.

Like Josh Grobin's superstar rock violinist Lucia Micarelli, Ms Takezawa also wore a long black dress and moved around the stage in fits of passion. Takezawa showed no leg, had no amplification and moved me deeply. Lucia Micarelli had 50,000 watts of amplification and 3 feet of leg showing at all times but came off kinda silly, but she obviously had a lot of chops, too and played a lot of familiar classical licks. This is Lucia on UTube: She played the same Zep song Kashmir with Groban, but a lot shorter version... Sorry, Takezawa is not on YouTube, yet... ;)

It was pretty hard core Bartok to be playing to a 'classics' audience like NC Symphony. But the orchestra pulled it off well, even if carried by the soloist. Guest conductor Keith Lockhart was not in sync with the music or the band all night and entrances and tempos were sloppy, preventing any momentum from building through the concert or even in movements. He was not so great. He was actually reading the Dvorak at the end of the concert, not conducting any dynamics or expression at all but the band was finally coming on song at that point maybe because he was pre-occupied trying to keep his place. I heard him in Boston as the Conductor of Boston Pops. He took the job over from John "Darth" Williams.

My wife did not like the Bartok. She said it was "disjointed." I told her that it is typical reaction on first exposure to Bartok. It is like any great art which requires some effort and practice on the part of the consumer to appreciate it. Kinda like high-end audio! At the end of 2nd movement it was so beautiful and moving, I said to her "beautiful," she rolled her eyes to say "NOT!" She got a standing ovation. I was hoping for an encore, but they hit the lights too soon.

After the intermission, they played Dvorak 6th Symphony. Julie loved it, I told her it was boring, even though it was pretty good. Conducting was still off even on the easier stuff. Many people were there just to hear Ms Takezawa and they split during intermission, so the Dvorak was not well attended. Amazing to think people come just to see Bartok and even skip the Dvorak in this day of stupid pop-culture dominating everything. Maybe there is hope afterall.

The concerts are recorded for rebroadcast on WCPE which streams on the net. I record it on FM, and the sound recordists is pretty good. If anyone wants it uncompressed, lemme know. Her Bartok 2nd is available on a DVD on her website.

Kyoko Takezawa


Here's a closer UTube view...

Nice writeup!  I'm not familiar with the artist or music but I got a sense from the words.


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