Makoto Nakura's performance onn October 24th at the Kobeshinbun Matsukata Hall, Kobe was reviewed by the The Nikkei Newspaper!
Read the translation below:
This was a marimba recital by Makoto Nakura who is based in New York City and originally from Kobe, Japan. An extraordinary technique, a height of sophistication and well-thought programming culminated into one intense concert experience which I thoroughly enjoyed. (On October 24 th at the Kobeshinbun Matsukata Hall, Kobe)
I have been admiring how he creates new projects by commissioning new works to expand the possibility of the marimba. The project this time is called “Bach Parallels” focusing on Bach’s chorales and dance music. He juxtaposed the world premiere of newly commissioned pieces with his own transcriptions of Bach’s works. The essence of Bach, which pulsates in the modern time, vividly emerged from this concert.
The marimba and the pipe organ have some similarities. Instead of sending air into organ pipes, the vibration from wooden bars goes into resonator pipes for the marimba which starts sounding like the universe we hear when the organ is played. The boundary between the organ and the percussion instrument disappears in the place where life flows out like a spring. The sound from the four mallets Nakura held, which represented the four voices of the choir, melted together as if it were sung by a mixed choir and embraced us with sereneness. Bach’s chorales suit the marimba very well.
Transcriptions by Nakura, who knows the instrument so well, were skillfully done. Running rhythmic patterns gave us a refreshing feeling on Bach’s “C Minor Suite for solo cello”. On its “Sarabande” movement, he used the idea of “octave counterpoint” without using the tremolo technique and explored a new territory of marimba playing.
It was exquisite to hear the three sets of Bach’s Chorales (solo marimba) and Chorale Preludes (marimba duo) by Philip Lasser who composed these duos inspired by the same chorales (Duo collaborator: Kazuko Ogawa). On “Wachet auf ruft uns die Stimme”, playful rhythms and figures excelled and my heart pounded with joy from hearing counterpoint in the modern form.
The commissioned work by Jummei Suzuki, “La fontaine d’anabasis” is the piece which transforms typical baroque music to a caprice. The succession of notes and the moments between notes hit the very core of brilliant music making. Straight after the climax of Coda, Bach’s chorale “Es ist genug” was played. It was God’s love itself delivered by Nakura’s profound sentiment.