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Satoko Inoue: Presents Jo Kondo's Works For Piano 2015-2020

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Satoko Inoue: Presents Jo Kondo's Works For Piano 2015-2020
Jo Kondo is a composer unto himself, but for ready reference he can be filed in the proximity of John Cage and Morton Feldman, both of whom he got to know in 1978 in New York while in the city on a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. Satoko Inoue is a concert pianist specializing in modern music. Presents Jo Kondo's Works For Piano 2015-2020 is her second album of Kondo's music for the ezz-thetics label, following Presents Jo Kondo's New Works For Piano (2023). Both discs are quietly sensational.

Like Cage's work, Kondo's might not immediately suggest itself as a promising soundscape for dance. Where, for a start, are the motor rhythms? But some of the most memorable dance exists alongside seemingly unsuitable music. For decades Cage was the composer of choice for the American choreographer Merce Cunningham. And within Kondo's stripped-down meditative cosmos is another world of energy and movement. In 1997 Richard Alston, the most musical of modern British choreographers, created a perfect little masterpiece with his duet Light Flooding Into Darkened Rooms, which paired Kondo's bracing Ars Brevis for solo mandolin with material composed by the 17th century lutenist Denis Gaultier.

Kondo's liner notes, by the way, are excellent. He tells us that "Pomegranate" (see the YouTube below), which he wrote for Inoue, acquired its title simply because the word came into his mind in the moments after he completed the piece; later he discovered that pomegranate is among the pianist's favorite food. "Three Winter Months" is so named because it took Kondo three months to compose all 07:48 of it. Kondo also provides useful insights into the architecture of the music, which he describes as "standing in-between two eternities, the past and the future, the things that have gone, and the things that will come." Standing, but not motionless.

Track Listing

A Contemplation; A Straw Hat Dance; Caccia Soave; In Autumn; Interlude; Pomegranate; Three Winter Months; Helleborus, for piano four hands.

Personnel

Album information

Title: Presents Jo Kondo's Works For Piano 2015-2020 | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: Ezz-thetics


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