Mari Kodama’s album New Paths releases on November 18, 2022.
“Anyone even remotely familiar with Western music history knows the relationship between Johannes Brahms and the two Schumanns: Robert and Clara. Moreover, it always proves to be an almost ideal starting point for recitals and recordings. Such is the case for Japanese pianist Mari Kodama (she was born in Osaka in 1967), who has devoted herself with great verve to an album devoted almost entirely to Brahms’ admiration for Robert Schumann as a composer.
In Kodama’s own words, “The pieces I have chosen demonstrate the power that came from this friendship, the strength and energy, the tenderness and affection – you can hear all that in them.” And that is exactly what this eminent musician flawlessly demonstrates in these three works by Brahms, concluded beautifully with Widmung from Schumann’s song cycle Myrthen, aptly arranged by Clara for solo piano.
With Kodama, truly everything falls phenomenally into place: the phrasing, dynamic gradations, rhythmic precision and her spiritually highly charged commitment. All of this is captured in a stunning pianistic technique and, moreover, recorded by Polyhymnia’s Erdo Groot in the famous Reitstadel in Neumarkt, Germany, an acoustically beautiful location that once pleased the highly critical Alfred Brendel. Another contributing factor is the Yamaha CFX concert grand piano, perfectly intoned and tuned by Shunsuke Yokoyama. In short: a masterful production!”
Read the review by journalist Aart van der Wal in the Dutch online magazine Opus Klassiek in Dutch here.