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Also available as an HD Mastererd CD
Cat No. CR6002-6



Mami Shikimori

Brahms composed this enormous five-movement sonata when he was only 20 years old. The work was first published in 1854 and this remained his largest single piano work. The 1st movement Allegro maestoso is in concise sonata form and it opens with a heroic and defiant gesture which uses the entire range of the keyboard, and virtually the whole movement grows out of these opens bars. Brahms explained that the following verses are "perhaps necessary or pleasant for an appreciation of the Andante" of this sonata, and he asked that these first three lines of C.O. Sternau's poem Junger Leibe (Young Love) to be printed above the 2nd movement Andante:
Der Abend dämmert, das Mondlicht scheint Twilight is falling, moonlight shines,
Da sind zwei Herzen in Liebe vereint there two hearts are united in love
Und halten sich selig umfangen embraced in blissful rapture
The 3rd movement Scherzo is robust, energetic and angular, in contrast to the Trio, which has a soulful, broad and richly harmonised chorale-like melody in warm D flat major. The forth movement, entitled "Rückblick" (Retrospect), is loosely reminiscent of the falling thirds in the opening of the Andante, but this time, it is gloomy and the love is now lost. The Finale is in free rondo form. The three main subjects are treated contrapuntally in the coda, bringing the work to a triumphant conclusion.

Ravel's 'La Valse' was originally written for orchestra, and it was also transcribed for two pianos and for solo piano by the composer, who wrote the piece as a tribute to Johann Strauss and described it as 'a kind of apotheosis of the Viennese waltz, intermingled with the impression of a fantastic and fatal whirling'. Some have suggested the influence of Edgar Allen Poe with his short story 'The Masque of the Red Death' with its sinister and grotesque 'masked ball of the most unusual magnificence'. The solo piano version incorporates occasional small-note excerpts from the orchestra score and one of the challenges facing the pianist is to decide how much of these one should play.


Mami Shikimori had her first musical training in her native town Fukuoka, Japan and later studied piano at the Purcell School of Music in London with Jean Anderson and went on to the Royal College of Music to study with Bernard Roberts. She graduated with the highest honours as well as the Hopkinson Gold Medal and other major prizes for solo piano. She also won the Marjorie and Arnold Ziff Prize for Outstanding Diploma Recital for which she was awarded the highest maximum mark. She has also studied with John Perry, John Blakely and Christopher Elton amongst others. Mami has performed at numerous world-renowned concert venues including New York's Carnegie Hall, Weill Recital Hall, London's St. John's, Smith Square, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Tokyo's Suntory Hall. Mami has been a top prize winner at several international competitions including receiving the New York IBLA Grand Prize in 2003, Padova and Alice bel Colle International competitions. In 2002, Mami was voted by Manchester Midday Concert Society as one of the two most outstanding young pianists to play a solo recital at the city's Bridgewater Hall. Mami Shikimori is much in demand as a solo recitalist, chamber music player and concerto soloist. In 2006, she made her world-wide concerto debut with Japan's Kyushu Symphony Orchestra in Fukuoka and her later performance of the Grieg Piano Concerto at the prestigious Kyushu Summer Festival attracted much critical acclaim. Last season, she made her successful London concerto debut at St. John's, Smith Square, performing Beethoven's Emperor Piano Concerto. She has broadcast on Classical KUSC, America's largest and most listened to public radio classical music station, recorded live from the Alfred Newman Hall in Los Angeles, and performed live television broadcasts on NHK, KBC and FBS in Japan. Alongside her solo work, Mami regularly performs with violinist Masayuki Kino

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