Respectfully submitted for: Best Classical Instrumental Solo
Thanks for listening! Pianist Mika Sasaki’s debut album celebrates Clara Schumann, her music, and the intricate artistic circle of musicians who surrounded her.
The legacy of Clara Schumann’s superb musicianship and pianistic genius lives on through these works, and through the strong influence she had on her musical family.
“As the year 2016 marks the 120th and 160th anniversaries of the deaths of Clara and Robert Schumann, I was also delighted to include Obsidian Liturgy (track 36), composed for me and Clara Schumann by my dear friend and colleague, Max Grafe. The piece unfolds through a sequence of emotionally dramatic musical events: an “Invocation” is followed by a ritualistic “Canticle” that builds into a fervent and obsessive “Incantation,” culminating in a cataclysmic explosion. After some seconds of silence, a vertiginous “Trance” of left-hand ostinatos sound from the distance, followed by a climactic “Peal” of strong, harsh bells. The “Benedictus” finally creates a sense of resolution, despite its haunting overtones, and finally, a desolate “Ite, missa est,” concludes the liturgy.” — Mika Sasaki
“Pianist Mika Sasaki played well with forceful rolling chords in the final Romance, and continued admirable pianism with two sets of variations on a Robert Schumann theme…. Ms. Sasaki’s tempos were never rushed and she played with a subtle touch…” — Terry McNeill