Ongaku no Tomo, January 2017 special enlarged issue
Izumi Tateno (piano) - 80th birthday concert
November 10, Tokyo Opera City
Ken Takaseki, conductor
Tokyo City Philharmonic Orchestra
Shin-ichiro Ikebe: Concerto No. 3, "To a West Wind"
Paul Hindemith: Klaviermusic mit Orchester, op. 29
René Staar: "The Fantastic Dances"
Maurice Ravel: Piano Concerto for the Left Hand
It was over a decade ago that Izumi Tateno, having suffered a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 65, returned to the stage with an indomitable spirit. Writing this at the risk of being misunderstood, it is Tateno who developed the “firmly established genre of left hand pianist.” He has now reached a level, however, at which that catchphrase is unnecessary. That evening was his 80th birthday. Under the title “80th Birthday Concert” was written “His first challenge at age 80 - four piano concertos.” After his seventies, in which everything shone, what will Tateno’s eighties be like? With that impressive energy occupying the realm of enlightenment more than that of awesomeness, he started with a breezy rendition of the Ikebe work. Having said that, the construction was not simple; the music was vertically carved, with timbres sent out horizontally. In the Hindemith, the music was percussive, and although the keystrokes were vertical, I was absorbed in the ripple-like reverberation.
Staar is Tateno’s student. The hues of Scandinavian music are set down vertically and horizontally; the various rhythms appearing in the transformations are enjoyable, and the five movements form a sort of tapestry. The last piece was the Ravel, the real highlight of the concert. Tateno squarely faced the orchestra’s furious billows of chords. It was like the power with which Moses parted the waves in the movie The Ten Commandments. In the curtain call, “Happy Birthday” was played, led by the baton of Takaseki. The Emperor and Empress were present as well. It was an evening when one keenly felt many things, including human respect and fundamental ideals.