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Danjulo Ishizaka's Janáček, Kodály, and Grieg solo recording is amazing

on Sat, 10/11/2014 - 12:32

I dearly love this recording, and I'm not the only one. Grammophone, The Strad, and now The Arts Desk have showered praise on this recording. In fact, everybody who hears it is taken with it.

CD cover for Danjulo Ishizaka's superb solo recording

Danjulo set about creating a recital program for solo cello and piano that tells stories about culture, using folk melodies as the central binding idea. In the program notes he talks about the formative aspect of growing up bi-culturally (German-Japanese), how this has left him with a passion for experiencing nationality, culture, and language, and how this is linked to his desire to take the listener on a cultural journey with these pieces.

The recording is very accessible, winning the heart of the listener on the first hearing, but the more you work your way into the intricacies of the pieces, the more you wonder at the depth of emotion and utterly brilliant execution by both cellist and pianist (Shai Wosner). In other words, it holds up well to being on endless repeat. But don't just take my word for it.

Gramophone says:
"The only area in which there seems to be no contrast or conflict is over his prodigious technique, and to hear him live is to appreciate not only how free of any technical boundaries he is but also how that has translated into his performances as a disarming lack of egotism."

The Strad says:
"Ishizaka is simply sensational in Kodály’s Solo Sonata. He proves masterly in creating cogency with what can often seem quite rhapsodic material."

The Arts Desk says:
"Ishizaka also gives us a cogent, virtuoso reading of Kodály's magnificent, soulful Solo Cello Sonata. This is a terrifying piece to play, a work which, in Ishizaka's words, “demolishes the limits of what was thought technically possible on the cello at the time.” The last movement's pyrotechnics are dazzling, but the sonata's sparer, haunted passages are equally effective – the slow movement's dark opening is marvellous in Ishizaka's hands. A superb recital."

This CD is available on Amazon, iTunes, Spotify, and other music stores.