Eminence – Piano Stories IV

Eminence’s Piano Stories IV was performed at Melba Hall at the University of Melbourne on Saturday, September 23 – that is, on the weekend of Manifest. Performers were Polish pianist Krzyzystof Malek and special guest Ishikawa Ayako.

This is how far behind I’ve gotten: Eminence is today performing ‘Passion‘ at the Merlyn Theatre, The C.U.B. Malthouse in Melbourne. But it’s a 37 degree day, and the haze from the fires in other parts of the state is none too pleasant either…so I’ve decided to take a break after the crazy week I’ve had. Because of the delay, I can clearly remember what I thought of just two of the songs – others I cannot really comment on because I haven’t heard the original pieces of music myself, or at least, not very often.

Krzyzystof Malek is a concert pianist lauded around the world, winner of many competitions, prizes and scholarships. However, based on his performance, he is most probably not an anime fan – I don’t even want to consider that to be a possibility. Whilst his treatment of the more widely known theme from Super Mario Brothers was hugely enjoyable and a nostalgic ‘blast from the past’ for me, I disliked his interpretation of Fields of Hope from Gundam SEED Destiny. This song, performed by Kajiura Yuki and Tanaka Rie, was very effective as an insert song in episode 7 of the series…when the major cities of the world were being destroyed (people who’ve seen it will know what I’m talking about). I don’t normally like slow songs, but it was a really powerful moment in what turned out to be an average series in the end. However, Mr. Malek chose to perform the piece at a noticeably faster pace…and it just did not fit. It might just be a matter of interpretation, as that is what music performance is about, particularly since the Romantic era when the focus switched from being on the composer to being on the performer. However, based on the concerts I’ve been to, I would argue that there are still many pieces that cannot be performed without reference to other interpretations, and I would have preferred it if Kryzystof Malek had captured some of the magic of the series represented in the concert.

On the other hand, Ishikawa Ayako was excellent – you could really see the passion in her performance. I would suspect that, as a Japanese, she might have had more exposure and greater affinity to the composers, which would have lent much to her performance. She is, after all, one of the mainstays of Eminence.

All in all, an enjoyable performance, but it could have been better. 7.5/10.

About karice
MAG fan, freelance translator and political scientist-in-training. I also love musicals, travel and figure skating!

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