Mari Kodama - Reviews


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"…Mari Kodama naturally threw herself into action, of course. Incredibly hard passages stood next to sensitive singing out, clattering chords alternating with soft passages, attacks with fermatas / quiet points. The orchestra accompanied with high concentration. Conductor Ryusuke Numajiri directed clearly."LÜBECKER NACHRICHTEN, November 29, 2016

"It continues in a lively manner and to great effect with a piece that to most listeners will probably have been a new discovery: Bohuslav Martinu’s Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra. This composer is still not recognized and played enough, perhaps because he is hard to classify due to his poly-stylistics and because he demands a lot from both orchestra and soloist." "… Together with her sister Momo Kodama she masters it brilliantly, navigating through the turmoil of the opening movement, letting the melody give consolation in the second movement and speeding with great effect through the finale. With their encore the Kodama sisters show that there lies a little drama even in a ballet piece (“Danse des mirlitons” from Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker”)" - Martinu's Concerto for two pianos and orchestra in Hannover, HANNOVERSCHE ALLGEMEINE ZEITUNG, November 19, 2016

"When the Japanese Mari and Momo Kodama entered the stage it was already obvious from their distinctively patterned dresses that the performance would be beyond normal concert routine. Bohuslav Martinu’s Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra might have been new to the majority of the audience. The first and last movement ran at full speed. Not less demanding the Adagio in the middle, precisely because it asks for containment – to play gently is often the most difficult challenge, which was mastered by the Kodama sisters in the most convincing manner." - Martinu's Concerto for two pianos and orchestra in Hannover, NEUE PRESSE, November 19, 2016

"Using the symphonic scores to understand and subsequently extract the transcriptions from their original context, they add another dimension. A dimension of fairytale through suggestive, but elegant and refined playing, with a judiciously coloured palette of make believe, with even some interspersed ‘mystique’ elements, making these wonderfully ‘transduced’ performances, which many are at best familiar with in their orchestral versions, so intimately and irresistibly enjoyable." - CD Review, Tchaikovsky Ballet Suites for Piano Duo with Momo Kodama, HRAUDIO, November 14, 2016

"The final piece was the Concerto for Two Pianos by Martinù: Mari and Momoyo Kodama are extraordinary! The writing is very demanding, expressionism pushed to the extreme, dissonance reminiscent of Bartók, with non-stop flow of scales, arpeggios, leaps, but also pauses in the last almost-impressionistic movement. The fingers of the Japanese musicians were flying with with diabolic ease and finesse: a stunning finale." - Martinu's Concerto for two pianos with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Marseille, ZIBELINE JOURNAL, April 2016

“Mari Kodama obviously knows her Beethoven, and her readings are filled with superb technique and tons of emotion... the sound here is absolutely glorious... Very highly recommended!“   - CD: Beethoven Piano Sonatas, AUDIOPHILE AUDITION, October 24, 2014

“The approach is, as in the previous volumes, fine, rigorous and even, almost Brendelian with certainly, less digital magic than Bendel or Gulda.“   - CD: Beethoven Piano Sonatas, LE DEVOIR, September 27, 2013

"The program concluded with the serious but dazzlingly difficult St. Francis de Paule Walking on the Water, after which the audience immediately broke into applause and jumped to their feet to recognize the skill, musicality, warmth, grace and dignity of Ms Kodama."   - Beethoven, Chopin and Liszt recital review, THE BARRIE EXAMINER, April 18, 2012

"Kodama is widely experienced and her performances of sonatas she calls 'lyrical islands' are graceful, fluent and musically transparent. Everything proceeds in a faultless flow of sound..."   - CD Review, Beethoven Sonatas, Vol. 6 of Complete Cycle on Pentatone, Gramophone, March 1, 2011

"When the performances are as stylish and idiomatic as these are, the only conclusion possible is that Kodama (who is also currently engaged in recording the composer's sonatas) may well emerge as a formidable Beethovenian...an especially rhapsodic and improvisational reading at once musical, virtuosic, and thrilling."   - CD, Beethoven Cti. 1 and 2, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Kent Nagano, Fanfare Magazine, January 1, 2010

"She produced a fine performance, pearly in tone but somehow assertive, notably in the cadenzas, despite the leisurely tempos and ubiquitous rhetoric of elegance."   - Mozart Concerto No. 27, K.595, Montreal Symphony w/Bernhard Klee, The Montreal Gazette, October 29, 2009

"Some pianists seem to have been born to play Beethoven. While I'm sure it's no mystery but a matter of temperament, I can say that Mari Kodama, a native of Osaka, Japan, is truly one of the Beethoven breed. She has the tools, as well as the inclination, needed to interpret this composer: a well-centered, beautiful tone, a love of the full range of keyboard colors, and a sensitivity to distinctions in rhythm both great and subtle."   - CD Review, Beethoven Sonatas on Pentatone, Audiophile Audition, February 1, 2009

"Ms. Kodama brings a canny, graceful style to these early--though iconoclastic--works of Beethoven, a graded, assiduous sense of rhythm and tempered dynamics. Suave, even feline, progressions mark her applications of color...a Beethoven acolyte of intense, intellectual and digital power."   - CD Review, Beethoven Sonatas on Pentatone, Audiophile Audition, December 23, 2008