Reiko Ichise

Thursday, 07 November 2013

The Japanese viol player shares her favourite recordings

Keeping an open mind can only benefit you in the long run

Steve Reich Drumming
Steve Reich and musicians

This is the most-played track on my iPod and my favourite thing to listen to, especially when I’m on the go. Somehow you can switch off, and be aware of the rhythm changes. Rhythm is so important in any genre of music, and I find this piece absolutely fascinating. The players do an incredible thing in performing this piece, and I have huge respect for them.

Glenn Gould
Brahms intermezzos

This has been one of my favourite recordings for about 30 years. The way Gould plays the intermezzos is so moving – it takes me somewhere else. There’s something pure and beautiful about his playing, and it’s a very meditative approach to Brahms’s music, which can sometimes be a bit buttery and too intense. I was a bit of a freaky Gould fan when I was young. I tried to copy him, but my piano teachers told me not to. If I’m feeling a bit lost as a performer, this recording somehow acts like medicine for me.

Jordi Savall and Wieland Kuijken
Sainte-Colombe Concerts à deux violes

This is a recording by two great masters of my instrument, who have been heroes and inspirational figures for me. This particular repertoire is quite strange, and nothing like other French Baroque music – most of the pieces are very melancholy, but unbelievably beautiful. I have to sit down and listen to the detail of it properly – it’s almost like a textbook for me. It makes me proud to be a viola da gamba player – I know this music can only be properly expressed on my instrument.

Ravel plays Ravel

I first heard this about 25 years ago, and it was a shock. Ravel’s tempos and articulations are totally different from modern interpretations, and so is the way he plays his melodies. As I’m part of an early-music movement concerned with authenticity and trying to go back to what the composer wanted, the recording  pushes me to think and discover more – some things are obviously beyond our imagination.

Javanese Court Gamelan from the Pura Paku Alaman, Yogyakarta

I used to play Balinese gamelan, but my favourite CD is actually Javanese. Balinese music can be too hyperactive and too fast. I listen to this to relax and the concept of time is so completely different to what I’m used to – I don’t listen to it if I’m in a hurry, though! It’s good to listen to different things, so that you’re not in your own little world all the time.

Originally published in The Strad, November 2011. Download the digital edition of the issue or subscribe to it as part of our 30-day free trial.

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