One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here


International mailing

Up to 40% off

  Founder: Len Mullenger


Paul McCARTNEY (b.1942) A Leaf
Frederic RZEWSKI (b.1938) Short Fantasy on "Give Peace a Chance"
Paul McCARTNEY (b.1942), John LENNON (1940-1980), arr. Ichizo OKASHIRO Hey Jude
Paul McCARTNEY (b.1942), John LENNON (1940-1980), arr. Toru TAKEMITSU (1930-1996) Golden Slumbers
Paul McCARTNEY (b.1942), John LENNON (1940-1980), arr. Barbara MONK-FELDMAN (b.1953) Michelle
Paul McCARTNEY (b.1942), John LENNON (1940-1980), arr. Ichizo OKASHIRO Yesterday
Ryuichi SAKAMOTO (1952-) Aki 2.2
Michel BLOCK (1938-2003) "billet doux"
Chitose Okashiro (piano)
Recorded at the American Academy of Arts and Letters, NYC, April 12th-13th 2003.
CHÂTEAU C10002 [52.00]


In the late 1980s pianist Aki Takahashi commissioned 47 contemporary composers to arrange their favourite Beatles songs. For this disc, the second on her own label, the young Japanese pianist Chitose Okashiro has revisited some of these transcriptions as well as adding some others.

The disc opens with "A Leaf", a piece by Paul McCartney written after his Liverpool Oratorio. This is a charming, if over-long, piece in the style of an etude. Well wrought, though undemanding, it lacks the melodic spark of McCartney’s popular songs.

Frederic Rzweski’s arrangement of "Give Peace a Chance" is the first of the transcriptions commissioned by Aki Takahashi. A spiky, jazzy piece, it uses the original Beatles material simply as a starting point. This raises the question of what is a transcription. Some of the items on this disc are transcriptions a la Liszt in which the original melodic material are presented without much in the way of adornment. Others, like this one, are more free fantasias in which the original piece is radically transformed. The original material is used simply as a key to the transcriber’s own fantasy and often, as in Rzweski’s piece, the original can disappear entirely.

The transcription of "Hey Jude" is by Okashiro’s brother, Ichizo Okashiro, and gives us a transcription (in the Lisztian sense) very much redolent of Percy Grainger’s transcriptions of Gershwin tunes, complete with Grainger’s beloved woggles.

Takemitsu’s transcription of "Golden Slumbers", also commissioned by Aki Takahshi, is purely magical. Takemitsu succeeds in transforming the original material into his own sound world, whilst preserving the integrity of Lennon and McCartney’s song. Takemitsu went on to create a series of Beatles arrangements for guitar which are well worth searching out.

Barbara Monk-Feldman’s "Michelle" is a charming, if rather too solid, re-creation of the original. Ichizo Okashiro’s "Yesterday" starts out traditionally, but develops into something in a rather more modernist style, giving his sister some opportunities for some amazing pianism.

Ryuichi Sakamoto’s "Aki 2.2" is a contemporary fantasia on the Magical Mystery Tour. The original material is very much in the background here, with Sakamoto’s modernism to the fore giving Chitose Okashiro free reign artistically and pianistically.

The final piece on the disc is a short, original piece by Michel Block - a charming miniature which was specially written for the present performer.

Chitose Okashiro is a fine pianist, but I am really not sure about the desirability of the repertoire on this disc. Takemitsu apart, the composers either add very little to the Beatles’ originals or overwhelm them with their own personality.

Robert Hugill

see also review by Neil Horner


We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Return to Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.