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Mayuko Kamio in Recital
Georges BIZET (1838-1875)/Franz WAXMAN (1906-1967)
Carmen Fantasie [
Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Valse-Scherzo, Op.34 [6:15]; Méditation (from Souvenir d’un lieu cher, Op.42) [10:06]
Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937)
Mythes, Op.30 ([1] La fontaine d’Aréthuse [5:53]; [2] Narcisse [7:36]; [3] Dryades et Pan [8:10])
Ernest CHAUSSON (1855-1899)
Poème, Op.25 [14:46]
Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971)
Suite Italienne (after Pulcinella, arr. Stravinsky/Dushkin): ([1] Introduzione: Allegro moderato [2:04]; [2] Serenata: Larghetto [2:58]; [3] Tarantella: Vivace [2:07]; [4] Gavotte con due variazioni [3:30]; [5] Scherzino: Presto all breve [1:23]; [6] Minuetto e Finale [4:18])
Mayuko Kamio (violin); Vadim Gladkov (piano)
rec. ZKO-Haus, Zurich, Switzerland, 16-18 March 2008. DDD.
SONY-BMG 88697301002 [78:36]


Experience Classicsonline

This début CD from 22 year old violinist Mayuko Kamio shows real individuality and rising maturity. It’s an interesting programme well-suited to her polished technique and excellent tone, which she intuitively adapts to suit each of the works. For those who have not yet encountered this artist the present CD makes for a welcoming introduction.


As the youngest winner of the 1998 Menuhin International Violin Competition, Ms. Kamio found international fame when she won the Gold Medal at the International Tchaikovsky Competition nine years later. Like her co-patriots Akiko Suwanai and Midori Goto, Ms. Kamio studied under the famed pedagoguge Dorothy Delay at the Juilliard School of Music. At present she continues her studies at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Zurich under the instruction of Zakhar Bron. Over the past decade, she has made extensive concert tours working with some of the world’s most esteemed orchestras, including the Israel Philharmonic (with Zubin Mehta), Russian National Orchestra (with Vladimir Spivakov) and the Boston Pops (with Keith Lockhart).


The Waxman Carmen-Fantasie was one of the required pieces that Ms. Kamio had under her fingers at the Tchaikovsky Competition in 2007. Once again, this arrangement started off beautifully well with, an energetic and polished reading - technically flawless. The soaring lines of this piece displayed her well-developed sense of drama and flair. For those who saw Ms. Kamio’s live performance on stage it was clear that, her stupendous left-hand security and spectacular bow-arm technique were critical in securing her sound production. On the recording she admirably creates that very same impression of serenity and cheerfulness. Vadim Gladkov likewise also draws a lot of detail from this vivid and colourful score.


Tchaikovsky’s Valse-Scherzo Op.34 was heard here in its frequently recorded violin and piano version. This knotty piece, incidentally a noted Milstein speciality, here receives a bravura reading, arched and idiomatic. The recording engineers Will Brown and Tim Adam-Smith had captured Kaio’s velvet or pungent Stradivarius 1727 instrument in high definition. Even those long sated by the market’s offerings of this piece may be pleased with this handsome recording.


Szymanowski’s expressive, lyric modernism has attracted plenty of fond admirers in recent years.  During the turning decade of the 1900s, Szymanowski was introduced to Pelléas, Firebird and Petrushka. Their enriching influences can be felt in his compositions of that period. The Mythes draw on classical subjects. A musician with a commanding technique - just listen to her impressive double-stops, harmonics, quarter tones and glissandi - Ms. Kamio has the fanciful musical imagination and intelligence to play these three pieces. At times, her intonation and tonal purity seem a bit lacking in colour and luster, such as in the opening quarter-tone trills of Dryades et Pan that depicts the summer wind. Overall though credit must be given for real poise and control. Gladkov’s contribution is more than competent with his playing indicating that he is more than comfortable with this music. Unfortunately the recording places him in the background, almost in his own acoustic space.


In Tchaikovsky’s celebrated Méditation Op.42 No.1 from Souvenir d’un lieu cher Ms Kamio has a darkly lingering quality in the most ruminative and lyrical passages as well as a heart-on-the-sleeve sincerity in the Mischa Elman tradition. Best of all, though, was her stunningly mature performance of the Chausson Poème. This piece suits her playing perfectly. With her fluid phrasing she challenges the great names of the past. The disc ends with Stravinsky’s Suite Italienne, where the players bring out the beauty of Pergolesi’s original melodies and the piquant flavor of Stravinsky’s modifications in alternately waspish and graceful sounds. The Tarantella has the fingers of both musicians in ceaseless motion, while the Gavotte and Variations are held in demure balance. A shimmering and nervous Scherzino is brought to its height in the Menuetto and Finale, bold and majestic, but then swiftly facile. The individuality of Ms. Kamio’s performance lies in her vibrancy, delicacy and control of tone and articulation,.


This pair of musicians clearly enjoy their music-making in every measure. At the ripe age of 22, Mayuko Kamio shows all the signs of becoming an accomplished and individual violinist. An interesting innovation from Sony-BMG was the inclusion of fine caricature-drawings by Ms. Kamio herself. Excellent!

Patrick P.L. Lam


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