Rave Comments & Reviews

...gems                @                                      -Billboard-

...marvelous and stunning                              -Gramophone Japan-


cshe is a pianist of phenomenal talentcTo my utter astonishment, I was completely bowled over by it. At my time of life gastonishmenth is an increasingly rare experience, so Ifm more than content to be astonished.
cthere are lashings of rumbustious rubato and hair-raising hairpins that should bring tears of mirth to the eyes of even the most hardened Mahler puristscshe finds something that to the best of my knowledge no conductor has found nor, I suspect, would dare to find: bedlam! Rarely, if ever, has that "heart" been so "sorely wounded". Of all the passages that have given me pause for thought, this one, more than any, vindicates Okashirofs claim that there are some things that the "target instrument" of an arrangement can, in some way, do "better" than the original scoringcPretty well all the notes you hear are recognisably from Mahlerfs hand, and I get the feeling that Okashirofs arrangement has somehow - and incredibly - hung on to most of them! In so doing, she has set herself a very considerable virtuosic challenge, which by the sound of it has brought her right up against the stops of her present capabilities. My guess is that the sheer block-busting effort involved, allied to the nature of the piano, is what produces this palpable sense of tempestuous chaos. Whatfs more, therefs no sense of Lisztian showmanship here, just red-raw, blood-curdling musicianship.
cAs Mr. Spock might have said, "This is Mahlerfs First, Jim, but not Mahlerfs First as we know it." The lady is right, it does indeed make you think again, and think carefully about what the music is "about". Moreover, the revelations are not limited to the substance of the arrangement, but often emerge from the style of the interpretation. Ifm thinking particularly about her highly elastic phrasing, a required characteristic of Mahlerfs music that is so rarely given enough air to breathe or worse inappropriately applied by many conductors. Chitose Okashirofs arrangement - and her breathtaking performance - make you realise, in contradistinction to his long-held reputation as a bit of a "wild child", just how refined a composer was Gustav Mahler. It seems to me that both my questions have been answered in the affirmative.
c astonishingly audaciousc  
  Paul Serotsky - MusicWeb International, UK-

 

cher playing here is astonishing. With such a variety of texture and color, and so many notes flying by, itfs hard to believe that she doesn't have an extra hand or two.
The opening movement's well-known, tender second theme sings as soulfully as a full contingent of strings. The frenetic development section, with its tremolos and thundering octaves, is surprisingly pianistic, sounding right out of Lisztfs "Dante" Sonata. The scherzo-like third movement is a tour de force, its cascading double notes whirling by with incredible precision. Undoubtedly you don't need this CD to become familiar with Tchaikovsky's last symphony, but if you want to be wowed by some staggering piano playing, have a listen.
Ira Rosenblum - New York Timres-

 

cby the variety and accuracy of her touch and the care of her pedaling, Ms. Okashiro  produced extremely resonant performances. Often it seemed that the notes to be played, for both composers, were not the important ones: what mattered were the higher harmonics resounding afterward. The luxurious and stately chords were there to generate glistening  swirls  of partials, which Ms. Okashiro was able to bring forward and sculpt, as if her hands had been inside the piano.
          Paul Griffiths -New York Times-

 

Okashirofs playing  is fabulous ? how many hands does she have?-            
...dazzling                                                                                                William Youngren - Fanfare-
...She is a master technician                                                                         Michael Ullman - Fanfare-

Ifm still innocent enough to sit in open mouthed awe at something like Chitose Okashirofs consummate technical mastery of the fabulous piano part in Franckfs Violin Sonata.
                    French-American Record Guide-

cit is one of the major assets for us to discover the recording of Chitose Okashiro.
The design of the Japanese artist strikes by her direction of the characterization and its density.
                     Alain Cochard - Diapason, France-

cit is interesting for the ingeniousness of the transcription itself and for the remarkably effective and powerful approach by the young artist, Chitose Okashiro, who spares no pains to accentuate contrasts and the creativity.                                             Etienne Moreau - Diapason, France-

cappears thus completely enthrallingc the result is superb with expressive densityc The emotion is unquestionably happening there for the artistfs color of the sound, dynamic dimension and fantastic accelerationscSimply listen to her mastery of the frenzied counter-melody in Scherzo movement;  it is astounding with delicacy and poetry!                       Stephane Friederich - Classica, France-
  

ca meticulousness of goldsmith and delicacies of gourmet by Chitose Okashirocdiscovery of a major pianist                                Pascal Brissaud - Repertoire, France-

can irreproachable interpretation of virtuosity and intelligence, this CD incontestably deserves to be discovered.                     - Piano Magazine, France-

cthe very first phrase of the introductory motive already fascinates the listenersc
cHere the still young pianist from Japan proves to be a marvelous interpreter and a grandioso technician figure as one only rarely gets to hear. 
cfascinatingc a marvelous pianistcoutstanding                                    
                                      Carsten Durer - Piano News, Germany-


Stay tuned to the idiomatic performances of Richter, Neuhaus, Okashiro, Fyodorova and Sofronitsky.....

Ms. Okashiro is very much in tune with Scriabinfs aesthetic machinations. A thoughtful and imaginative pianist, she is a poetic interpreter who combines shrewd analysis with unerring instincts.  She delivers refined, authoritative performances that illuminate Scriabinfs innumerable labyrinths of enchantment and extravagance. Mind you, itfs not her efficient navigation of the keyboard that draws attention.  There are plenty of steely-fingered pianists who command superior technical facilities.  But Ms. Okashiro inhabits technique in the broadest sense.  Concept and inflection predominate; intervallic distances and relations are keenly differentiated and harvested for their expressive potential. Like a seasoned archaeologist on an important dig, she pokes and prods every compositional artifact, examining each scrap of musical evidence as if it were a clue to some grander mystery.  She's no pounder; she commands an ethereal pianissimo that she adroitly varies,  manipulates, and sustains as needed.  On the other hand,  her fortissimo  is consistently bell-like; for Scriabin, that's a real advantage. In rhythmic categories, too, Ms. Okashiro is conscientious but never dogmatic; knowing just when to discreetly push ahead here or withdraw a bit there, she pays homage to the ebb and flow of Scriabin's often asymmetrical phrase periods.  Her way with the preludes of Op. 39, while neither as brawny nor heroic as Richterfs, is no less persuasive.  She finds an elegant, non-percussive solution for the daunting chordal leaps in III, shaping the sequential figuration and respecting the subito pianos that punctuate the text, (Even Richter ignores these ).  In IV, Ms. Okashiro uses both hands to play the bellicose triplets Scriabin indicated for the left.  Though Arrau absolutely forbade redistribution on aesthetic grounds, sometimes it's unavoidable.  In this case.  It's probably an improvement, in that the work's rhythmic trajectory is clarified and excitement enhanced....esoteric preludes of Op.74 she brings a feeling of remorse and desolation, the 3 Moreaux, Op.43, are handled with delicate transparency.... Ms. Okashiro enjoys the advantage of a unified concept.  Thanks to the technology of overdubbing and her own enhancements of the score, Ms. Okashiro accompanies herself.  Where the prolongation of harmonic tension is concerned, she's in her element, indulging the work's perfumed, sonorous bouquets and buzzing trills for all they're worth.  Indeed, she convincingly delivers the epicene languor of the strings, the sexy drawl of the oboes, as well as the audacious braggadocio of the trumpets.  No complaints here- it's is an exquisite performance.... Her playing is invariably bright, while persuasive and individual.... Her inclusion of the rarely played alternate version of the famous D-sharp minor Etude is welcome.  Ms. Okashiro's  Scriabin is endearing and offers a fresh perspective.  Surfaces are clean, and the recorded sound is warm and attractive.
John Bell Young- American Records Guide-

 

Erotic Mysticism and Exaltations
Chitose Okashiro's Scriabin Survey

Pianist Chitose Okashiro's early recordings of Scriabin (particularly of the Fifth Sonata) showed impressive sympathy as well as insights into the Scriabin enigma.  She's now topped that with a remarkable new survey of Scriabin's mature piano music on a disc titled The Poem of Ecstasy (Pro Piano PPR 224519, DDD), We've not had this kind of meaningful Scriabin playing  since the old Roberto Szidon set of the complete Sonatas.  Touching her fingers on tile keyboard, Okashiro has placed a finger on the very heart of Scriabin. Her performance capture a kind of' mystical hysteria, which just occasionally turns volcanic. Okashiro's program selection, including two premiere recordings, is superb. The transcription - made by Leon Conus and edited by Okashiro - seems particularly appropriate.  After all, the basic materials for Poem of Ecstasy had their first airing in his Fifth Sonata, a piano piece.  So the materials were innately pianistic to begin with. Okashiro's duet with herself often employs a delicate Impressionistic fog during the quiet passages, then unleashes a tsunami-like torrent of sound for the big climaxes.  That's made all the more impressive by Pro Pianofs sensational vibrant sonics, recorded in Tanglewood's Seiji Ozawa Hall. As a result, all the works on this disc display a mesmeric combination of erotic yearning and inner loneliness unmatched by any other composer -except perhaps Szymanowski. Capturing all these facets and then projecting them for the listeners offers a nearly impossible challenge to the performer.  There are,  of course, many fine recordings of Scriabin's piano music by major pianists.  One admires the taut nervousness brought them by Horowitz, and the grand Russian manner in the Ashkenazy recordings.  Yet one has to admit that they - and most others - seem slightly unseasoned. Okashiro's distinguished readings vault to the top of current listings for their uncanny insight into the body and soul of Scriabin's complexity.  Time and again, everything seems to have fallen perfectly into place under Okashiro's guidance.  Her tempos are broad without suggesting sluggishness.  That gives Scriabin's oddball lyricism time to make its message clear.  And the nearly constant shifting of complex harmonies suddenly reveal the inner logic of their journey when unhurried. Perhaps it has something to do with her Japanese upbringing, but Okashiro grasps the severity of the scores as few others have.  The music is virtuoso in the extreme.  But as flashy as they often are, the works are not about bravura, Virtuosity is the material, not an end in itself.  In their way, Scriabin's music should convey a spiritual message rather than an exhibition of performer (or composer) glorification. Like a tea ceremony, the tactile beauty of what takes place in Scriabin's music needs containment of action.  One should not pound through them like latter day Liszt, as Horowitz does, not sentimentalize them, Ashkenazy's flaw.  European and American pianists seem too obsessed with reality to project seriousness of intent.  Okashiro's delicate yet impassioned performances banish that problem.  Like Brazilian Szidon's Sonata cycle, Okashiro applies exoticism with a restrained hand and cultivated understanding that reveals the serious core of Scriabin's achievement.  Even if you think you donft care for Scriabinfs music, no lover of  fine piano playing and recording should miss this release.
Heuwell Turcuit -InTune Magazine-

Okashiro herself transcribed (Mahlerfs Symphony No.1) to solo piano based on 4 hands version by Bruno Walter who was a Mahlerfs immediate pupil. It is a great work, perfectly accomplished with an extremely wonderful performance- almost uncanny- all through the CD. What a full of spirit and tension she plays introduction with on a piano, where strings are supposed to play with flageolet and double basses  with low gAh!  Using pedal abundantly, probably taking prepared piano rendering partly, her performance rages with full power toward the end trying every possible means to express thick orchestration.  How avant-garde Mahlerfs harmony and his idiom sound! She is no ordinary mortal as expected. She understands fully on orchestra and piano. Astonishing CD.                   
Kei Yosimura - Usen Music, Japan-
  
In this superb CD from the relatively unknown Japanese pianist Chitose Okashiro, I daresay I have found one of the most intelligent and stimulating piano recitals I have encountered for some time. It starts aptly with Scriabin's masterly and enigmatic 5th sonata, whose neglect is baffling. Okashiro commands a technique that at once stands out in its brilliance and individuality and she dashes off the turbulent and prickly passages in the Scriabin with real passion and verve. While this version might not quite eclipse Horowitz's legendary recording of the same work, it is nevertheless pretty stunning all the same. Any doubts about Okashiro's virtuosity and wide tonal palette are dispelled in the small but well-selected set of Debussy works. These are remarkably thoughtful and evocative performances and the performer brings to the fore a keen understanding of the imageries behind the pieces. 'Mouvement', a glittering toccata depicting the flow of water, is given a magical and exhilarating performance. It is hard to quibble with Okashiro's interpretation and one might even say that they compare favorably with Gieseking's own celebrated historic recordings, although the high quality digital sound might take away a little of the atmospheric and nostalgic aura associated with the mono recording. The final two works on the disc are modern compositions by Japanese musicians. Toru Takemitsu is a self-taught musician and his 'Rain Tree Sketch' is a quiet, pensive work embodying eclectic elements from Western and Eastern influences. This work pays homage to the beauty, order and symmetry of nature and is both eerie and mystical sounding to the ear. There are shades of Schoenberg and Webern in a meditative mood here..... a remarkable disc. With outstanding sound and playing, this disc has everything going for it. Highly recommended.
Melvin Yap- Newbiefs Guide To Classical CDs-

The playing is always distinctive and, at its best, quite extraordinary. The basic sound is glass and steel: With her usually tightly focused tone, her crystalline textures (few pianists can match the vertical clarity of her chords or the skill with which she elucidates the musicfs polyphony), and her extreme dynamic range (well captured by Pro Pianofs excellent engineering), Okashiro sears all fat from the music. Not that shefs immune to the musicfs perfume (note the gracious  touch on the Feuillet dfalbum, op.45/1); but she is most memorable in such steely works as op.37-4, which erupts with overpowering ferocity. As for her interpretations, Okashiro is an unapologetically interventionist player....they are never routine.....Poem of Ecstasy is full of illuminations- not the least of which is her tendency to highlight the musicfs premonitions of Messiaen. If you want to hear this pianistfs Scriabin, youfd better advised to start with her rhythmically vital disc of the complete Etudes (Pro Piano 224510). Once you hear it, though, youfll probably be drawn to explore this disc as well. Strongly recommended for the hardy.
Peter J. Rabinowitz- Fanfare-

Not only  her name, Chitose Okashiro, and her way of performance should one remember,  but recall also that  she is a pianist capable of taking a listenerfs breath away from the very first note she plays.  Though she is not by any stretch of the imagination an eccentric pianist, she is a forcefully authentic performer.  Miss Okashirofs way with the singing line  not only states the melody beautifully, but also with  much broader meaning offers something very indescribably delicate and individual....all in a manner  which greatly fascinates people. It is an extremely ambitious undertaking to put all of Scriabinfs Etudes into  one CD.... including all 12 Etudes of Op. 8, all 8 Etudes of Op.42 and all of the remaining studies.  By this  courageous effort, she is  showing incredibly insightful power.   I can  honestly say her creation seems nearly impossible for someone of her obvious  youthfulness.  One other happy thing about listening to this Scriabin encyclopedia is the joy of the discoveries with which she researches and deliberates beautifully in addressing the intention of the composer.  Moreover, her intuition and bright  intelligence bring forth and elevate the senses with a truly extraordinary performance.    Right now, there is no other CD which puts all the Etudes of  Scriabin in one package. This disc is invaluable in this respect.  However, surpassing such an encyclopedic value by far, I am emphatic to mention  the fact that this is a young artist of genius in the truest sense of the word,  gracefully showing her face to the world.
      Jiro Hamada  -The Art of Record, Japan-

Played with Okashirofs surprising technical acumen and tasteful use of rubato,  the end is ravishing.  Shefs so incredibly poetic, even in the terrifying fast pieces, that one canft help being bowled over. These are magnificent gifts to those, who like myself, adore Scriabin. But such playing is likely to convince even those whofve dismissed Scriabin as gThe Mad Russianh among composers. The various polyrhythms -5fs against 3fs and 4fs as early as the fourth Op.8 - get played so subtly that one hardly notices anything unusual. Okashiro even manages the gunplayableh chords spread between nearly five octaves - or about a yard wide - at Presto tempo. Unreal.  Terrific playing by Okashiro is matched by Pro Pianofs excellent 5D20-bit sonics....Highest recommendation.  

Her new collection (Pro Piano Records 224502) gives ample evidence of a major talent at work. Okashiro opens with a stunningly sensuous rendition of Scriabinfs Sonata No.5.  Impressionism suits Okashiro very well...hers is a poetic approach.  Debussy is where Okashiro makes the strongest impression....coloration levels are high...she can caress the keys.   Her Takemitsu (Rain Tree Sketch) shows flashes of fireworks and big crescendo outbursts.
   Heuwell Tircuit -InTune Magazine-

Miss Okashiro played with elegance and translucence that clarified structure and gave a sense of space and dimension... She was an appealing colorist, and brought a fiery brightness to Chopinfs Etude in C minor  (Op. 10, No. 12). In her account of Brahmsf Intermezzo (Op. 116, No. 6), she played the opening passages with a serene, hymn like quality, but raised the pressure steadily. And she did as much as one could expect with the slender Impressionism of Toru Takemitsufs gRain Tree Sketchh
   Allan Kozinn, The New York Times

 


Chitose Okashiro displays an unusually colorful and richly varied reading of these works. All-Scriabin CDs are not all that frequent, especially ones as good as this.....she is able to shade her sound in the manner of a Renoir pastel. Many pianists today take the easy way and use the pedal to make the sonic changes.  Ms. Okashiro uses her fingers, and more important, her head and her heart.
              Mark Conrad -CD Review of the Week-

The charm of her playing was her tone. Her voice was substantial, vibrant and clear, exceptionally attractive when sung by single notes in the higher registers.  There, it stood out in its pure and crystal-clear tonal beauty, especially in the 3rd movement, where a grain of sound was incredibly beautiful and sinuous.  The "Rain Tree Sketch" of Toru Takemitsu was clear and twinkling brightly, as if representing piano music as a luminous body,  made into sensory sharpness  by the performer. The four Etudes of Scriabin were equally mesmerizing. She exposed the charms of  Scriabin's peculiar colors  in glittering exposes, and stimulated the audience to a pleasant and blissful euphoria.  Especially in Op.8 No.12,  where glittering  and passionately shaped creations came forth from the efforts of her  solid technique.  Miss Okashiro's  singing line coda in the upper register was amazingly beautiful.  Such lyric capacity was fully shown in the posthumous variations of Schumann's Symphonic Etudes, and  was completed as a fantasy rather than as a mere  or typical Etude.
Genri Nakagawa -Friend of Music, Japan-

The late works (of Scriabin Etudes), with their agitation and sensuality, find in this pianist an inspired and excellent interpreter.                                                                 NP -Pianoforte-


It was a pleasant surprise, then, to come across Chitose Okashirofs recent recording of the complete etudes.  Okashiro is a pianist possessed of a broad tonal palette, perspicuous musical insight, and an easy technique, and these talents do not fail in her interpretation of the etudes.....Okashiro maintains admirable clarity of texture in the more rhythmically complex passages, and allows for considerable flexibility of tempo to highlight phrasing. Okashirofs rendering of the third etude (of Op.42) is particularly noteworthy, demonstrating remarkable technical control and dynamic nuance.....Okashiro demonstrates her sensitivity to the multifarious tonal colors of Scriabinfs writings, fully realizing subtle contrasts which, in the hands of a less capable artist, might be overlooked.
Andreas Ringstad -The Chicago Maroon-

I do not know what Chitose Okashiro plays at home to amuse herself, but it must be something most pianists would prefer to avoid. Okashiro is a keyboard artist with a huge technique and willingness to take it to the edge. She devours Scriabinfs big stretches, tricky rhythms and fast-and-flickering effects. Anyone who takes on a piano transcription of Scriabinfs seething orchestral work, gThe Poem of Ecstasy,h has to have quick, accurate, tireless fingers, plus a heavy dose of daring. Okashiro is back with more challenging music on a Pro Piano CD showcasing piano transcriptions of operatic works of Wagner. ....are enchanting in Okashirofs gorgeous tone painting. She makes the love music sound like pure moonlight and rapture. The big fireworks come in two transcriptions by Moszkowski. Moszkowski must have been a whirlwind at the keyboard - just like Okashiro, who whips up a scene of orchestral scope and texture, by turns languidly sensual and wldly orgiastic. You canft listen to this gripping performance just once. Okashiro is a virtuoso in the best sense of the term.       
                         Peter M. Knapp -The Patriot Ledger-
 
Okashirofs artistic sensibility was brightly illuminated, especially as far as tone was affected.  She seemed to play while  listening and thinking attentively to her own sound. There were twinkling and sparkling moments of beauty in the Schubert which took away the  audience's breath. As for the Takemitsu piece, it was an extremely  individualistic  performance in which  her bright and brilliant  tonal sound became even more effective. Her decision to toy with timing, placing the pace somewhere between urgent and loose, was fantastic. As for Scriabin, it was a most excellent pianistic performance....especially compelling and mesmerizing  in a rhythmic sense.  During the Schumann,  personal expression was hammered out boldly.  She created a colorful and beautiful sound,  using it properly and effectively to enter into another world...one Etude after another.  Finally and with certainty, I realized that a young and new talent was  steadily showing her excellent abilities.   This was a great pleasure to behold.    
     Tadao Aosawa - Music Today, Japan-


A wonderful performance. Her fingers wrapped around the sound gently, or when needed, emitted it cruelly,  by piling up extended moments of  sound until they were bundled into a pulsing and vibrating musical package.  I actually saw such  full, musically expressive moments.  The deep emotional amplitude was shaking, all the while accompanied with color from a sweet tone, flexibly expanding and contracting in rhythm.  As for Schumannfs "Symphonic Etudes" performed with posthumous variations, a distant voice from within a deep pool of  thematic form changed its shape, became supple,  contracted, and them made a dramatic visual and aural scene. gShe is a true musical poeth.  These words from the artistfs introductory information,  written by the president of Pro Piano Records, Ricard de La Rosa, sounded with true reality after her recital was finished  Surely, Chitose Okashiro is a solitary voiced pianist who has the  talent to speak eloquently.
     Keisuke Mitsuhashi  -Weekly on Stage, Japan-

This is the playing of a very gifted pianist, with plenty of fantasy and ardor, and the fingers necessary to bring it all to life. Okashiro plays  such pieces as Movement, Feux dfartifice and Ce qufa vu le vent dfOuest with great flair and bravura.  The idea of including contemporary Japanese piano music with the Debussy is simply inspired....a standout performance. She is able to articulate diverse melodic strands quite effectively, sculpting dramatic climaxes by means of agogics and accent rather than brute force. Moon is most interesting and an appropriate ending to a very well played recital.
    Berigan -American Record Guide-


The young Japanese pianist proves on these three discs that she has what it takes for a career.  Her strong credentials are immediately presented by the wide-ranging workout of the Scriabin Fifth Sonata, and she is equally convincing in selections from Debussyfs Images and both books of Preludes....a lot of magic is created.
    Bill Zakariasen -New York Concert Review-


Whispers of brilliance
Her strong-willed presentation made the music beam with intensity. She seemed lost in meditation at one point, thereby giving the performance a poetic touch. The young pianistfs style was most befitting of the late Toru Takemitsufs composition Rain Tree Sketch. Okashiro decorated the compositionfs every phrase with color and lyricism. Her fertile imagination and melodious approach were equally effective during a performance of Scriabinfs Four Etudes. She emphasized the mysterious melodies with her right hand while her left hand accompanied in a feminine and restrained tone, producing an extraordinary  combination. The contrast was obviously the result of a unique and polished skill. Okashiro has already created a splendid musical world, and there are high hopes for her continued artistic success.
      Koji Omura -The Daily Yomiuri, Japan-


She is a dyed-in-the-wool Scriabin player,  for she played his most prominent work by herself, Symphony No.4 gPoem of Ecstasyh.  More precisely speaking,  she played the two piano version of  Ecstasy transcribed  by a composer, Leon Conus, using an over-dub multi-track recording technique. This is a world premiere achievement, of course. Chitose Okashiro is a young, enterprising and up-and-coming pianist who is currently based in New York.  She records exclusively on Pro Piano Records (USA),  and has already released several (five) CDs.  Because of the fact that she is a so-called greimported pianisth,  her recognition in this country (Japan) is slowed.  As we can imagine from these already released CDs, it seems that her passion toward Scriabin is so exceptionally strong as to have recorded his complete Etudes on one CD.  That is an extraordinarily  stirring undertaking.  She is making steady headway with this CD (224519) which centers gPoem of Ecstasyh alongside  his excellent piece, gToward the Flameh,  his late period works, Preludes, and so on, which are covered systematically.  (It also contains an additional bonus, an alternate version of Etude Op.8 No.12.) About her performance of gPoem of Ecstasyh, ensemble goes surprisingly well. Over-dub recording is terribly difficult, contrary to its seeming easiness.  It is much  easier ensemble wise when two persons perform together, especially a piece such as this that changes tempo  constantly. There is no  sense of incongruity on this CD. Moreover, it is a highlight when she gives the enthusiastic performance at exalted climax. There is no sign of the least compromise or limit as a transcription. This does not intend to be a reproduction of the original orchestra version, but displays its charms as another original  piano version.
Hiromi Saito-The Art of Record, Japan-

....remarkable recording....Okashiro plays this nearly half-hour work with unremitting intensity and virtuosity, producing showers of prismatic notes. At the end you think, gWow!h ....played with subtlety and gorgeous tonal effect.

 ga glittering and virtuosic traversal of the complete Scriabin Etudesh
    Peter M. Knapp -Boston Patriot Ledger-

Ms. Okashiro is a cracker jack pianist whose embrace of Scriabinfs aesthetic universe is at once engaging and informed. Ms. Okashirofs performance of the miniature poems and preludes radiate brightly and affectively.....each work is beautifully adjudicated, and she manages to draw from the piano innumerable colors, as if she were painting in light oils and bold watercolor. The Poem of Ecstasy,...Playing both parts, a nifty technological feat made possible through some very good engineering and plenty of studio time, Ms. Okashiro delivers a dazzling, technicolor reading that pays tribute both to the workfs sultry intimacies and its orgiastic fervor. She evokes orchestral timbres easily, differentiating the languorous strains of its solo violin from the serpentine meanderings of the oboes, and the velvety opulence of the woodwinds from the brazen climaxes Scriabin assigns to the brass.
John Bell Young - Classical Net -

....Through the miracle of modern technology....Itfs a strangely appropriate expression of the composerfs philosophical musing. Ms. Okashiro stirs the composerfs dark and profound depths, creating a foreboding, sometimes thunderous, sometimes entropic mood ....This will surely add to her reputation as one of Scriabinfs foremost interpreters.
The Morning Journal


DISCIPLINED: Okashiro skillfully, quietly lets the music shine brightest
Chitose Okashiro opened the 1998-1999 Secrest Artists Review Series with a powerful performance in which the music, rather than the musician, was the star. Okashiro played brilliantly in a program that demanded a full spectrum of pianistic virtuosity. Whether it was the infinite subtlety of Claude Debussy's The Girl With Flaxen Hair or the knuckle-busting power of Robert Schumann's Symphonic Etudes, Okashiro delivered it all in the musical equivalent of Technicolor. The program opened with Mozart's Piano Sonata in B-flat Major, K.570. Okashiro calmly glided through the first movement, setting up the opening themes with easy grace, then working through the development of those themes giving a lilt to the melodic changes and allowing the harmonic changes their little drama. From the palpable depth of feeling Okashiro revealed in the second movement to the gentle humor of the third, Okashiro made the audience in Wake Forest's Brendle Recital Hall sit up and pay attention.
Four selections from Books I and II of Debussy's Preludes showed off Okashiro's noted  ability to limn the music with every color available from a piano. Okashiro was no less effective in exploiting the colorful side of Alexander Scriabin in a group of three etudes.  Her affinity for Scriabin's music, its formality in the midst of adventurous harmony, was acute.
The Scriabin etudes exhibited the strength of Okashiro's technique as she dealt with the music's propulsive rhythms and large left-hand jumps with the same assurance she showed in the fast and light passages for the right hand. Okashiro is not a performer given to hand flourishes or rocking from side to side, or other elements of so-called showmanship so commonly mistaken for feeling in a musician.  Rather, she was still and quietly focused on the music and the places in it where expression comes alive, even in those moments when the super-Romantic passion inherent in the Scriabin and Schumann resounded in the hall. Schumann's Symphonic Etudes filled the second half of the program.  Okashiro gave a heroic reading of this challenging set of works,....Okashiro crafted a fabulously detailed performance in which every variation was polished off with a sense of its connectedness to the whole, and also, in keeping with Schumann's variation style, with a sense of its musical individuality. Okashiro played, as an encore in appreciation of the audience's standing ovation, Scriabin's Etude Op.2 No.1 in C-sharp Minor, music seeming both a restful reward and an expression of longing.                                                        Robert Workmon-Journal Arts-Winston-Salem, NC

 

The Poem of Ecstasy is also her most ambitious recording. Scriabinfs fascination with things mystical is well documented and Okashirofs performance searches every corner to convey the ever-shifting moods of the work.
  ...beautifully performed by Chitose Okashiro     
  ...brilliant solo performances
  ...itfs more like having Franz Liszt stopping in to shower the room full of notes      Bill Price -Sunday Gazette-      
Chitose Okashiro is a visionary pianist and record producer who achieves, something noteworthy for Alexander Scriabin fans on her new Pro Piano disc.... In this form, the visionary orchestra work sounds like the cosmic dream Scriabin must have heard....therefs nothing tentative about Okashirofs performances.
The Indianapolis Star


  ...not to be missed....charming....introspective....played as   well as one could hope by Chitose Okashiro
Daniel L. Cusick -Scranton (PA) Times-
      

...Okashiro is a pianist of dazzling technique and she handles these difficult etudes with ease. 
      Matthew Balensuela -Tribune Star-

  
   ...itfs so perfect that there is no space to complain                            The Art of Records, Japan -


...Her playing is intensely controlled, intimately detailed and gripping in its impact....
  ...thrilling  performances             Robert Baxter - Courier Post -


  ...this (Wagner CD) is a must-have addition for any serious music library
Charles Lonberger - Beverly Hills Outlook -


...excitingly innovative and individualistic                                        Bob Lapham -Abilene Reporter News-

 

HOME