Akiko Okamoto in Concert at St Andrew's and St George's West, George Street is a two concert series over only two performance days, so by the time you read this review, one will have gone, but there still might be time for the other one.
Japanese born Akiko Okamoto has been impressing audiences with her solo piano performances at an international level for some time, so it is was good to be able to take the opportunity to catch one of those performances at this year’s Fringe.
Today’s recital Akiko Okamoto in Concert 1 featured some of my favourite music and with a carefully chosen selection, even people who think they know no classical music will probably recognise at least some of the music.
In the first of two concerts, Akiko Okamoto plays Pletnev’s arrangement of “Concert Suite from The Nutcracker” (published 1978), a very personal choice rather than the more familiar Tchaikovsky original, along with a Beethoven Sonata and Chopin Etudes. With obvious technical skills and a genuine passion for the music she is playing, Akiko Okamoto let us all hear just how wonderful the music of Chopin, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky truly is.
For some reason, the often perceived public opinion of Chopin and Beethoven is one of dark and sombre music, but here Akiko gives us music full of different shades, tones and emotions proving as always that with the right performer there is a wonderful world of contrasting lightness and darkness to their music.
One of my reasons for choosing today’s concert was the variety of music being played (tomorrow’s concert 2 is all Chopin), and in particular The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky. I had not heard Pletnev’s “Concert Suite” arrangement before, so that was a nice surprise, and the final piece “andante maestoso” still retained everything that makes the original one of my favourite pieces of music ever.
Akiko Okamoto in Concert 1
St Andrew's and St George's West, George St
Group: Akiko Okamoto
Review by Tom King