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The Sounding Board by R J Lannan
RJ Lannan is the reviewer for The Sounding Board.
Other reviews from The Sounding Board by R J Lannan:
  Impressions by Marika Takeuchi, reviewed by RJ Lannan on 4/11/2014
  Notes from a Journey by Kristin Amarie, reviewed by RJ Lannan on 4/11/2014
  Nocturnes by Kevin Keller, reviewed by RJ Lannan on 4/11/2014
<<-later reviews | earlier reviews->>   <<- all reviews ->>
By Marika Takeuchi
Label: MRG Recordings
Released 9/10/2013
Impressions tracks
1. Spring Awakening  
2. Horizons  
3. Sparkle  
4. Milky Way  
5. Cliff  
6. Morning Mist  
7. Reunion  
8. Far Away  
9. Daybreak  
10. Peace  
Music in Motion
I am completely enthralled with the music of Marika Takeuchi. This young composer takes the sound of movement, the vestiges of daily life, and the dreams of the future and translates them into vibrant melodies. Her ten-track album, Impressions, is a soundtrack for everyone. Her music has a definite cinematic feel and that is a good thing. Instrumental composer are tasked with projecting the feeling of the action in sometimes an understated fashion and at other times, with a direct approach. Takeuchi does both of the assignments very well. The album features other talented musician including Sofia Gonzalez Pikul on flute, Nick Quattrocchi on clarinet, Yuki Nakajima and Helen Kim on violins, Samantha A. Gillogly on viola and Sassan Haghighi on cello. They make quite a capable ensemble.

Marika is a multi-instrumentalist that began her career early in her native Japan. She was heavily influenced by not only classical music, but also filmscores. She studied film scoring at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. To me her music is all her own, but I would compare it to Eric Harry or even Helen Jane Long. Not a bad group with which to be associated.

As I write, it is a cold, wintry day so when the bright strains of the opening track, Spring Awakening, plays, I am encouraged. The piano makes exciting movement as new growth as the flute and clarinet form the spring sunlight. Like the fleeting warmth of a spring day, it is a short track, but one that makes you appreciate all there is to come when the days get longer and the first bloom arrives.

Cliff starts out sounding like a storybook fantasy and then I realized that there are many kinds of cliffs. Perhaps this one is not the edge of a great precipice where, if you step out might cause great danger, but the idea of choice in life. Should you take that first step and what will happen if you do?

Best of all I liked the track called Reunion. This is a real story song with a beginning, a middle, and a happy ending. The beginning is a slow awakening, a realization of the approaching occasion. Next, the music swells with the sound of recognition, of the stirrings of deep memories in a hopeful soul. That is the middle. Then we have the conclusion when the meeting is like an explosion of joy. Fade to the end.

I did an experiment with the song, Morning Mist. I waited until after a rainy night, and sure enough, the next day as I played the piece I saw the fog rising out of the hollows, the clouds drifting in a pale sky, and when the sun came up over Thunderhead Mountain, I could feel the planet come alive with warmth and light. Marika's music turned it into a magical event.

Marika Takeuchi's music can fit into many genres, but I am going to file her under wonderful music. Her piano playing is dynamic, yet soothing. In addition, I give her very high marks in composing music that draws you in like a great story and fills you up with lots of colorful details. Her music is so enchanting that either I want to know what happens next or better still, I want to be part of the adventure.
Rating: Very Good   Very Good
- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 4/11/2014
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