Claude Debussy: Etudes, Books I & II

"A program that is challenging, demanding bravery, skill and confidence. Does Taka Kigawa rise to the difficulty of this encounter? This was the question in my mind as I entered the Chelsea Art Museum with my friend Dan Cooper. We were impressed with the program on paper, but would this daring pianist pull it off.

The concert started off with Debussy Etudes book 1. The first movement, based on Szerny, is colorful and witty, taking Szerny out of the box, played with precision. Second movement has great chords built on 3rd's, very romantic. The 3rd movement is not as focused as the previous but vivid. In the fourth I find the harmonies to be immensely gorgeous. The extreme difficulty of the 5th movement is apparent but it is performed with what one can only describe as ease. The sixth is a perpetual motion piece in which Debussy advises the pianist not to use the thumbs. I always knew he was an anti-thumbist, though Taka showed me here, with this performance, that that is not such a bad thing.

So the answer to the above question of whether Mr. Kigawa pulled this difficult program off is: absolutely! And with an air of ease about it as well." - Gene Pritsker, New Music Connoiseur