Pierre Boulez: Incises

"Mr. Kigawa is always a poised guide through the most daunting music, as in his preternaturally unruffled evening-length survey of Pierre Boulez’s complete solo piano works." - Zachary Woolfe, The New York Times

"His warm, intimate accounts of this repertory brought the music down to earth: 'Incises' flickered..." - Zachary Woolfe, The New York Times

"Playing with suavity and nuance, Taka Kigawa took the stage at Le Poisson Rouge last August with a daunting program: all of Pierre Boulez’s works for piano solo." - Zachary Woolfe, The New York Times

"To hear all these works in a single concert — all together lasting two hours, with intermission — was truly to feel immersed. From the kaleidoscopic “12 Notations,” composed in the mid-1940s, to the eerie reverberations of “Une Page d’Éphéméride” (2005), by way of the three sonatas and “Incises” (1994), the music seemed to unravel in a single grand expanse. Mr. Kigawa emphasized the consistency of Mr. Boulez’s style across time, giving the lie to some who have commented on a more sensual, less arduous feel in the later works. The recital answered strongly: His piano music has always been sensual, and it’s never been particularly arduous to listen to." - Zachary Woolfe, The New York Times

"This dynamic pianist has been especially acclaimed for his interpretations of daunting contemporary music. He has long made the solo piano works of Pierre Boulez a specialty in performances that bring out the exhilarating energy and myriad colorings in these fiercely difficult scores. In anticipation of Mr. Boulez’s 90th birthday in March, Mr. Kigawa has been on tour playing the complete Boulez pieces for solo piano in a single recital." - Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times

"Incises stands out as something different in Boulez’ work; and, a rarity for the French musician, it doesn’t reuse material from other pieces. Incises is far from the idea of large-scale variation, it does not avoid recurring figures or the philosophy of virtuosity, and yet maintains the appearance of enchanting improvisation. Its interpretation requires, as Boulez said in a conversation with Andras Varga, “hands of iron in velvet gloves,” and that’s exactly like the formidable Taka Kigawa performed it: with extreme precision and smoothness."Federico Monjeau, Clarín

"It often seemed as if the ghosts of Debussy and Ravel hovered over his piano. In bringing out the dreamlike qualities of Mr. Boulez’s 'Incises (1994), he let the music’s smudges, swirls and faltering rhythms melt into the fleeting hint of a Debussian haze."Allan Kozinn, The New York Times

"He included as well Mr. Boulez's much more recent and simpler 'Incises,' brilliantly done." - Paul Griffiths, The New York Times

"The program began with Incises, written in 1994 but revised in 2001. The piece began with an improvisatory subdued passage. Laying the groundwork for the rest of the concert, Kigawa meticulously navigated juxtapositions of extremes in pitch, dynamics, textures, and tempo. Midway through the piece he erupted in violent virtuoso cadenzas and repeated notes which dissolved into a dreamy landscape."Amanda Angel, New York Classical Review

"Kigawa is not one to lock himself into one or two styles. We've heard him perform Debussy with all the nuance of the Frenchman's obsession with art that is antipathetic to the German approach. The oddly entitled Incises, is 'cut' out of mists and watery matter, le ruisseau of French valley, not the German Bach. Boulez, using the same title, has invoked his own contemporary sensibility. Still the two works of Boulez (Incises, Douze Notations) and the one by Murail (Mandragore) are descendants of Debussy's in their insistence on mysterious elements, though the two personalities are markedly different, Murail being more consistently playful in his musical notions than the often sterner Boulez. Kigawa seems to know them both intimately." - Barry L. Cohen, New Music Connoisseur

"The powerhouse pianist Taka Kigawa, who was on hand to play all of Pierre Boulez’s piano music—three Sonatas, the Notations and a few smaller works, 90-minutes of densely abstract music, all told—in one sitting, with no intermission, and from memory." - Allan Kozinn, The Wall Street Journal

"Mr. Kigawa’s sharp-edged, exquisitely transparent rendering of the Boulez canon (which won whistles and shouts) was offered." - Allan Kozinn, The Wall Street Journal