Point and Line: Etudes by Debussy & Hosokawa | ECM New Series 4814738

Point and Line: Etudes by Debussy & Hosokawa


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Label: ECM New Series

Cat No: 4814738

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Instrumental

Release Date: 27th January 2017



Born in Osaka, educated at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris, Momo Kodama is well-placed to approach music from both Eastern and Western vantage points, as she does in this album which interweaves etudes by Claude Debussy (1862-1918) and Toshio Hosokawa (born 1955).

Both composers have similarly been border-crossers. Debussy, pointing to music of the future, looked to the Orient for inspiration. Hosokawa has combined aspects of Japanese and European tradition in his contemporary compositions.

“In the music of Toshio Hosokawa I find elements close to Debussy: the freedom of form and tone colour, the sense of poetic design, with a wide range of lyricism and dynamics, between meditation and virtuoso development, between light and shade, between large gestures and minimalist refinement.” - Momo Kodama

‘Point and Line’ is the pianist’s second ECM album and follows the widely-praised ‘La vallée des cloches’, with music of Ravel, Takemitsu and Messiaen, of which American Record Guide noted: “Kodama’s impeccable technique and facility for crystalline sounds makes for a mesmerizing program.”


The album is called Point and Line after one of the Hosokawa studies, but that name also hints at the cool definition of Kodama’s playing. Her touch is immaculate and diligent, neatly flamboyant in the Debussy and reassuringly robust in the Hosokawa. She writes that both composers are “between meditation and virtuoso development, between light and shade, between large gestures and minimalist refinement” – and it’s those places in between that make her interpretations interesting.  Kate Molleson
The Guardian 2 February 2017
Forget other recordings of Debussy’s Etudes. Not that this is better than Gieseking, Pollini, Uchida, Bavouzet and the rest - it’s merely that such comparisons are redundant. Instead of starting at page one of Etude one and ending with the rousing conclusion of ‘Pour les accords’, Momo Kodama justaposes these masterpieces with Toshio Hosokawa’s six Etudes from nearly a century later, not as a filler, but the mortar between a reordering of Debussy’s pieces. The result is a fascinating meta-work that creates myriad associations, resonances and new perspectives, not just between the two composers, but also within Debussy’s cycle from hearing the pieces out of the expected order.  Christopher Dingle (Instrumental Choice)
BBC Music Magazine June 2017

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