07/11/2015 – review to the CD “Waltzes”

12. August 2018

Tender emotions in the three-four time rhythm 

With this waltz recording the composer Kerim König and pianist Mayuko Miyata are giving an entertaining listening experience with a lot of feeling in quiet tones.

Kerim König living in Berlin has made a name for himself as a composer for the TV series “Soko Wismar” and also published some albums with classical music. His partner in the latest project is Mayuko Miyata, a Berlin-based Japanese pianist who has intensively studied the works of Chopin. This fact came as a delight as Kerim König had great passion for Waltzes and the Polish composer. The album is published by the label ‘Hey! Classics’.

When Kerim König attended a concert of Mayuko Miyata in Berlin, he was reminded of a waltz he once composed but had forgotten about. This formed the cornerstone for the nine waltzes König has composed for this CD. Unfortunately, this is the only information we can gather from the simple style booklet. Sadly missed are at least brief thoughts and backgrounds on the individual works. Apart from ‘Waltz No. 4’ ,which carries the addition of ‘Hommage à Chopin’, all titles are simply numbered through from ‘Waltz No.1’ to ‘Waltz No. 9 ‘.

Nevertheless, it’s the music that really counts and with this CD the listener, depending on the expectations, is offered a lot, even if the overall length of the CD is only 30 minutes. (By the way the longest piece with 4:17 minutes is Waltz No. 4) When listening to the 9 pieces, there are many moments that sound suspiciously like film music. This reveals where the composer feels “home” . But that is not necessarily bad because König’s great talent is to musically capture moods and bring them to sound. Chopin can be heard in the waltzes with their singing melody and expressive harmonies, added with some elements of jazz or even latino, as in ‘Waltz No. 5’.

Kerim König has made a wonderful choice to meet up with Chopin interpreter Miyata. Her intensive and sensitive performance expresses deep empathy for the essence of the music. The pianist demonstrates a very good feeling for melodic lines and phrasing which is already very apparent in the entrance waltz. In ‘Waltz No. 3’ she succeeds in building a big internal tension; however in the sixth waltz she is convincing with coherent tempo changes. Miyata’s solid finger technique and her highly expressive playing completely fill the sound space that make any additional musical accompaniment unnecessary. Her finely tuned dynamics work perfect with most of the waltzes and there is only a little desire for more dynamic differences between the pieces. ‘Waltzes’ may not exactly be innovative, but very well done. The works are profound, sensitive, emotional and overall expressively catchy – even or especially because they are not trying to break any conventions. With Miyata’s expressive performance, each Waltz tells an individual story with much space for associations to the listener.

Interpretation: 100%
Sound quality: 100%
Repertoire value: 50%
Booklet: 25%