AMN Reviews: Akira Kosemura – Manon (Schole)

An absolutely triumphant performance score based on Abbé Prévost´s early eighteenth-century “Manon Lescaut”, a tragic love story directed by Belgian-Japanese choreographer Kimiho Hulbert and performed by her own Unit Kimiho company, in affiliation with the New National Theatre Ballet of Tokyo.

Combining the elegiac and aborbing solo piano of Akira Kosemura with his compositions for additional acoustic instruments, “Manon” evokes New York-style minimalism (that marimba), easy-listening, French postcard romantics, citrus bursts of Copacabana rhythms, strings that sweep and strings that solo soaringly, and some gently “out” electronics. “Manon” flutters like russet leaves on a gust of autumn air, up against a blue, blue sky.

The lengthy, double-disc set is sturdily packaged in typical Schole style and even without the dancers makes for affecting listening. But you can also catch a glimpse of the visual here:

Kosemura is rapidly gaining broader recognition in the eastern hemisphere, from Australia to China with his recordings, commercial brand collaborations and tours, and will surely become a celebrated artist in the West if talent and effort really are what count.

Stephen Fruitman