Faculty Piano Recital: Notes of Emotion

Spirited melodies rang through Cochran Chapel last Friday as Mana Tokuno, Adjunct Instructor in Music, performed pieces in tribute to Viennese composers and her students. Prize winning and critically acclaimed pianist, Mana Tokuno, presented works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms and Franz Schubert. “I am trying to convey the story and the characters in the music, and the different atmospheres make my performance and emotional status a little different from usual,” said Tokuno. She opened the recital with a joyful, airy, light melody, Mozart’s “Sonata No. 7 in C Major.” While she accentuated the fortes and the upbeat rhythm, Tokuno surprised all when she moved to a slower, tranquil melody. “The second part had a very soft and calming effect. It had an emotional aspect and was very relaxing,” said Olivia Lord ’13. Similar to the Mozart sonata, Tokuno’s second piece, “Sonata No. 5 in C Minor” by Beethoven, highlighted dramatic notes and peaceful tones. Tokuno effortlessly moved between strong and melancholy as her fingers danced across the keys, creating a host of different emotions and ending the piece with an exciting finale. Following a brief intermission, Tokuno resumed with “Two Rhapsodies” by Johannes Brahms. The piece began powerfully, with a hint of agitation. As Tokuno continued, the piece became calmer, relaxing the audience, but later returned to its forceful dramatic tone. Moving her fingers across the keys, Tokuno created a deep yet floating melody in Schubert’s “Four Impromptus,” with occasional light and happy tones. As she transitioned into the second impromptu, Tokuno began playing increasingly harmonious, mellow music that silenced the audience. The music ended with a series of falling notes that sounded like a waterfall. As Tokuno rose from the piano and bowed, the audience erupted in fierce applause. “When she plays, I can hear and see the emotion. It’s beautiful,” said Viriginia Fu ’13, one of Tokuno’s studnets. Surprisingly, after Tokuno left the stage, she returned once more to the piano for an encore. Tokuno said to the audience that she had accidentally excluded another famous Viennese composer, Joseph Haydn. For the encore, Tokuno performed Haydn’s “Second Sonata in D Flat Major,” a smooth piece that lightly echoed the compositions earlier in the recital. After the conclusion of her concert, Tokuno remained backstage as faculty members, friends and students lined up to shower her with praise and gifts. David Ding ’12 said, “I had the constant feeling of being surprised, because she really brings out the surprising elements.” The emotions and harmonies expressed in Tokuno’s performance not only affected the audience, but clearly affected Tukono as well. “I fall in love with the pieces I am playing a lot more, and I also discover something new in the music,” she said. The recital allowed students to connect to her music. Christopher Walter, Instructor in Music, said, “The pieces are all quite common in the student repertoire, so there was nothing on the program that was rarified. They were all pieces that students hopefully had some connection to.” “I hope students appreciate her mastery of bringing so many colors to the instrument and shaping music so beautifully and really getting to the heart of what music is all about,” he added.