Voces Boreales

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Price: $13.98


Audio Samples: 
Sungods - Brian Current (938.77 kb)
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Hiroshima Mon Amour: 2. Elle, from - Robert Lemay (938.77 kb)
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Call Number: CD 1587
Ensemble/Performer: Yoko Hirota
Media Type: CD
Year of Release: 2013
Record Label: Centrediscs / Centredisques

Yoko Hirota, Piano

Voces Boreales (Northern Voices) signifies two ideas: Northern Ontario, Yoko Hirota’s residence for the last twelve years, and Canada as a whole, which is seen as the Northern country to many Europeans. Having performed contemporary music in Canada and abroad for almost two decades, Hirota has had the privilege of meeting composers whose aesthetics and musical universes are helping to shape Canada’s musical identity. ‘Voces Boreales’ features solo piano works by five such distinguished Canadian composers – Brian Cherney, Brian Current, Robert Lemay, François Morel, and Laurie Radford. Two of these works, Trinôme by François Morel and Nachtstücke by Brian Cherney, were written for Hirota, and were premiered during her Small is Beautiful 2011/2012 solo recital tour at my Discovery Series (University of Calgary) and New Music Concerts (Toronto) recitals, respectively.

Having been praised by the press as “precise and keenly projective” and demonstrating “the highest level of proficiency,” Japanese-Canadian pianist Yoko Hirota is considered one of the leading interpreters of contemporary piano repertory of her generation.

Ms. Hirota is a strong advocate of contemporary music, in particular music by Canadian composers. Her first CD, “The Piano Music of Arnold Schoenberg with 17 Fragments,” was released to critical acclaim and was listed as one of Essential Tracks by The Globe and Mail. Her latest CD “Small is Beautiful: Miniature Piano Pieces”, made possible through funding from the Canada Council for the Arts and Ontario Arts Council, was released in 2009.


1. Sun Gods 7:20
Brian Current
2 - 5. Hiroshima Mon Amour 9:22
Robert Lemay
6. Roiling 12:53
Laurie Radford
7 - 17. Nachtstücke 16:36
Brian Cherney
18. Trinômes - I. Asagao 7:26
François Morel

Voces Boreales
Yoko Hirota

"Voces Boreales is a stunning achievement by one of Canada’s leading specialists in contemporary music. Hirota’s performances are nothing short of spectacular. I found all five works extremely compelling and believe they will become important contributions to the piano literature. The sonics and balance of the recording are both first rate. Finally, the booklet is excellent, with good biographies of the pianist and composers and program notes for all of the pieces in both English and French." - Edward Jurkowski, CAML Review

"In describing the abstract art that inspired his solo piano piece, Asagao, François Morel remarks on its “lack of nostalgia for a figurative model,” and the phrase suits both Morel’s sonorous music and the timbral sensitivity with which pianist Yoko Hirota approaches it. Some of the works on this disc are at least obliquely representative, however, from Brian Current’s virtuosic Sungods to Brian Cherney’s Nachtstücke, where one suspects a subtle nostalgia for the intimate salon concert. We marvel at Hirota’s dazzling precision in Sungods, but something less prismatic in Nachtstücke would not go amiss: fewer facets, more curves." - Elissa Poole, The Globe and Mail

"Voces Boreales is a record of which the entire creative team, and all of us music-lovers in this northern country, can be justly proud. [...] Ms. Hirota is a specialist in contemporary repertoire, and her dedication to this field is clear in the thoroughly contemporary sensibility she brings to her interpretations. Sensitive and searching sonic exploration of the instrument takes the place of post-Romantic expressivity -- Ms. Hirota and her chosen composers are perfectly in step in this regard. [...] This record is a joy to listen to from beginning to end. Highly recommended." - Nic Gotham, The WholeNote

"I admire the sensitivity of Ms. Hirota’s touch, and the sinuosity of her flow. [...] Yoko Hirota is an inquisitive artist, with a flair for the eccentric, the quirky, the playful. I liked having a second go-round with her work on these pieces." - Stanley Fefferman, Opus One Review

"Hirota has a taste for the dazzlingly abstract and punishingly virtuosic. As an example, Brian Current's entry on the CD, Sungods, begins with glittering and sparkling runs, as though precious stone were being crushed into dust and cast it into the wind. It has a fantastic sense of progression into successively bigger ideas, with a majestic destination. [...] Ultimately, the strength of these very fine pieces, and Yoko Hirota’s playing, make this an excellent record." Jason Caron, Notations

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