Nimbus NI 6190
A Japanese Journey: Songs by nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Japanese poets and composers sung in Japanese – Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano), Masahiro Saitoh (piano)
‘A Japanese Journey – Nihon no tabiji reflects the fact that over the last twenty years, I have spent many months touring Japan through all the varied seasons and have travelled to its many different areas. I have been lucky enough to glimpse the hidden Japan, away from the vast cities, and to sense the true culture and history of the land. To an outsider, it might appear that the Japanese will seldom show their real feelings but these songs must surely confirm their ability to have emotions, covering the wide range from a child’s simple wonder of a red dragonfly to the remembrance of a first love. As in the great Schubert songs, so these strophic songs hide a depth of meaning and one has to peel away each layer of the poems and music to discover their centre. An album of all-Japanese traditional songs is not an unusual thing for a Japanese artist to do in Japan but the fact that I am a “gai-jin” – a foreigner – may give them a different slant. I hope you enjoy listening to them as much as I enjoyed recording them with the help of the wonderful Masahiro Saitoh as accompanist.’
Charlotte de Rothschild
"...Rothschild has an attractive voice. In her mid-forties when these recordings were made, she may well be at the height of her powers, possessing great control over range, dynamics and above all emotion. Native reviews of this recording indicate that Rothschild’s Japanese pronunciation is very good, ditto her understanding of the Japanese psyche - to her credit, she has spent a good amount of time in Japan, touring again indeed in 2011 and 2012. Within the parameters set by the composers, Masahiro Saitoh’s piano playing is marvellously expressive, with an impressive attention to fine shadings."
Byzantion - MusicWeb-International.com - 8 August 2012