November 18, 2017

Franz Schubert and Tomoko

Franz Schubert holds a special place in Tomoko’s musical heart. She performed his piano quintet opus 114 in A major, “Die Forelle/The Trout”, in Los Angeles, two months before her daughter’s birth. And she played it at her January 2017 concert. Schubert was also the first composer she played in the United States as a duet.

Even earlier, Tomoko remembers attending a concert of the famous Bohemian pianist Rudolph Serkin, who was touring Japan in the 1950s. Tomoko bought a ticket in the cheapest seating section. Listening to him play Schubert's Fantasy for Piano Opus 15, Tomoko found herself crying nonstop for the first time at a concert; she felt, "This is what an artist is supposed to do." She thought that his performance was perfect, not just a technical feat. "It was the most gorgeous feeling in the world," she remembered. She also remarked, "My tear was like a diamond: a symbol of the most valuable and authentic emotion."

The emotion Tomoko felt is not surprising since Schubert was one of the first Romantics. Tomoko noted his spontaneity: “For him, beauty came first.” She also noted: “Schubert never had a theory lesson. For him music was freedom.”

Schubert was also a singer. Tomoko knows that Franz Schubert was recognized for his vocal talent as a youth, and caught the attention of Salieri, who became his most influential teacher. Schubert’s singing sensitivity led to his composing songs specifically for the voice of a young soprano he met. 

In the final analysis, Tomoko says: “I like Schubert. He is peaceful, and his quality of tone is memorable.”