February 10: Home Recital in Yufuin
by Mie
We will have a concert on February 12 in Oita city. Among the artists of the concert is Mr. Fumiaki Kouno, the Music Director of Music Festival (YMF.) He stays tonight with his wife at the elegant house of Mr. Masakuni Kato (General Secretariat of YMF.) Mr. Kouno will play a cello this evening and some close staff of YMF are invited to the home recital.
Mr. Kato, an architecture as well, designed his own home on the foot of Mt. Yufu. There is a wonderful fireplace in the living room. Firewood is burning warmly in it.

I brought in ingredients to prepare a canape and sliced a pod-cake ( I baked it in home) for the party. The kitchen was designed in Germany style, sink and red cabinets were imported from German. Mr. Kate (left), Ms. Nooks Ono (center) who first introduced me to join the YMF staff, and me, are waiting for the performance.

Mr. Kouno tunes the cello. After a while, he asked Mr. Kato "Is this the right place to play?"
Mr. Kato suggested him the best acoustics position: the entrance of the kitchen. Mr. Count tried a tone and agreed. Now, "the kitchen-front stage" is ready on the background of an electric range, kitchen mop stands, cooking pans, and the sink.
My husband Ken relaxes at the warm fireplace. He looks he love the fireplace very much.
Mr. Kouno played "Unaccompanied concerto" by Bach. The sound is very tranquilizing and heart-warming. I sat just in front of him and could hear the flapping of his left-hand fingers dancing on the strings. I was very moved. The cello, made in 1830's in Vigor, France, was handed down to Mr. Kouno from the late Mr. Toshio Kuronuma, the former music director of YMF.
Mr. Kouno challenges to reproduce the sound in Bach days as closely as possible.
A musical instrument called Cello was invented, Mr. Kouno lectures, in the end of 16th century, Since then the design had been changed according to the time and music and became the present shape. In early days, Cello was put between the knees of a player, but later a "stand" was introduced to support the instrument. Various improvements have been made on the stand as well. Today, Mr. Kouno uses a tungsten steel stand that can directly carry the vibration of the cello to the floor. The material of the string is of Baroque-type, he showed us another bowstring saying "The shape is quite different from today's one as you see here." I touched an actual bow used by a musician for the first time. On the left is Mrs. Count, a pianist, and on the right is Mr. Kouno.

After the wonderful performance, we enjoyed chatting over wine and coffee. Many bottles of wine brought-in by the guests were popped open in a pleasant atmosphere.
Kunpei Mizoguchi, Misako Fuchino.Night goes on. It's time to say good-bye. Let's take a picture. Try to click the picture for easier view. (Front row) From the left: Kato (wearing a red sweater), Sato, Kunpei Mizoguchi, Misako Fuchino, Mrs. Kouno. (Back row) From the left: Naoko Ono, Mie, Makiko Kato, Kinoshita, and Keita Fuchino. My husband Ken took the picture.
The darkness of night settled over the town of Yufuin. In the crispy cold air, I felt the music lingering on in my mind after the performance was over. Thank you very much to all who designed a wonderful evening.

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