When you go to the Delaware Symphony, they do not list the extra musicians they hire for a performance. Last Saturday, I was delighted to see pianist Hiroko Yamazaki ready to play for the Kurt Weill Little Threepenny Music (Suite from the Threepenny Opera) – in other words, the jazzy suite which includes songs like Mac the Knife.
Most of the instruments had been cleared from the stage and Ms. Yamazaki ripped off ragtime/honkytonk sounds that blended seamlessly with the trombone, banjo, guitar and accordion. For a moment, it seemed we were in pre-war Berlin with Sally Bowles in a Kneipe enjoying a St. Pauli Girl in dim light.
But in the next piece, the pianist turned into an expert vibrationist, playing single sustained notes and holding the pedal so the plaintive string sounds in the Symphony of sorrowful songs by Henrik Mikolaj Gorecki could seek their reflected harmonics from the soundboard of the piano – a mysteriously rousing effect.
Whernever Ms. Yamazaki is playing – be it accompanying Twinkle twinkle, little star in a beginner’s Suzuki instrumental recital or zipping into a Rachmaninov Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini, she puts her heart into it.
She is a hero, not just a sub.