Wigmore Hall, London
Sara Kobayashi’s recent concert at London’s Wigmore Hall hinted at a promising afternoon of entertainment. But while the diva’s piano accompaniment was flawless throughout, the vocal offerings proved to be a curious and sometimes disappointing selection.
The first act saw Koyabashi offering a number of songs from a range of European languages. The singer’s linguistic skills are not in question however the ability to translate cadence and rhythm across tongues is a craft in itself. As Koyabashi came to sing an English number, the jarring delivery was an unwelcome distraction from her otherwise gorgeous voice.
Sung in Koyabashi’s native Japanese the second act was much more of the expected treat, albeit with the opening number Ki I Te (literally, “Listen”) proving lyrically to be little more than that, the titular phrase being repeated incessantly - and eccentrically.
The gig’s saving grace rested with the exquisite piano accompaniment from Ayaka Niwano, three pieces in particular proving sensational: Takemitsu’s Small Sky, Roger Quilter’s Love’s Philosophy and Green by Claude Debussy.