Ryō Terakado studied violin, chamber music and conducting at the Toho Gakuen School of Music; after graduating he was invited to become concertmaster of the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra and maintained this post for two years. His well-known interest in Baroque music began at an early stage.
When still in his teens he began to play the Baroque violin, before studying at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague with Sigiswald Kuijken and in 1987 founding the Tokyo Baroque Trio. Terakado works with several other period-instrument ensembles and is currently concertmaster of La Petite Bande (founded in 1972 by Kuijken) and Bach Collegium Japan. Like Kuijken he plays a violoncello da spalla (‘shoulder viol’) and has recorded the Bach Cello Suites on it.
His recordings are exclusively of Baroque and Classical repertoire, with his forays into the latter period being more successful than those of many other early-music specialists. In 1997 he recorded a measured and sensitive Hummel Op. 96 Piano Trio and a curious set of Mozart sonatas arranged for violin and harp (presented with sonatas by Petrini for harp with violin obbligato). These Mozart arrangements may strike the modern listener as odd, but they are musically quite rewarding; indeed, Louis Spohr’s famous tours with his wife showed that this duo combination could be very successful.
Terakado’s sound seems to favour slow movements (hence, perhaps, the success of the soft- edged violin and harp arrangements), as can be heard in the Bach, Benda and Corelli works selected (recorded in 2000, 2008 and 2009 respectively). In faster movements, especially dances, his tone remains sustained and insuffi ciently vibrant. His instrument itself sounds oddly ‘boxy’, with a lack of sparkle and resonance, especially in higher registers. On the plus side, Terakado does avoid the ‘knee- jerk’ shortness of stroke which has become a ubiquitous (unsubstantiated) period-performance mannerism.
© Naxos Rights International Ltd. — David Milsom (A–Z of String Players, Naxos 8.558081-84)