Author Topic: Yikes! Yoshimatsu!  (Read 6990 times)

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gomro

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Yikes! Yoshimatsu!
« on: May 12, 2007, 01:39:45 PM »
Takashi Yoshimatsu's music was coming pretty regularly out of Chandos for about 5 or 6 years, then poof! Anyone know if he still has the "Composer In Residence" position there, or what he's been working on recently? The most recent reviews I've found online were for the premiere of the 5th Symphony in January 2002

http://www.andante.com/article/article.cfm?id=15523&highlight=1&highlightterms=&lstKeywords==

A good description of his style would be, maybe, "The Japanese Hovhaness". Now let us hope Yoshimatsu doesn't track me down over that, or worse, Hovhaness rise from the grave to haunt me. But that's the dangers one incurs with modern music. Sheesh!  ;)
« Last Edit: May 12, 2007, 01:44:45 PM by gomro »

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Re: Yikes! Yoshimatsu!
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2007, 03:04:13 PM »
Symphony 1 and 2 are my favourites. Hovhaness is an appropriate comparison.  Very enjoyable music which critics tend to disparage.
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Offline sound67

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Re: Yikes! Yoshimatsu!
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2007, 11:46:11 PM »
The association with Hovhaness is correct in that ANY work by Yoshimatsu tends to sound like every other of his works. ;)

Stylistically, there is a world of a difference. Rather, Yoshimatsu is a "poly-stylistic" composer, kind of an Alfred Schnittke but with many more pop references, and a sense of humor.

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Re: Yikes! Yoshimatsu!
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2009, 03:17:00 PM »
Have been listening to more Yoshimatsu. The Chandos CD with the Piano Concerto on makes very nice 'late night' listening. His music is not taken very seriously by the critics but there is much beauty in it. The slow movement of Symphony No 2 and the first movement of Symphony No 1 are good introductions.
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gomro

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Re: Yikes! Yoshimatsu!
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2009, 06:43:47 PM »
Have been listening to more Yoshimatsu. The Chandos CD with the Piano Concerto on makes very nice 'late night' listening. His music is not taken very seriously by the critics but there is much beauty in it. The slow movement of Symphony No 2 and the first movement of Symphony No 1 are good introductions.

Chandos has released nothing new by him for about a year or more now, but the Camerata disc with Stellar Dream Dances and two other works is very fine; chamber music for native Japanese instruments, but very much in Yoshimatsu's own style.

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Re: Yikes! Yoshimatsu!
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2009, 04:19:27 AM »
Chandos has released nothing new by him for about a year or more now, but the Camerata disc with Stellar Dream Dances and two other works is very fine; chamber music for native Japanese instruments, but very much in Yoshimatsu's own style.

Thanks gomro,

I'll look out for that.
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Re: Yikes! Yoshimatsu!
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2011, 06:42:13 PM »
I've just discovered this composer for myself and I have to say that I'm enthralled with what I heard so far. I don't know about the Hovhaness comparison, but I think Yoshimatsu is his own man and his music, if anything, is extremely diverse in it's stylistic range. The Schnittke comparison might be apt, but honestly I think Schnittke had less optimism in his music. ;)

As for the critics, let them run their mouths. After all, it's what they're good at doing. I could careless what they say about this composer or any composer. Music is subjective from person to person. What affects me won't necessarily affect someone else. I'll just leave it at that.

Anyway, tonight I bought the entire Chandos series. Can't wait to hear these.
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Re: Yikes! Yoshimatsu!
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2011, 07:09:09 PM »
Allow me to re-introduce Yoshimatsu for everyone not familiar with his music:



Takashi Yoshimatsu is one of the most prolific and popular of contemporary Japanese composers. Born in 1953 in Tokyo, his earliest inspiration to pursue music came as he watched his younger sister practicing the piano at home. He entered Keio University as an engineering student, but turned to music, teaching himself composition and studying with Teizo Matsumara. Yoshimatsu was exposed to a multitude of musical idioms growing up in Japan, and performed with jazz and rock bands in his 20s before turning to serious concert music. As a composer of concert music, Yoshimatsu's preference is for "new lyricism," and an avoidance of the unmusical characteristics (and, especially, the atonalism) of much modern concert music. His career as a composer began in the late '70s; in 1980, he won the Japan Symphony Foundation Prize for his Dorian for Orchestra. His work has utilized Japanese instruments such as the koto in a chamber music context, but has also embraced such traditional European forms as the symphony and the piano concerto. Yoshimatsu draws from a vast range of musical influences, including rock and jazz; his cultural influences include his native Japan -- his Symphony No. 1 "Kamui-Chikap" takes its name from the Ainu word for "God Bird;" and his Concerto for guitar "Pegasus Effect" takes part of its name from Japanese mythology, though it also owes a musical debt to American jazz and rock. It also extends to elements of European classical music and traditional African music, as displayed in his Symphony No. 2. A significant part of his output, which consisted of more than 60 works by the mid-'90s, is very personal in inspiration, including Ode to Birds and Rainbow, written in memory of his younger sister (who died in 1994), and Threnody to Toki, inspired by Yoshimatsu's feelings of loss on the death of the last toki -- a rare species of bird -- on Japan's main island. The latter is one of his most popular works and utilizes a piano, two groups of strings, and a bass all physically arranged (with the conductor at the head) to represent the shape of a bird. He has received commissions from the Japan Symphony Foundation, and in the 1990s, Chandos Records undertook the recording of Yoshimatsu's work, in conjunction with the BBC Philharmonic under Sachio Fujioka and by the Manchester Camerata.

Article taken from All Music Guide
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Offline lescamil

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Re: Yikes! Yoshimatsu!
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2011, 07:50:57 PM »
Be sure to track down the various instrumental concerts Yoshimatsu wrote. If you ask me, this is where I think he shines, with his symphonies being a strong suit as well. Listen to the saxophone concerto. It's a riot! By the way, I completely disagree with the Hovhaness comparison. Hovhaness was a bit of a one trick pony in some respects, but Yoshimatsu is really one of the more varied composers out there. An optimistic Schnittke is perhaps a better comparison.
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Re: Yikes! Yoshimatsu!
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2011, 07:53:16 PM »
Be sure to track down the various instrumental concerts Yoshimatsu wrote. If you ask me, this is where I think he shines, with his symphonies being a strong suit as well. Listen to the saxophone concerto. It's a riot! By the way, I completely disagree with the Hovhaness comparison. Hovhaness was a bit of a one trick pony in some respects, but Yoshimatsu is really one of the more varied composers out there. An optimistic Schnittke is perhaps a better comparison.

Most, not all, of the Chandos recordings I bought tonight (I bought the whole series) has a concerto on it. A cheerful Schnittke? That sounds pretty cool. 8) But from what I've heard, his music has a lyricism to it that Schnittke lacks.
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Re: Yikes! Yoshimatsu!
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2011, 09:31:12 PM »
Yeah, that lyricism is the real kicker. He is really not afraid to dig deep into pop culture references. To me, it has a very Japanese sound to it, at least to my ears, when he does this. I can imagine sort of the cosmopolitan city life of busy Tokyo when I hear it. Of course, with some works, you get the exact opposite of this (like in his first symphony), but I think the saxophone concerto and his Atom Hearts Club suites, among other works, really have that sound. Sometimes it can border on the kitschy, but I think it works in the end.
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Offline Guido

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Re: Yikes! Yoshimatsu!
« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2011, 01:55:49 AM »
I'm also a fan - post modernism at its most playful and always bordering on the kitsch - I like it a lot! He's a consummate craftsman - his orchestration and ear for colour is particularly strong I think. The cello concerto and "the age of birds" are both great.
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Re: Yikes! Yoshimatsu!
« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2011, 07:49:07 AM »
Good to hear from some admirers of his Yoshimatsu's music. Has anyone heard the recordings on the Camerata label? I bought all of the Chandos recordings, but the Camerata recordings are pretty expensive.

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Re: Yikes! Yoshimatsu!
« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2011, 07:16:26 PM »
Yeah, that lyricism is the real kicker. He is really not afraid to dig deep into pop culture references. To me, it has a very Japanese sound to it, at least to my ears, when he does this. I can imagine sort of the cosmopolitan city life of busy Tokyo when I hear it. Of course, with some works, you get the exact opposite of this (like in his first symphony), but I think the saxophone concerto and his Atom Hearts Club suites, among other works, really have that sound. Sometimes it can border on the kitschy, but I think it works in the end.

Yes, Yoshimatsu does have a Japanese sound to his music whether it's intentional or not, because, him being born in 1953, he was exposed to a lot of rock, jazz, metal, and blues in the 70s. The Japanese LOVE their rock music, in fact, I remember watching a documentary about the American progressive metal band, Dream Theater, and they said some of their most most enthusiastic audiences were from Japan. :) They also pointed out that while they were grateful for their fans in the US, South America, and Europe, the Japanese gave them the warmest reception. This, for me, acts as a testament to their loyalty to the United States and the Western world, which is why, I suppose, Yoshimatsu has such a wide array of musical influences. I'm really looking forward to hearing another Japanese composer that has achieved the kind of popularity as Takemitsu.
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Re: Yikes! Yoshimatsu!
« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2011, 07:53:39 PM »
An optimistic Schnittke is perhaps a better comparison.

check! ;)

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Re: Yikes! Yoshimatsu!
« Reply #15 on: October 06, 2011, 04:40:26 AM »
It's real pretty too of course.
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Re: Yikes! Yoshimatsu!
« Reply #16 on: October 06, 2011, 12:41:12 PM »
The Chandos recordings of Symphony No 2 (my favourite), Symphony No 1 and 'Threnody to Toki' are outstanding.
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Re: Yikes! Yoshimatsu!
« Reply #17 on: October 06, 2011, 06:22:13 PM »
The Chandos recordings of Symphony No 2 (my favourite), Symphony No 1 and 'Threnody to Toki' are outstanding.

What do you think about his other symphonies, Jeffrey?
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Re: Yikes! Yoshimatsu!
« Reply #18 on: October 07, 2011, 07:39:50 PM »
Takashi Yoshimatsu's music was coming pretty regularly out of Chandos for about 5 or 6 years, then poof! Anyone know if he still has the "Composer In Residence" position there, or what he's been working on recently? The most recent reviews I've found online were for the premiere of the 5th Symphony in January 2002

http://www.andante.com/article/article.cfm?id=15523&highlight=1&highlightterms=&lstKeywords==

A good description of his style would be, maybe, "The Japanese Hovhaness". Now let us hope Yoshimatsu doesn't track me down over that, or worse, Hovhaness rise from the grave to haunt me. But that's the dangers one incurs with modern music. Sheesh!  ;)

I don't think of Yoshimatsu is anything like Hovhaness truth be told. His sound is, as indicated, extremely Japanese and deeply personal. Very early in his career he composed a serial work called Threnody to Toki, Op. 12, which won him much acclaim. He quickly abandoned this style for something more lyrically expressive. It makes me wonder why he even composed a work in this style anyway, but I guess a composer has to make his mark somehow. I think his style has more in common with John Adams than Hovhaness. I'm sure as I get more into his music the optimistic Schnittke comparison will be true, because Yoshimatsu had such a wide range of influences that he tried to synthesize into something cohesive.

Anyway, I'm listening to his Piano Concerto right now and it is gorgeous.

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Re: Yikes! Yoshimatsu!
« Reply #19 on: October 08, 2011, 08:03:03 AM »
Right now, Yoshimatsu's music just bores the living hell out of me. One of the reasons could be that I don't find his harmonic language all that interesting. There isn't much tension in the music.

Oh well, I can't like everything...
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