Author Topic: Akira Ifukube - Japanese composer  (Read 11093 times)

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Tapkaara

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Re: Akira Ifukube - Japanese composer
« Reply #20 on: September 03, 2009, 05:45:15 PM »
Hey, thanks for opening this thread.  Being of half-Japanese blood, I went over to Amazon to give some clips a listen.  On the second CD, Japanese Orchestral Favorites, on around the second or third track, I yelled out to my wife, "Hey, come quick.  Listen to this.  It's Gagaku and the guy's playing a hichiriki."

Gagaku is traditional Japanese court music and the hichiriki is a small double-reeded instrument.  After high school, I wanted to play some music at U.C.L.A., but had zero talent on the instrument I played in high school, the clarinet.  Then, I heard that the ethno-musicology had a Gagaku orchestra and that they needed to have a hichiriki player.  They taught me to play, "With the spirit.  Use your soul.  Don't just play notes."

Sorry, I know this isn't on the topic at hand, but Tapkaara brought back a great memory from a special time in my life.

Japanese music is truly fascinating. It's incredible how Japanese composers can absorb two different musical traditions (their own and "western" traditions) and blend them together to create such interesting sounds...

Offline Tomo

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Re: Akira Ifukube - Japanese composer
« Reply #21 on: September 03, 2009, 06:18:53 PM »
What's interesting is that, tonight, I found a CD of traditional Japanese music with playing by the likes of Yo-Yo Ma, Jean-Pierre Rampal, and Isaak Stern.  Mostly Japanese musicians, with mostly a Japanese flavor, but it's quite obvious when someone like Yo-Yo is in there.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Akira Ifukube - Japanese composer
« Reply #22 on: September 04, 2009, 01:28:46 AM »
Asian music can sound (should sound) like a total estrangement from our western cultutal heritage. It's actually when the music sounds too western that the interest wanes...

Totally agree.
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Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Akira Ifukube - Japanese composer
« Reply #23 on: September 05, 2009, 11:04:47 PM »

Gagaku is traditional Japanese court music

Anyone else heard George Rochberg's Imago Mundi? It's the only piece of classical music I know that claims to be based on (or inspired by) gagaku. I like the piece for what it is, though I have no idea how far it reflects the gagaku style.
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Tapkaara

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Re: Akira Ifukube - Japanese composer
« Reply #24 on: September 06, 2009, 07:09:03 AM »
Anyone else heard George Rochberg's Imago Mundi? It's the only piece of classical music I know that claims to be based on (or inspired by) gagaku. I like the piece for what it is, though I have no idea how far it reflects the gagaku style.

I do not know this particular work, but there is quite a bit in the Japanese symphonic catalogue on the subject of gagaku.

Try the Yoritsune Matsudaira disc on Naxos's Japanese Classsics series. If you didn't know you were listening to a western style orchestra, you'd probably think it was an "authentic" gagaku experience.

Offline Tomo

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Re: Akira Ifukube - Japanese composer
« Reply #25 on: September 06, 2009, 11:02:11 AM »
Anyone else heard George Rochberg's Imago Mundi? It's the only piece of classical music I know that claims to be based on (or inspired by) gagaku. I like the piece for what it is, though I have no idea how far it reflects the gagaku style.

I didn't even know who Rochberg was, truth be told.  I went over to Amazon and found only one recording which even had a sample of Imago Mundi.  So, I start playing the clips and find no connection whatsoever with sounding like Gagaku.

Then, I notice that they don't even have a clip listed for Imago Mundi and I've only been listening to parts of his second symphony...which did sound interesting by the way.

I click on their button for downloading the CD as they usually have a complete listing of tracks...and there it is.  Well, it's only 89 cents to purchase the 24 minute download, so I thought, "Why not?". 

I'm listening to it now.  That first 1:20 of the track is very Gagaku styled, then it slips into something different -but something I'm enjoying- before returning to Gagaku shortly into the fifth minute.  I imagine it will intertwine the more traditional Gagaku sound with Rochberg orchestration inspired by Gagaku throughout.  I'm at about 11:00 into the piece now. 

Have to say thanks for introducing me to an interesting piece at a bargain price.

Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Akira Ifukube - Japanese composer
« Reply #26 on: September 06, 2009, 10:56:37 PM »

I'm listening to it now.  That first 1:20 of the track is very Gagaku styled, then it slips into something different -but something I'm enjoying- before returning to Gagaku shortly into the fifth minute.  I imagine it will intertwine the more traditional Gagaku sound with Rochberg orchestration inspired by Gagaku throughout.  I'm at about 11:00 into the piece now. 

I listened to it again. Seems to me there's only a few minutes of actual Gagaku-style music in it. There may be some structural influence though, in the deliberately static and episodic nature of the piece. However, since I know basically nothing about how traditional Japanese music works, that's just speculation on my part.
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Tapkaara

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Re: Akira Ifukube - Japanese composer
« Reply #27 on: April 03, 2010, 11:23:31 PM »
I have bought plane tickets for a trip to Japan this July which includes an all-Ifukube concert...cannot wait...

Offline just Jeff

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Re: Akira Ifukube - Japanese composer
« Reply #28 on: December 04, 2010, 12:51:07 AM »
This one is next up in my CD listening que.  A type of Piano Concerto?


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Offline Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich

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Re: Akira Ifukube - Japanese composer
« Reply #29 on: March 21, 2011, 11:47:37 PM »
Listening (for the 4th time now!) to: Eglogue symphonique pour koto à vingt cordes et orchestra.

It is 30 minutes long, for orchestra and 20 string koto, the main theme of it is pretty sombre, lamento like. Very western and in a tradition of european music, it's structure is also as we're used to. Not at all unlistenable Asian stuff! A very interesting ending, it's like the notes fall down... Maybe as strange as the ending of Sibelius Symphony No. 4.

Try it! Playlist:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BYvOGeU7YM&playnext=1&list=PL59B0B3CDE425780C

« Last Edit: March 21, 2011, 11:51:11 PM by Tapio Dmitriyevich Shostakovich »

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Akira Ifukube - Japanese composer
« Reply #30 on: October 05, 2012, 04:11:31 PM »
I gave the Ifukube recording on Naxos (w/ Yablonsky, Russian Philharmonic) another listen and I have to say I love the music now! Something just clicked with me tonight and I've already listened to it twice. This is a very good recording to get one's feet wet in Ifukube's music, but I want the orchestral series on the King Records label. I wish Naxos would acquire the rights to these recordings and release them under their Japanese Classics series. I think there are eight volumes in all and they're all EXPENSIVE. I think $35 a disc. Does anyone know where I can get imports of CDs, especially Japanese for a lower cost?

Anyway, count me as a fan of Ifukube's music. Quite emotionally gripping music.
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kishnevi

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Re: Akira Ifukube - Japanese composer
« Reply #31 on: October 05, 2012, 04:53:56 PM »
What (in Western terms, since I'm totally unfamiliar with Japanese music, beyond knowing what a koto is), is Ifukube's style (or styles) like?

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Akira Ifukube - Japanese composer
« Reply #32 on: October 05, 2012, 05:02:55 PM »
What (in Western terms, since I'm totally unfamiliar with Japanese music, beyond knowing what a koto is), is Ifukube's style (or styles) like?

To give you a little idea, here's what Naxos stated on the back of their Ifukube recording:

Stimulated by Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, Akira Ifukube taught himself composition, while working as a forestry officer. His works, characterized by persistent ostinato, percussive sounds and multi-cultural melodies and rhythms, have something in common with the music of Orff, Khachaturian and Revueltas. Sinfonia Tapkaara was inspired by the primitive dances and songs of the ancient Japanese tribe, the Ainu, who stomped their feet to worship the earth. Ritmica Ostinata is a single movement ‘minimalist’ piano concerto alternating passages of increasingly propulsive energy with static, dream-like interludes. The Symphonic Fantasia No. 1 is a concert arrangement by the composer himself, of his music for monster films including Godzilla.
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Akira Ifukube - Japanese composer
« Reply #33 on: October 05, 2012, 05:04:52 PM »
Jeffrey, you can read about him here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akira_Ifukube
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kishnevi

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Re: Akira Ifukube - Japanese composer
« Reply #34 on: October 05, 2012, 05:06:41 PM »
To give you a little idea, here's what Naxos stated on the back of their Ifukube recording:

Stimulated by Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, Akira Ifukube taught himself composition, while working as a forestry officer. His works, characterized by persistent ostinato, percussive sounds and multi-cultural melodies and rhythms, have something in common with the music of Orff, Khachaturian and Revueltas. Sinfonia Tapkaara was inspired by the primitive dances and songs of the ancient Japanese tribe, the Ainu, who stomped their feet to worship the earth. Ritmica Ostinata is a single movement ‘minimalist’ piano concerto alternating passages of increasingly propulsive energy with static, dream-like interludes. The Symphonic Fantasia No. 1 is a concert arrangement by the composer himself, of his music for monster films including Godzilla.

Thanks.  Sounds like I would be interested in him, so he goes on the wishlist....

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Akira Ifukube - Japanese composer
« Reply #35 on: October 05, 2012, 05:08:01 PM »
Thanks.  Sounds like I would be interested in him, so he goes on the wishlist....

You're welcome. This Naxos recording is the only Ifukube recording I own, but I definitely want more especially those Japanese imports on King Records.
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Akira Ifukube - Japanese composer
« Reply #36 on: October 05, 2012, 05:53:50 PM »
Just bought the Artistry of Akira Ifukube orchestral series via Amazon Japan:







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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Akira Ifukube - Japanese composer
« Reply #37 on: October 06, 2012, 08:43:41 PM »
A quite different performance of Ritmica Ostinata than the Yablonsky performance on Naxos:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/d6qDEGdXA4A" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/d6qDEGdXA4A</a>

A great composition IMHO and people keep calling this a 'piano concerto' and it's not. It's really just an orchestral work with an obbligato part for the piano. The work for me seems to be ahead of its time. It was completed in 1961 while Minimalist pioneer, Terry Riley, completed his landmark In C in 1964. Ifukube's Ritmica Ostinata must have been heard by the early Minimalists.

Edit: It seems I'm wrong (as usual). Colin McPhee completed Tabuh-Tabuhan in 1936. A composition, like Ifukube's, that uses a persistent ostinato throughout the entire work that uses varying orchestral colors that help give shape to this maelstrom of ostinati.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2012, 08:51:31 PM by Mirror Image »
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Offline Tapio Dimitriyevich Shostakovich

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Re: Akira Ifukube - Japanese composer
« Reply #38 on: October 06, 2012, 10:12:26 PM »

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Akira Ifukube - Japanese composer
« Reply #39 on: October 07, 2012, 07:50:20 AM »
You'll love "Eglogue symphonique"

I've loved everything I've heard from Ifukube so far. :) Including this work, which somebody uploaded on YouTube. Can't wait to hear the CD.
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