Author Topic: Japanese Composers  (Read 40184 times)

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Online vandermolen

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Japanese Composers
« on: February 23, 2008, 01:32:40 AM »
Naxos has a whole series devoted to the music of Japanese composers. Highlights for me have been the lyrical Symphony No 1(1940) and Symphonic Suite "Heavenly Maiden and Fisherman"(1933) by Hashimoto, Humiwo Hayasaka's moving and eloquent Piano Concerto (1948), in memory of his brother and victims of war and Saburo Moroi's Third Symphony (1944). Chandos have their own composer Yoshimatsu (born 1953), whose Second Symphony (1991-92) is worth exploring although his music has generally met with critical disapproval.

Any views?
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

springrite

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2008, 01:41:27 AM »
My exposure of Japanese composers begin with Takemitsu and I have yet to find another Japanese composer who exceeded him.

Harry

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2008, 01:46:33 AM »
The view I have is, that I bought most of Naxos Japanese releases so far, and I was seldom disappointed.
These are a few of the latest yet to be heard.

Symphonien

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2008, 01:57:28 AM »
My exposure of Japanese composers begin with Takemitsu and I have yet to find another Japanese composer who exceeded him.

Same with me.

As for the Naxos Japanese Classics series, I have so far heard and enjoyed this one:



I've also read good things about Alsop's recording of some orchestral music:



I haven't seen any reviews of this disc with piano works yet, though - but I will definitely buy it if I see it around:



greg

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2008, 07:05:22 AM »
My exposure of Japanese composers begin with Takemitsu and I have yet to find another Japanese composer who exceeded him.
same here. I'm familiar with Mayuzumi, who I really like, and I've heard some Yoshimatsu, but that's about it.


greg

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2008, 07:08:24 AM »
The view I have is, that I bought most of Naxos Japanese releases so far, and I was seldom disappointed.
These are a few of the latest yet to be heard.
Sugata and Abe..... i'll have to take a listen sometime, after all it's on Naxos.  :)

Offline Guido

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2008, 07:10:57 AM »
I still haven't heard any Takemitsu. I very much like Yoshimatsu's music - the Chandos series has displayed his work to be emminently listenable, well crafted, witty, intelligent music, often extremely beautiful. Some people might not respond to its post modern leaning and use of 'low art' in a 'high art' context but he knows exactly what he is doing and the sentimentality is clearly a desired effect. I like it!
Geologist.

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Offline Lethevich

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2008, 07:24:38 AM »
This disc by Akutagawa is very strong. The Ellora Symphony is brilliant, as is the Rhapsody. The Trinita Sinfonica is an earlier work, but is in an appealingly melodic neoclassical style.



Edit: Listen to the last track on the disc using Amazon's samples - lots of fun. Shockingly bad audio compression, but it gets the point across. This guy really really liked a few well-known Russian composers at the beginning of his career :P
« Last Edit: February 23, 2008, 07:28:25 AM by Lethe »
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Ephemerid

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2008, 07:25:44 AM »
Takemitsu is awesome!  Oliver Knussen's/London Sinfonietta/Peter Crossley/Peter Serkin's CD Quotation of Dream is a a real treat.  Very lush music, absolutely gorgeous!  Oliver Knussen recorded another CD of chamber orchestra music (Waterways, I believe) which sadly is out of print (last I checked).  It has Tree Line on that CD which is one of his best pieces IMO.  His late orchestral music is where he is at his best.  A Flock Descends into the Pentagonal Garden is another good intro to Takemitsu.

He's heavily influenced by Debussy and Messiaen, but he's got a unique "language" that is easily recognisable.  His music is often dissonant but in this very gentle and disarming way-- very haunting, unforgettable music.  I highly recommend him!  8)


Online vandermolen

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"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

greg

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2008, 06:02:35 PM »
you know, I just realized I don't know any Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Vietnamese, Laotian, Thai, Burmese, or Bangladeshian composers....... am I missing out?

gomro

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2008, 06:06:46 PM »
you know, I just realized I don't know any Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Vietnamese, Laotian, Thai, Burmese, or Bangladeshian composers....... am I missing out?

Isang Yun was Korean; I only recently discovered him through this disc:


but it's some very fine work. Highly recommended.

greg

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2008, 06:09:58 PM »
Isang Yun was Korean; I only recently discovered him through this disc:


but it's some very fine work. Highly recommended.
good. Isang Yun. Now I got a name.

and look! Rosa Parks is his harpist! That's like a bonus, too, even before i listen.

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2008, 06:27:33 PM »
Thanks for starting this thread, vandermolen!! I had not bought any of these Naxos CDs of music by Japanese composers and did not know where to start...if at all!

Now I do and shall definitely investigate the composers you recommend.

Online vandermolen

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2008, 03:28:43 AM »
Thanks for starting this thread, vandermolen!! I had not bought any of these Naxos CDs of music by Japanese composers and did not know where to start...if at all!

Now I do and shall definitely investigate the composers you recommend.

 :) You are very welcome. Hayasaka's Piano Concerto or the Moroi or Hashimoto discs are good strarting points, as is the sampler mentioned above. I hope that you enjoy exploring this repertoire.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

gomro

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #15 on: February 24, 2008, 11:29:56 AM »
Thanks for starting this thread, vandermolen!! I had not bought any of these Naxos CDs of music by Japanese composers and did not know where to start...if at all!

Now I do and shall definitely investigate the composers you recommend.

be sure to try the Akutagawa disc on Naxos; it was one of my great discoveries last year.  The earliest pieces have got a strong Shostakovich element, but then things really get strange -- Akutagawan! -- but still very listenable, powerful and interesting throughout.

violinconcerto

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #16 on: February 25, 2008, 12:34:18 PM »
I very much enjoy the violin concertos by Yoji Yuasa, Yuzo Toyama, Kaoru Koyama, Koichi Kishi, Maki Ishii and of course by Akira Ifukube.
The Ifukube is rhythimcal and driving "popcorn music", pure joy.
The Ishii is rhythmically more complex and much more serious.
The Kishi dates from 1933 and sounds like that, very western-like. Kishi studied in Berlin, if I am remember correctly.
Yuasa, Toyama and Koyama are much more introverted and melancolic works, but with a original ideas.

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #17 on: February 25, 2008, 05:51:19 PM »
Ok, I have got the Hashimoto Symphony No.1/Symphonic Suite "Heavenly Maiden and Fisherman"(Naxos 8.555881), the Hayasaka Piano Concerto(8.557819), the Moroi Symphony No.3(8.557162), the Abe Symphony No.1(8.557987) and the Akutagawa Ellora Symphony(8.555975) marked down for exploration!

Anyone heard the Hisato Ohzawa Symphony No.3 "Symphony of the Founding of Japan"/Piano Concerto No.3 "Kamikaze", the Koscak Yamada Symphony "Triumph and Peace" or the Akio Yashiro Symphony/Piano Concerto-all on Naxos?

Might as well go for broke after resisting getting into Japanese music up to now!! (Resisting out of total ignorance of what any of it was like, that is.) :)

Offline Brian

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #18 on: February 25, 2008, 07:01:15 PM »
Here's my favorite:



Terrific music! He studied under Mahler and conducted a complete Mahler cycle in his youth.

Dundonnell, the Yamada CD hardly sounds Japanese at all! It's very much in the cheery romantic mode, almost wholly western. I played it for my parents and asked them to guess the composer; they suggested a figure from the early 1800s without emotional oomph. (Yamada learned composition from Bruch.) Now, the last two pieces on the program, symphonic poems, are different indeed, reflecting Strauss and much more of the twentieth century - and very enjoyable in their way.



Here's a disc by the same composer that seems more interesting, since it employs traditional Japanese instruments and styles along with the orchestra:

« Last Edit: February 25, 2008, 07:05:02 PM by Brian »

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #19 on: February 26, 2008, 06:45:33 AM »
Right...I have ordered the Abe Symphony No.1, the Hashimoto Symphony No.1, the Hayasaka Piano Concerto, the Moroi Symphony No.3,
the Yamada 'Naguata Symphony' and the Akutagawa 'Ellora Symphony' from Amazon on the recommendations of members.

In for a penny in for a pound(well about £30 actually!). If I like what I hear I will try the other Yamada symphony, the Ohzawa, the Yashiro and the Okhi Symphony No.5 'Hiroshima'.

I will certainly post my impressions in due course! Thanks everyone!