Author Topic: Japanese Composers  (Read 47292 times)

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Offline some guy

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #60 on: April 25, 2009, 07:04:41 PM »
Well, thanks for sharing, Dundonnell. I guess.

Now I want to share, too. There's a great series of CDs of some really interesting and outrageous Japanese music on Edition OMEGA POINT called Experimental Music of Japan. Fills in some of the gaps of new music activity there from 1950 on. Very diverse series so far (I have only a handful of these--and they're recent acquisitions, so some of them I've only heard once). Some very lovely noise to be sure. Instrumental, electroacoustic, live improv--it's a fantastic world out there, if you've got the ears for it.

(Remember what Ives said about your ears, now, boys and girls!)

Online vandermolen

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #61 on: April 25, 2009, 11:39:41 PM »
I'd be very interested to hear more of Hayasaka, whose Piano Concerto (or at least the extended first movement) is one of my best Naxos discoveries.
"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).

Offline Ugh!

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #62 on: April 26, 2009, 10:05:09 AM »
Well, thanks for sharing, Dundonnell. I guess.

Now I want to share, too. There's a great series of CDs of some really interesting and outrageous Japanese music on Edition OMEGA POINT called Experimental Music of Japan. Fills in some of the gaps of new music activity there from 1950 on. Very diverse series so far (I have only a handful of these--and they're recent acquisitions, so some of them I've only heard once). Some very lovely noise to be sure. Instrumental, electroacoustic, live improv--it's a fantastic world out there, if you've got the ears for it.

(Remember what Ives said about your ears, now, boys and girls!)

Are you familiar with the 10 cd box set called "Improvised Music From Japan", from the label of the same name? It includes the electronic experiments of Toshimaru Nakamura and Yoshihide Otomo, etc but also the quieter shamisen experiments of Yumiko Tanaka, various japanese free jazz and a great variation of approaches.

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #63 on: April 26, 2009, 12:04:39 PM »
Well, thanks for sharing, Dundonnell. I guess.

Now I want to share, too. There's a great series of CDs of some really interesting and outrageous Japanese music on Edition OMEGA POINT called Experimental Music of Japan. Fills in some of the gaps of new music activity there from 1950 on. Very diverse series so far (I have only a handful of these--and they're recent acquisitions, so some of them I've only heard once). Some very lovely noise to be sure. Instrumental, electroacoustic, live improv--it's a fantastic world out there, if you've got the ears for it.

(Remember what Ives said about your ears, now, boys and girls!)

I thought that might 'irk' you ;D As I have posted a lot of times in this thread about my own discoveries of Japanese composers and their music I cannot be accused of not exploring what was a totally new field to me. Yes, I will concede that my explorations and my discoveries have been limited to the sort of composers whose music appeals to me-and that means that they are a pretty 'conservative' lot :)

I wish that I had the time, the money...and, yes, I admit it, the inclination.. to explore further and more deeply and I have nothing but admiration for those whose musical tastes are so much broader than mine to encompass a much wider range of musical idioms and styles. If I could love Beethoven and Xenakis, Brahms and Boulez, Sibelius and Berio my musical appreciation would be, no doubt, richer and better informed. Sadly, for me, that is not however the case. I shall, however, survive ;D
« Last Edit: April 26, 2009, 01:40:58 PM by Dundonnell »

Offline some guy

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #64 on: April 26, 2009, 12:37:29 PM »
Dun,

It's just that "I have no interest in..." is such a pointless remark, no matter what it's about. The assumption is, is it not, that your tastes are so interesting, and so normative, that your report of non-interest means that those things are worthless. Yes, I know that you say that that's not the case, but still there's this nagging suspicion.... By the way, I do love Beethoven and Xenakis, Brahms and Boulez, Sibelius and Berio. I don't know if that's desirable (I think it is), but it's certainly possible!! (Maybe I should find a Butterworth thread somewhere and pronounce my lack of interest!!)

Eugene,

I had a nagging sense that there was another series. And you are right, there is! And I think I have some of those, too, but I'm too lazy to go check (haha). I'll have them all, eventually!!

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #65 on: April 26, 2009, 01:49:20 PM »
Dun,

It's just that "I have no interest in..." is such a pointless remark, no matter what it's about. The assumption is, is it not, that your tastes are so interesting, and so normative, that your report of non-interest means that those things are worthless. Yes, I know that you say that that's not the case, but still there's this nagging suspicion.... By the way, I do love Beethoven and Xenakis, Brahms and Boulez, Sibelius and Berio. I don't know if that's desirable (I think it is), but it's certainly possible!! (Maybe I should find a Butterworth thread somewhere and pronounce my lack of interest!!)

Eugene,

I had a nagging sense that there was another series. And you are right, there is! And I think I have some of those, too, but I'm too lazy to go check (haha). I'll have them all, eventually!!

You are right-an expression of 'no interest' is a pointless remark. It was made in jest but I regret it. My tastes in music are shared by some on this board and not by others. That is obvious and I fully accept the fact. I will say-once again and, believe me, in all sincerity-that my tastes are in no way superior to those of others, nor is the music I prefer necessarily, 'better' than music to which I am not attuned. It is clearly both possible and desirable to love the music of the diverse composers whose names I originally listened. If I cannot do so then that is my loss :( I have admitted that. I can add nothing further.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2009, 02:04:19 PM by Dundonnell »

Offline some guy

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #66 on: April 26, 2009, 08:40:24 PM »
Dundonnell, you are a most princely gentleman; may your listening always give you as much pleasure as mine gives me!!

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #67 on: April 26, 2009, 10:29:25 PM »
I ordered 3 CD's with Japanese music at HMV Japan.  On the KING label. They are all ( most?) live recordings with the NHK OPrchestra/ Hiroyuki Iwaki is among the conductors. Most recordings date from the late 1960-ies - early 1980-ies.
Music by : Akira Miyoshi, Yoshio Mamiya, Akio Yashiro, Toru Takemitsu etc.

It took me a whole lot of e mails to understand what is on the CD's ( I was looking specifically for Miyoshi's Concerto for orchestra - a kind of "Short ride in a fast & wild machine"...ca 1960). HMV's website is quite clear to use - many items are only in Japanese....I got great help from an organisation in NY that promotes Japanese music.

Comments later.

Peter




Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #68 on: April 27, 2009, 02:23:57 AM »
Dundonnell, you are a most princely gentleman; may your listening always give you as much pleasure as mine gives me!!


 :) Thank you :) Reciprocated.

Offline jowcol

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #69 on: April 28, 2009, 05:38:56 AM »
Just to chime on on Tomita.  I was a big fan of his albums in the 70s-- but sometimes I think I liked the choice of music he adapted.  Some of his textures were really nice, but other gimmicky aspects got in the way.  His arrangement of Prokofiev's first violin concerto was nice on the "Bermuda Triangle" album, and as I recall the Ravel album worked pretty well.  Some of the gimmicky things (like the humming/vocal stuff during the Old Castle on his Pictures at an Exhibition album wore thin.)


And, at the risk of running off topic-- some people on this thread were asking about other Asian composers.  I've met one of them, a Thai composer  who was also a Sci-Fi writer while staying in the US.  One thing he used to do is sit down at the Piano and play the "Star Wars" theme in the style of different composers-- as I recall, the Bach and Stravinsky (le Sacre) versions were my favorite.

FwIW-- I've copied some material from his website.  Beyond hearing him goofing around on the piano (when he was in is "musical burnout" mode), I am not familiar with is music.   Have any of you?

(One other tangent-- the King of Thailand was a composer and swing era Jazz musician who had a standing offer to join Benny Goodman's band.....)



Somtow Sucharitkul - Artistic Director

Called by the International Herald Tribune ?the most well-known expatriate Thai in the world,? Somtow Sucharitkul (S.P. Somtow) is a composer, author and media personality whose talents have entertained fans the world over.

Born in Thailand, Somtow grew up in several European countries and was educated at Eton and Cambridge. His first career was in music. His 1975 composition ?Views from the Golden Mountain? was the first to combine Thai and Western instruments into new sonorities. In the 1970s, Somtow established himself as a prominent Southeast Asian avant-garde composer, causing considerable controversy in his native country as artistic director of the Asian Composers Expo 78. He founded the Thai Composers? Association, and was the permanent representative of Thailand to the International Music Council of UNESCO.

A severe case of musical burnout caused Somtow to turn to writing in the early 1980s, and he soon produced a succession of over forty books in several genres under the pen name S.P. Somtow, winning numerous awards for such novels as ?Vampire Junction? (Gollancz), today considered a classic of gothic literature and taught in ?gothic lit? courses around the U.S.A. His semi-autobiographical memoir ?Jasmine Nights,? published by Hamish Hamilton, prompted George Axelrod, Oscar-winning writer of ?Breakfast at Tiffany?s?, to refer to him as ?the J.D. Salinger of Siam.? He has just finished a stint as president of the Horror Writers? Association. His most recent books are ?Tagging the Moon ? Fairy Tales of Los Angeles? and ?Dragon?s Fin Soup.? His novels have been translated into about a dozen languages. He also dabbled in filmmaking, directing a couple of low-budget films during his years in Los Angeles.

In the 1990s, he began to turn back to music, rejecting his previous embrace of the musical fashions of the 60s and 70s and reinventing himself as a neo-Romantic composer. His recent works include the ballet ?Kaki? and the ?Mahajanaka Symphony? composed for the King of Thailand?s 72nd birthday.

In 1999, he was commissioned to compose what turned out to be the first opera by a Thai composer ever to be premiered, ?Madana?, inspired by a fairytale-like play written by King Rama VI of Siam and dedicated to his wife, Queen Indrasaksachi, who was also the composer?s great-aunt. For this opera, he has chosen to compose in the late-Romantic idiom that would have been familiar to his great-aunt and her royal spouse, with a liberal garnish of Southeast Asian sonorities. The opera premiered in February 2001 in Bangkok in what was called, by Opera Now magazine, ?one of the operatic events of the year.?

Somtow?s second opera on a Thai theme, Mae Naak, opened on January 6, 2003 in Bangkok. He has just won the World Fantasy Award, the most coveted writing award in the field of fantasy literature, for his short story ?The Bird Catcher.? He commutes between his two homes in Los Angeles and Bangkok.

In the second half of 2003, Somtow conducted the Thailand premiere of the Brahms Requiem as part of a 100-concert-worldwide memorial to Daniel Pearl, and presented an evening of Wagner in honour of Wolfgang Wagner. He also directed a production of ?The Turn of the Screw.? Japanese director Takashi Miike is adapting his award-nominated story ?Dragon?s Fin Soup? into a French-produced feature film and hid novel, Vampire Junction, is being adapted into an opera by French composer Fr�d�ric Chaslin.
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snyprrr

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #70 on: May 15, 2009, 01:20:10 AM »
There is a new Apex cd called "Landscape" by the Lotus SQ, with works by Yashiro, Takemitsu, Hosokawa, Miyoshi, and Nishimura.

I saw Akio Yashiro's name pop up twice in this thread (a cd on Naxos), but no one seems to have bought it yet (Dun? $:)). Apparently his 1957 SQ is pretty "famous."??? Maybe it's the first "great" Japanese SQ? It's in four mvmts. with Italian headings, and I saw a "something misterioso" for the slow mvmt. (and a "something fantastico" in his Piano Trio). So my impression might be that Yashiro is the Japanese Hindemith (meaning "traditional" mid-century composer)? Perhaps he is the bridge between the earlier generation (1930s) and the one that was soon to come? Hmmm...anyone?


gomro

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #71 on: May 16, 2009, 06:41:33 PM »
There is a new Apex cd called "Landscape" by the Lotus SQ, with works by Yashiro, Takemitsu, Hosokawa, Miyoshi, and Nishimura.

I saw Akio Yashiro's name pop up twice in this thread (a cd on Naxos), but no one seems to have bought it yet (Dun? $:)). Apparently his 1957 SQ is pretty "famous."??? Maybe it's the first "great" Japanese SQ? It's in four mvmts. with Italian headings, and I saw a "something misterioso" for the slow mvmt. (and a "something fantastico" in his Piano Trio). So my impression might be that Yashiro is the Japanese Hindemith (meaning "traditional" mid-century composer)? Perhaps he is the bridge between the earlier generation (1930s) and the one that was soon to come? Hmmm...anyone?



Yashiro is a LOT more like Messiaen than Hindemith.

snyprrr

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #72 on: May 16, 2009, 11:47:05 PM »
Yashiro is a LOT more like Messiaen than Hindemith.

Interesting. Can you elaborate?

Tapkaara

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #73 on: July 21, 2009, 07:39:04 AM »
What a great thread!

Japanese composers are of particular interest to me.

I am pleased to see that amount of enthusiasm here for the Japanese Classics series on Naxos. I've been following that series ever since it started and some real gems have come from the sereis.

The Hayasaka Piano Concerto is indeed fabulous. I've chuckled seeing some of the...frustration...in here over the (perhaps) jarring juxtaposition of the heavy first movement with the light romp of a second movement. I admit it is indeed unconventional, but it is really what one should expect from Hayasaka. He (and his composer friend) Ifukube were real admirateurs of the French music of the time, so the hints of Françaix, Ibert, etc. are not by accident!

By the way, I am the webmaster of AKIRAIFUKUBE.ORG (www.akiraifukube.org). This is the official English language website on Akira Ifukube and is sanctioned as such by the composer's family. Ifukube has been a study of mine for a while and the website is the representation of most of my work. I invite y'all to check it out.

I also love the Moroi disc. Akutagawa is also amazing.

Some of the discs in the series I am less impressed with are the Masao Oki and the two Ozawa discs. The Oki lacks any substantial drama and sounds very monochrome in a very uninteresting way. Ozawa's music just meanders way to much to keep my interest afloat, though there are moments of genius that appear but fade away much too quickly.

I look forward to keeping this discussion alive!

Offline Brewski

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #74 on: July 21, 2009, 07:48:02 AM »
By the way, I am the webmaster of AKIRAIFUKUBE.ORG (www.akiraifukube.org). This is the official English language website on Akira Ifukube and is sanctioned as such by the composer's family. Ifukube has been a study of mine for a while and the website is the representation of most of my work. I invite y'all to check it out.

Hi Tapkaara, and welcome.  Nice website on Ifukube, there.  (PS, are you Erik?)  You will find a number of people here who are interested in his work as well as other Japanese and 20th-century composers.  

Enjoy yourself...lots of fine people here.  

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Tapkaara

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #75 on: July 21, 2009, 07:52:23 AM »
Hi Tapkaara, and welcome.  Nice website on Ifukube, there.  (PS, are you Erik?)  You will find a number of people here who are interested in his work as well as other Japanese and 20th-century composers.  

Enjoy yourself...lots of fine people here.  

--Bruce

I am indeed Erik. Erik...spelled with the very Nordic K. Named after my great-great grandfather who was from Sweden...!

Japan is a very musical country. But a very overlooked one, as well. The Naxos series is an incredibly valuable and relevant undertaking, and I am very proud of Naxos for taking the risk of producing discs of such unknown repertoire. (But I suppose that is their MO.)

Online vandermolen

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #76 on: July 21, 2009, 01:14:47 PM »
I am indeed Erik. Erik...spelled with the very Nordic K. Named after my great-great grandfather who was from Sweden...!

Japan is a very musical country. But a very overlooked one, as well. The Naxos series is an incredibly valuable and relevant undertaking, and I am very proud of Naxos for taking the risk of producing discs of such unknown repertoire. (But I suppose that is their MO.)

Welcome indeed Erik,

I have played the Piano Concerto by Hayasaka (or at least the first movement!) over and over again - the end bit of the first movement is overwhelming - a wonderful moment.

What do you think of the music of Yoshimatsu?

Jeffrey
"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).

Tapkaara

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #77 on: July 21, 2009, 01:21:50 PM »
Welcome indeed Erik,

I have played the Piano Concerto by Hayasaka (or at least the first movement!) over and over again - the end bit of the first movement is overwhelming - a wonderful moment.

What do you think of the music of Yoshimatsu?

Jeffrey

I must admit that I am only familiar with his Threnody to Toki. I am not a big fan of the musical avant-garde, at least not for the most part, and thus I find this work hard to get into. he does create some interesting sonorities in the work, but byond that, I am not a commited listener of this composer.

You see, me being a fan of Ifukube may have a lot to do with this. Ifukube would have been unimpressed by such a work as well as he was a very traditional composer, at least in the face of the avant-garde. Ifukube and Takemitsu, arguably the two best known Japanese composers, were perfect polar opposites. The two even had a friendly rivalry and would often comment (negatively) on each others works. I think the two knew that they represented opposite ends of the musical spectrum and fed off of that, to some degree.

Interegstingly, Hayasaka was one of Ifukube's best friends growing up, but Hayasaka went on to mentor Takemitsu. If you hear early Hayasaka, you hear a late romantic/nationalist idiom that is much closer to Ifukube. As Hayasaka progressed, his works became more modernist. His last major orchestral work, Yukara, is a serialist piece. I'm sure Ifukube would have been very dissapointed with Hayasaka for going down that route.

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #78 on: July 21, 2009, 03:41:41 PM »
I must admit that I am only familiar with his Threnody to Toki. I am not a big fan of the musical avant-garde, at least not for the most part, and thus I find this work hard to get into. he does create some interesting sonorities in the work, but byond that, I am not a commited listener of this composer.

You see, me being a fan of Ifukube may have a lot to do with this. Ifukube would have been unimpressed by such a work as well as he was a very traditional composer, at least in the face of the avant-garde. Ifukube and Takemitsu, arguably the two best known Japanese composers, were perfect polar opposites. The two even had a friendly rivalry and would often comment (negatively) on each others works. I think the two knew that they represented opposite ends of the musical spectrum and fed off of that, to some degree.

Interegstingly, Hayasaka was one of Ifukube's best friends growing up, but Hayasaka went on to mentor Takemitsu. If you hear early Hayasaka, you hear a late romantic/nationalist idiom that is much closer to Ifukube. As Hayasaka progressed, his works became more modernist. His last major orchestral work, Yukara, is a serialist piece. I'm sure Ifukube would have been very dissapointed with Hayasaka for going down that route.

Yes, I'm sure you are right (re Hayasaka). You might like to try Yoshimatsu Symphony No 2 or No 1 - these are my favourites - very enjoyable if, perhaps, lacking in depth.
"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).

snyprrr

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Re: Japanese Composers
« Reply #79 on: July 21, 2009, 10:31:15 PM »
I just saw "The Burmese Harp". Was that an Ifukube score?