Japanese Guitar Music

TORU TAKEMITSU (1930-1996): A Song of Early Spring, HIROSHI HARA (1933-2002): Canto funèbre, AKIRA MIYOSHI (1933-2013): Epitase, 5 Poèmes, SHIN-ICHIRO IKEBE (b.1943): A Guitar Bears and She Keeps Hoping, Theme of Katja from the Film Spy Sorge, TOSHIO HOSOKAWA (b.1955): Serenade, 2 Japanese Folk Songs.

Catalogue Number: 01R058

Label: Naxos

Reference: 8.573457

Format: CD

Price: $11.98

Description: This appealing, surprisingly un-modern sounding (given the contemporary credentials of the composers) recital shows how the western classical guitar has been integrated into Japanese music, especially traditional melody. The Takemitsu is a harmonized transcription of a lovely melody by Akira Nakada, entirely tonal and Romantic. So is Hara's tripartite funeral song, which sounds like a harmonised Romantic-era melody although it is an original composition. Miyoshi's Cinq poèmes, true to their title, are French-influenced melodies, lyrical and songlike, western in harmony but structured as Haiku. His earlier Epitase is more complex and contemporary in style, with frequent changes of meter. Ikebe's atmospheric piece with its odd title was inspired by the idea of music-making in the Terezin concentration camp. A somber work, it alternates mournful melody with passages of vehemence and obsessive pedal notes and chordal repetitions. His Katja's Theme is from a film score, and returns to the melodic simplicity and straightforward tonality of much of this CD's programme. Hosokawa provides the only really 'modern' music here. His Serenade evokes the timbres and intonation of traditional Japanese instruments through extended techniques, microtonal inflections and pitch bending. The work is evocative and atmospheric, dreamlike and introspective. His arrangements of two Japanese songs are, like the Takemitsu, not typical of the composer's own idiom, skillfully and subtly adapting the traditional melodies for the idiom and techniques of the western instrument. Shin-ichi Fukuda (guitar).

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