Traditional Music of Japan
I am happy to present Volume II of my CD Series: Traditional Japanese Music. Many of the traditional music of Japan were born in the City of Kyoto, the Ancient Capaital (Miyako)of Japan. The first of the nationally popular music, Heikyoku sang with the 'Talese of Heike' as it's lylic, was established under the strong influence of Shomyo sang in the ceremony in Buddhist temples of Tendai School in this city. In the IZUMISHIKIBU SONATA in Volume I,you may hear Tendai Syomyo using the tempered Piano keys. Heikyoku, in turn, gave a great influence to the melodies and lyrics of Noh play in Muromachi Period. In Azuchi/Momoyama Periods, Kabuki Odori ( the musical plays and dances for general public ) was invented. This led to the developement of the Kabuki drama and Kabuki Dance of today. From Kabuki dance, my Nagauta Ballet (Hananusubito) shown in this CD was derived. The lyics of Minyo ( Folk/Country music of Japan )stays locally, while their melodies travels from one place to another with only little developement or evolusion. For example, Oiwake melody was born in the region of the Ancient capital, Nara, and reached to Shinano River facing to Japan Sea. Through this river toward upstream, Oiwake reached to Komoro in the mountanous center of Japan ( cf. Toson Oiwake I composed shown in Volume IV ). Sansashigure from which I contructed my dance music ( Date no Goro Shigezane Namida no Shigure)stayed in the original region, Sendai,the northern city to Tokyo. I describe the details of the music shown in this volume further bellow. In this Volume, I present: (I) Farewell to Arms, the music for the theater dance involving the two strong warriors, Date no Goro Shigezane and Date Masamune, in the heavy war costumes. They enjoyed their teritorial fighting but noticed that all wars had to be ceased soon due to the arrival of the peace under the Edoshogunate. So, Shigezane wrote peaceful poem (Waka) in his resting time still hearing gunshot sounds of his soldiers and enemies. His master, Masamune, was pleased of the progress of Shigezane made and proposed to add the poem which Masamune thought proper to the Shigezane's poem to create the Minyo song which we hear now, Sansashigure. I reconstructed my music using these two poems in a different way: You hear Gun and Cannon shot sounds in my music(6:02). (II) Hananusubito ( Thief of the flower ) with Nagauta music which I consider the best candidate of the Nationalistic music( form )of Japan. Nagauta is the equivalent music of Japan to the Western orchestral and opera music which was developed in the end of the 19th Century. The combination of music and drama or dance tells many kind of stories which can be sweet but often traumaticaly tragic as well. The group play of Samisen, the most important traditional musical instrument, conveys tragic event and emotion more well than Western strings, for example, Violin and Guiter. Cello may be able to compete with Samisen music. In the presentation in this CD, I did not use Samisen nor Nagauta lyric. The theme of this music is related to the momory loss in old age which is a dificult motif in the Western musical tradition. Analytical Sensuousism which I named for my compositon allows to handle this sort of themes-(39:54). (III) Hermit Kogo in Sagano is Sonata, originally intended to be played by all flute Emsemble or Piano. My music introduces the episode of Kogo who was forced to become a nun by Taira no Kiyomori, the powerful head of the governing clan called Heike near the end of Heian Period. Heike Clan was defeated to the uprising of Genji Clan. The series of events including the final sea battle between the Heike and the Genji were sang in Heikyoku (Tales of Heike) which was established in the 13th Century. Kogo was a noted Koto player, and Nakakuni who searched for the hermit residence of Kogo in Sagano ( the Western field of the greater Kyoto ) following the order of his Master ( Emperor ) was an accomplished flutist. So, my music should be the most muical (musicful) scene in Heikyoku. The second Movement of the Sonata shows flute melody under the clear Moon and old pines in the gentle hills of Sagano-Nakakuni was on his horse strolling to search the sound of Koto being played by Kogo. The last Movement indicate Koto melody as my dirge to her at the Kogo monument. This dirge reflects the Koto play of Kogo who lived very long enough seeing the downfall of the Heike clan-(24:49).