Japan has been on our minds.
Since I've been on a theme of music from the far-east recently, I ought to continue it with a few albums of Japanese music. This is a really beautiful, quite accessible album, totally recommended if you have been interested by any of the Chinese & Vietnamese stuff that I've posted. Though of course it's different too. Sonically, it is like a cat prancing from roof to slanted roof in the middle of a rainstorm. Emotionally it runs the gamut from serenely delicate to luscious and wet to stark and cold. Apart from one flute duet, it's mostly solo Koto, which is just fantastic for cordophiles like myself. Listen to this music at night, and then go take a midnight walk and smell the plum and cheery trees coming into blossom. There is a full gleaming moon in this music, I promise you.
Tomoko Sunazaki - Tegoto: Japanese Koto Music
This splendid collection of recordings covers a wide spectrum of Japanese koto music; the compositions span three centuries, from ancient traditional to modern Western influenced pieces. Undoubtedly, the most impressive element of the releases is the artist herself, the world renowned Tomoko Sunazaki. She is internationally recognized as a master of the Japanese koto. From the age of six, Sunazaki was trained in the direct lineage of the famous koto performer and composer, Michio Miyagi. At the age of 14, she had already earned her teacher's license in koto from the Ikuta School. Later she earned her Bachelor and Master degrees at the Tokyo University of Fine Art, and subsequently joined the faculty there. In 1981, Madame Sunazaki was awarded a teaching degree from the Miyagi Koto school, which is a rare honor.
Michio Miyagi's works are an integral part of each of the releases in this collection, performed with respect and devotion. Miyagi was one of the first to integrate Western inspiration into koto music, an aspect Madame Sunazaki found especially important. By recording traditional Japanese music, Western classics, and the delicate blend of both, she hoped to expand the perceived limitations of the koto.
Drawing from Sound of Silk Strings (1984), Spring Night (1984) and Moon at Dawn (1986) this compilation CD presents a delicious sampling of Sunuzaki's most elegant and most exciting performances.
Special note should be taken of the beautiful release Tegoto: Japanese Koto Music. From the stunning rice paper booklet to the choice of titles, this compilation is clearly an artistic masterpiece. This sampling of Madame Sunazaki's most elegant and exciting performances is the perfect choice for the audiophile interested in koto music.
Review by Backroads Music/Heartbeats
This 60-minute CD-only release is a compilation from Mme. Sunazaki's tapes, plus one cut from Moon at Dawn (her duet with M. Koga). Ms. Sunazaki is a master of the koto, and the music is graceful and serene.
1 Sea of Spring - Miyagi - 6:56
2 London No Yoru No Ame [London in a Rainy Night] - Miyagi - 3:51
3 Shinsencho Bukyoku - Yuize - 9:37
4 Koto Tanshishu - Miki - 9:53
5 Tegoto - Miyagi - 12:26
6 Mittsu No Dansho - Nakanoshima, Nakonoshima - 9:08
7 Kamimu - Sunazaki, Yamamoto - 8:05
8 Midare - Kengyo, Sunazaki - 7:48
snow melts on high mountains. or alternate link
mp3 vbr | w/o cover