HAYASAKA: Piano Concerto / Ancient Dances on the Left and on the Right
Well known in his native Japan as a composer of over 100 film scores, including the The Seven Samurai, and acknowledged by Takemitsu as one of his most formative influences, Humiwo Hayasaka sought to combine common elements of Western gregorian chant and Oriental, Gagaku-like melodies. His 1948 Piano Concerto is written in a romantic style suggestive of Chopin and Rachmaninov. The first movement is a requiem for his brother and an elegy for the victims of World War II. By way of contrast, the second movement is light-hearted and played staccato almost throughout. Ancient Dances on the Left and on the Right takes its inspiration from ancient Japanese courtly dance music, Bugaku, while the Overture in D moves forward relentlessly to a furioso conclusion that recalls the music of Stravinsky and of Hayasaka’s friend and fellow composer Akira Ifukube (Naxos 8.555071 and 8.557587).
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