Naxos has great pleasure in sending greetings to composer Toshio Hosokawa who celebrates his 60th birthday on October 23.
Born in Hiroshima, Japan, Hosokawa studied composition in Germany from 1976 to 1986. Following his first appearance at the Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik in Darmstadt in 1980, he gradually built an international reputation, winning numerous awards and prizes along the way.
In August 2005, his orchestral work Circulating Ocean, which was commissioned by the Salzburg Festival, was premièred by the Vienna Philharmonic under Valery Gergiev and received its UK première the following year at the BBC Proms. The German première of the work took place in Berlin in 2007, with the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin conducted by Kent Nagano.
His Lotus under the Moonlight for piano and orchestra, which was commissioned by North German Radio (NDR) on the occasion of Mozart Year 2006, received its world première by the NDR Sinfonieorchester with soloist Momo Kodama and conductor Jun Märkl.
Japanese musicians have often taken the connection between man and nature as their theme and award-winning composer Toshio Hosokawa stands strongly in that artistic lineage. His HornConcerto ‘Moment of Blossoming’ imagines the solo instrument as a lotus flower and the orchestra as the cosmos. The theme of the blossoming lotus continues in the piano concerto Lotus under the moonlight and in the songful Chant for cello and orchestra, influenced by Shômyô singing (the ceremonial music of Japanese Buddhism). The Horn Concerto was co-commissioned by the Berlin Philharmonic, the Concertgebouw of Amsterdam and London’s Barbican Centre.
“Momo Kodoma, for whom Hosokawa wrote his piano concerto … holds us in thrall throughout; and while the music is again inspired by the lotus flower, distant allusions to the slow movement of Mozart’s 23rd Piano Concerto give it a more clearly defined outline, to which Märkl responds unreservedly, drawing magically delicate colours and rich textural intricacies from what is a profoundly attractive score.” – Gramophone
Listen to an extract from Lotus under the moonlight
Toshio Hosokawa is one of Japan’s most eminent living composers. The first volume in this series devoted to his orchestral works (8.573239) explores the idea of the blossoming lotus—“music as plant-like development and growth”—and continues here with Blossoming II for chamber orchestra. Woven Dreams traces the journey from womb to birth by employing techniques drawn from Gagaku, the ancient Japanese court music. Of Circulating Ocean the composer writes: “I am attempting to express in sound the flow and change of water… The ocean is for me the birthplace of life, a being possessed of infinite depth and expanse.”
“Performances and sound quality are all top-class.” – Fanfare
Listen to an extract from Circulating Ocean: Storm
The Berlin-based Japanese composer Toshio Hosokawa conceives of music as ‘a calligraphy of space and time’ and regards the flute as the instrument that can most deeply realise his musical ideas, the performer’s breath embodying the living power of sound enhanced by the equally expressive silence which surrounds it. The accomplished Icelandic flautist Kolbeinn Bjarnason, who has also studied shakuhachi music, conveys the essence of Hosokawa’s ‘musical calligraphy’, shaping sound and silence into deeply spiritual soundscapes for solo flute and within haunting instrumental textures.
The eminent Swiss-born, German-based clarinettist Eduard Brunner has had an immense influence on the development of modern repertoire for his instrument, commissioning and premièring an extraordinary number of new works from the world’s leading composers. His phenomenal technique underlies an adventurous approach to music without for an instant sacrificing its emotional impact, the absolute beauty of tone he produces or the thrill of discovering previously unheard sonorities. By turns exuberant, introspective and hypnotic, the works on this disc chart rewarding new territories for the inquisitive listener.