HUMIWO HAYASAKA (1914 - 1955)
Born in the
northeastern city of Sendai, the Japanese composer Humiwo Hayasaka was
self-taught as a musician, combining his interest in contemporary French music
and Gregorian chant with a feeling for the ancient music of Japan, in contrast with his friend and contemporary Ifukube. He made a significant living
from film music, notably collaborating with Kurosawa and Mizoguchi, in the
1950s seeking new techniques that might combine atonality with Japanese
hundred or more film scores include The Seven Samurai and Rashomon
for Akira Kurosawa and Chikamatsu Monogatari (The Crucified Lovers) and Ugetsu
(Tales of Moonlight and Rain) for Kenji Mizoguchi.
Concerto of 1948 may be heard as a homage to Ravel's Piano Concerto for
the Left Hand. The sombre first movement is an elegy for those lost in the
war, while the brighter second of the two movements uses Japanese scales as its
basis. The 1941 Ancient Dances on the Left and on the Right refers, in
its title, to the traditional Japanese bugaku, here with its symbolism
of East and West, sun and moon, day and night.