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Landscapes

4 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Audio CD, October 24, 2011
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Product Details

  • Performer: Mayumi Miyata
  • Orchestra: Münchener Kammerorchester
  • Conductor: Alexander Liebreich
  • Composer: Toshio Hosokawa
  • Audio CD (October 24, 2011)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: ECM
  • ASIN: B005CYMB1K
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #331,291 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
The sho is a Japanese reed instrument with a striking sound, capable of maintaining a drone like an organ but with a delicacy and finesse. To Western listeners, its spooky tone clusters are both fearsomely avant-garde and ethereally beautiful. No contemporary composer has shown as much interest in this instrument as Toshio Hosokawa, and no sho player has shown as much interest in the avant-garde as Mayumi Miyata. The two have collaborated on many occasions, and this ECM disc presents some Hosokawa works for the instrument. On three pieces, Alexander Liebreich leads the Munich Chamber Orchestra.

Though Japanese, Hosokawa studied in Germany and his music represents the Central European modernist trend as much as anything Asian. With this background, one might expect him to have little to do with an typical ECM sound, but "Sakura for Otto Tomek" for sho solo (2008) really does fit right in the classic European jazz of Manfred Eicher's label. Out of the sheen-like drone of the instrument, stepwise melodies gradually appear. The entire proceedings are slow, and somewhat poignant, and I was reminded of the playing of French accordionist Richard Galliano that I had heard on this label before.

Hosokawa is more concerned with ambiance and slow chordal progressions than clear themes or development. "Cloud and Light" (2008) combines the sho with orchestra. Its form is extremely simple, a first part that is slow and merges both sho and strings into a single texture, until ultimately the brass appear to striking effect. After a silence that lasts several seconds, the listener is then plunged into more chaotic music. This too fades into silence, only to return us to the sound of the work's beginning.
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