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Japanese Love Songs / Kobayashi, Delangle, Geoffroy


Release Date: 07/28/2009 
Label:  Bis   Catalog #: 1630   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Masakazu NatsudaToshio HosokawaAkira IfukubeFuminori Tanada,   ... 
Performer:  Marie KobayashiClaude DelangleJean Geoffroy
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 20 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



JAPANESE LOVE SONGS Marie Koyabashi (sop); 1 Claude Delangle (sax); 2 Jean Geoffroy (perc) 3 BIS 1630 (82:08 Text and Translation)


NATSUDA 2 Poems by Ryokan. 1,2,3 HOSOKAWA 3 Love Songs. 1,2 Read more IFUKUBE Eclogues after Eros among the Ainu Races. 1,3 TANADA Duo. 1,2 NODA Improvisation No. 1. 2 NODAIRA Dashu no sho. 1,2 LARBI Matsukaze. 1,2,3 DUBEDOUT Ça va commencer ça commence. 1,2 T¯Oson Kimi ga kororo wa 1,3


Even though I’ve lived a bit in Japan, I’d only met one of these composers, and only knew the work of a couple. But when one looks at the provenance of the program, it becomes a little clearer why this might be. Delangle, Koyabashi, and Geoffroy have chosen composers who work in one way or another on a Franco-Japanese axis. Natsuda studied at the Paris Conservatoire; Tanada is the pianist for the group L’Itinéraire ; Nodaira was the pianist for the Ensemble Contemporaine before returning to Tokyo and developing a brilliant career there; Noda is himself a saxophonist who studied in France; Larbi and Dubedout are themselves French; Hosokawa, though he lives in Germany, is a European fixture, in a sort of self-imposed exile from Japan. The only “outsiders seem to be Ifukube, who is recently deceased, and T?son, a poet from the turn of the last century whose work is recited with percussion accompaniment at the disc’s end as a sort of epilogue.


Enough for the background. These commonalities I think also lead to certain common features in the music. While there are different personalities that emerge, the overall tone of the music is floating, pulseless, often in a state of gently sustained intensity. There is scrupulous attention paid to gradations of phrasing, breath, color, and texture. The general effect of the vocal music tends to be that of a sort of heightened recitative. And all the works on the program that follow this agenda do so well, though I admit they don’t pop out at me as much as certain others. Those others follow below:


Toshio Hosokawa (b. 1955) comes closest to a classic Japanese aesthetic, where his elegantly stripped-down sounds remind one of similar gestures from shomyo chant and shakuhachi flute music, without aping them. Akira Ifukube (1914–2006) strikes me as a quite original composer. His Eclogues (1956) is a setting of love lyrics from the aboriginal Ainu people of the northern island of Sapporo (it’s unclear if the actual tunes are Ainu as well or invented by the composer). While these tend to feel a bit “cleaned up” in comparison to what the originals may sound like, they are still fresh and engaging, and above all Stravinskian in sound. Fuminori Tanada (b. 1961) presents an invigorating vocalise, where the saxophone and voice merge and heterophonically ornament one another to create a sort of “meta line.” And Ichiro Nodaira (b. 1953) writes by far the most energetic and gnarly music, its explosiveness suggestive of Boulez, a mentor of sorts from his Paris days.


These are excellent performances. Delangle plays soprano, alto, and tenor sax in the course of the entire program, and his timbral mastery of each makes them all seem very much one meta instrument. Koyabashi and Geoffroy are completely in control of their music as well. But I suspect this disc will appeal most to those with specialized tastes for either Japanese music or saxophone literature.


FANFARE: Robert Carl
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Works on This Recording

1. Poems (2) by Ryokan by Masakazu Natsuda
Performer:  Marie Kobayashi (Mezzo Soprano), Claude Delangle (Saxophone), Jean Geoffroy (Percussion)
Period: 20th Century 
2. Love Songs (3) by Toshio Hosokawa
Performer:  Marie Kobayashi (Mezzo Soprano), Claude Delangle (Alto Saxophone)
Period: 20th Century 
3. Eclogues after Epos Among Ainu Races: no 1, Song of an old woman by Akira Ifukube
Performer:  Marie Kobayashi (Mezzo Soprano), Jean Geoffroy (Percussion)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1956; Japan 
4. Duo by Fuminori Tanada
Performer:  Claude Delangle (Soprano Saxophone), Marie Kobayashi (Mezzo Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
5. Improvisation no 1 by Ryo Noda
Performer:  Claude Delangle (Alto Saxophone)
Period: 20th Century 
6. Eclogues after Epos among Ainu Races: no 2, Song of a bird dying... by Akira Ifukube
Performer:  Marie Kobayashi (Mezzo Soprano), Jean Geoffroy (Percussion)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1956; Japan 
7. Dashu no sho by Ichiro Nodaira
Performer:  Marie Kobayashi (Mezzo Soprano), Claude Delangle (Alto Saxophone)
Period: 20th Century 
8. Eclogues after Epos among Ainu Races: no 3, Dancing song of a girl and a witch by Akira Ifukube
Performer:  Marie Kobayashi (Mezzo Soprano), Jean Geoffroy (Percussion)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1956; Japan 
9. Matsukaze by Hacene Larbi
Performer:  Marie Kobayashi (Mezzo Soprano), Claude Delangle (Saxophone), Jean Geoffroy (Percussion)
Period: 20th Century 
10. Ca va commencer ca commence by Bertrand Dubedout
Performer:  Claude Delangle (Soprano Saxophone), Marie Kobayashi (Mezzo Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
11. Kimi ga kokoro wa "Your Heart" by Bertrand Dubedout
Performer:  Marie Kobayashi (Mezzo Soprano), Jean Geoffroy (Percussion)
Period: 20th Century 

Sound Samples

2 Poems by Ryokan: No. 1. Awayuki no... (Light Snow)
2 Poems by Ryokan: Interlude
2 Poems by Ryokan: No. 2. Yume no yoni (Like A Dream)
3 Love Songs: No. 1. Kurai michi (A Dark Road)
3 Love Songs: No. 2. Omoide (Memory)
3 Love Songs: No. 3. Hotaru (Firefly)
Eclogues after Epos Among Ainu Races: No. 1. Shine onne ekashi kor shinotcha (Song of an old woman)
Duo
Improvisation I
Eclogues after Epos Among Ainu Races: No. 2. Yaishama ne na (Song of a bird dying in the Northern Sea)
Dashu no sho
Eclogues after Epos Among Ainu Races: No. 3. Ku-taxkara kusu (Dancing song of a young girl and a witch)
Matsukaze
Ca va commencer ca commence
Kimi ga kokoro wa (Your Heart)

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