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Hayasaka: Piano Concerto / Ancient Dances On The Left And On The Right
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Hayasaka: Piano Concerto / Ancient Dances On The Left And On The Right

26 Sept. 2006 | Format: MP3

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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 26 Sept. 2006
  • Label: Naxos
  • Copyright: (C) 2006 Naxos
  • Total Length: 52:52
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001LYK83S
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 477,377 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Davis VINE VOICE on 12 Nov. 2006
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The long opening movement of Hayasaka's Piano Concerto, written in memory of his brother and the victims of war is one of the best new discoveries I have made in a long time. It is deeply moving, brooding and heartfelt music that should appeal to admirers of Rachmaninov/Prokofiev/Chopin, although the style is quite different and in no way derivative. I find myself playing it repeatedly. It is a memorable and poignant work written in a late-romantic, but still contemporary idiom.

This is beautiful music music that should be given wider exposure. The other pieces on the CD are all worthwhile and, at bargain price, this remains irresistable. Recommended with great enthusiasm.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Another great addition to Naxos's JAPANESE CLASSICS series 1 Oct. 2006
By Erik Homenick - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
***Reviewer's note: For this Naxos release, the composer's first name has been transliterated as "Humiwo." For my review, I will use the more common transliteration of his name, "Fumio."

Fumio Hayasaka (1914 - 1955) is best remembered today for his film scores, having been Akira Kurosawa's (Rashomon, The Seven Samurai) principal composer during the early 1950's. To that end, this new installment of Naxos's JAPANESE CLASSICS series is long overdue; finally, we have a recording of Hayasaka's lesser known concert works, and what gems they are.

The disc opens with Hayasaka's melodic two-movement PIANO CONCERTO of 1948. The first movement (Lento) is slow and moody (sounding a lot like Rachmaninov at times), yet never lugubrious. (Apparently, this first movement was dedicated to the composer's late brother and the Japanese victims of World War II.) Towards the end, the music builds to a brief intensity before reverting to its original calm heaviness. The second movement (Rondo) is in sharp contrast , however, with its rollicking main theme and irresistible cheeriness. There are moments of rhythmic drive a la Akira Ifukube (Hayasaka's Japanese composer friend and colleague) as well as orchestral capriciousness not unlike Jacques Ibert's famous DIVERTISSEMENT. The second movement ends festively and assuredly.

Next up we encounter ANCIENT DANCES ON THE LEFT AND ON THE RIGHT (1941). This work takes its inspiration from "bugaku," the ancient court music of Japan. While this music is definitely evocative of Japan's musical antiquity, it has a modern directness about it and thus, to me, sounds like it could have been pulled from one of Hayasaka's film scores. (The Seven Samurai, maybe?) ANCIENT DANCES begins with woodwinds and percussion before segueing into richer orchestral passages. As the piece progresses, it works its way into a dance-like frenzy before abruptly calming and fading into nothing.

Rounding off this album is the bolero-like OVERTURE IN D (1939). While undoubtedly superficial, this is joyous, rhythmically driven music. With its constant forward motion, brassy boldness and syncopated cadences, Hayasaka's OVERTUTRE certainly can't hide its influences from Akira Ifukube. In other words, it's a fun work and brings the recording to a merry close.

Conductor Dmitry Yablonsky and his Russian Philharmonic Orchestra are in great shape on this disc. They play very solidly and with lots of bang and vehemence when needed. Additionally, pianist Hiromi Okada gives a sensitive and laudable performance on the PIANO CONCERTO.

Naxos's sound engineering here is, as usual, fantastic. All together, this is a worthwhile and approachable release and probably one of the best in the on-going JAPANESE CLASSICS series. Recommended.
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Desperately dull music 5 Nov. 2009
By G.D. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Naxos's Japanese classics has turned a lot of soil to come up with some really obscure music, but has at the same time unearthed some real gems. Enter Humiwo Hayasaka (1914-1955), most famous for his film music (if anything), and we reach what is quite frankly a low end. Stylistically you'll find much of the same in the infinitely superior composers Akutagawa and Ifukube, so if you are considering this disc but don't know the latter composers you can stop reading now and go there instead. For those who persist, Hayasaka's piano concerto in two movements is strongly influenced by Russian music (roughly) of the time - Rachmaninov (or Tchaikovsky) in the first movement, Prokofiev in the second, but the music is nowhere close to being memorable or even particularly enjoyable. The first movement is simply cloying; this is oversweetened, sentimentally tear-dripping music without a single good idea, and Hayasaka attempts to drag it out interminably for over twenty minutes. I have heard several attempts at writing piano concertos in a Rachmaninov vein - most trying to overdo the Russian master in terms of emotion and desperation - it is rarely successful, but Hayasaka's attempt is one of the most feeble I have encountered yet. The second movement is an upbeat dance which is never even close to taking flight, remaining firmly rooted in banality with boring thematic material being flogged on with little sense of development. It is superior to the first movement primarily for being shorter. I don't think there is anything with Hiromi Okada's tackling of the soloist part - he seems to have the stamina and technical resources required, and he delivers a committed performance with a clear sense of a strong (and misdirected) belief in the music.

The Ancient Dances on the Left and on the Right is named after a traditional Japanese Dance and incorporates folk-like themes. It is more interesting than the concerto, but with a very limited compositional range, and the result is unfortunately rather dull and overlong. The Overture in D sounds like fifth-rate Khachaturian. The Russian Philharmonic Orchestra under Dmitry Yablonsky plays everything as if they believed in it (which they might), so no complaints there. The sound quality is fine as well, but the end result is for the especially interested only. Again, if you seek spirit and flair and genuine inspiration in music that bear some stylistic similarities, go for Akutagawa or Ifukube. This one can be passed over without regrets.
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