On Monday, December 30, 2013
Japan: Gagaku, a collection of high-quality gagaku works courtesy of the Ono Gagaku Kai Society, one of the better private organizations dedicated to the preservation of an old art (the society dates back to the end of the 19th century, but the art is one of the older surviving musics known to man). Two of the three major divisions of gagaku are represented here, as kangen and bugaku forms are displayed to their fullest (instrumental and dance forms, as vocal/uta-mono is excluded from the album). The album opens with the standard piece of gagaku, "Etenraku." This gives the group some room to stretch out on the tuning-up period a bit and then move into the full instrumental glory of the work. A dance piece stemming from the Rg Veda follows, with a vaguely related longer one from western Asia following it. "Gakkaen" stands as one of the oldest pieces of music, recorded to be in use as early as 702 A.D., and is an interesting instrumental take on an old dance movement. "Bairo" is another work stemming from the Vedic culture, surrounding a prince Vairo-dhaka. The album closes with a dance work of Korean provenance, making even heavier use of the sho than the majority of the tracks (which is saying something in a gagaku ensemble). For newcomers to the rather otherworldly sound of gagaku, the recording of the Kyoto Imperial Court Orchestra on Lyrichord might prove a better introduction, given their virtuosity and encompassing of the full range. Japan: Gagaku is a fine album nonetheless, with able musicians providing a wealth of musical goodness in an ancient tradition.
MP3 files are available for a limited time only and are only provided for promotional use only. We support live music and we support by promoting the artists we love. If you'd like to see any file removed, please email us directly before alerting anyone else -- we'll gladly comply.