We take a winter journey through Lake Biwa, the biggest lake in Japan, to Kyoto. In the ancient capital, we will celebrate "Setsubun", one of the spring festivals. Lake Biwa serves as a reservoir for the cities such as Kyoto and Osaka. It provides drinking water for about 15 million people in the Kansai region. On the lakeside people have been enjoying unique lifestyle with abundant body of water. Setsubun is the day before the beginning of spring in Japan. We will visit an old temple in Kyoto, and join a special ritual to cleanse away all the evil of the former year and drive away disease-bringing evil spirits for the year to come.
In the early 70's, jazz pianist and composer Hiromasa 'Colgen' Suzuki and his self-titled trio (with Kunimitsu Inaba on bass and Hideo Sekine on drums) started working on a project of musicians which should have made a lengthy series of concept albums mixing jazz rock and world music called Rock Joint. Musicians that worked around this albums were more of jazz background and some of the musicians stayed in the line-up of both albums released as Rock Joint projects even though the style of music was slightly different; first 'Rock Joint Biwa' was centered around the japanese instrument biwa, giving a fresh feel to album's early jazz influenced psychedelic rock (conceptually inspired by mythology in the ancient book Furukotofumi), while the second one 'Rock Joint Cither' was oriented around sitar and Indian music…
Performed by various soloists with the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra conducted by Ryusuke Numajiri. Recorded both in analog and digital versions in the Japanese double-CD release. "Twill by Twilight" is a harmonically and timbrally lush work, which often evokes the tone painting breadth of Debussy and the crystalline delicacy of Webern, an outpouring of "pastel coloring…reminders of the transient nature of twilight, before the coming night and after the sunset" (Takemitsu). It is dedicated to "the memory of my dear friend Morton Feldman." Takemitsu described the work's sub-structure as developed "through strictly measured musical units, through what might be called musical principles before a melody is constituted or before a rhythm is formed." This is a very apt metaphor applicable to Morton Feldman's own compositional style. The small and broad cyclicism of the rhythm patterns in Takemitsu's work is however much more hidden – a kind of phased, elastic, non-clockwork repetition with imaginative variations.
While this LP and this type of music in general is usually for devoted fans, The Ensemble Nipponia makes this an interesting experience.