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The International Shakuhachi Society

Japanese Koto Orchestra

Japanese Koto Orchestra

Lyrichord - LLST 7167

Track Title Kanji Length Shakuhachi Shamisen Koto
1 Otone no Nagare ni Sote 24'34

(Along the Grand Tone River) is a composition of Tsuyoshi Sakamoto and requires five kotos, hoteki, shamisen and shakuhachi. This piece is rarely played because of the great difficulty of assembling the necessary music talent. However, it is regarded as an outstanding example of koto music, and has no peer in sumptuous sonorities and excitement. The Tone is a river leading to the Sea of Japan and includes many short musical elements from Japanese folk songs. The I7-string koto acts as the undercurrent of the music, and the flute (hoteki) stands out to convey the peaceful atmosphere to the listener. I8-string kotos are used as percussive sounds, while the shamisen stresses the gentler aspects to relieve the tension, in accordance to tradition.
2 Nagare 11'00

(The Stream) is composed by Kazuko Tsukushi, the most talented woman in Japan who both composes and plays the koto. Nagare was composed in the 8th year of Showa, and is descriptive of small streams of Nikko - the streams leading to the temple of Chuzenji, which later combine with other streams to form the majestic waterfall of Kegon. This work is for koto ensemble exclusively.
3 Shochikubai 松竹梅 09'37

(Music of Pine, Bamboo and Plum Blossoms) is a trio for koto, shamisen and kokyu or shakuhachi. Today the kokyu is seldom heard because of its strange sound. The instrument looks like a shamisen with a violin bow, although the sound is quite different from that of any other string instrument.

This piece is composed by Mitsuhashi Koto, representative of the classic form of composition. Sho, the pine tree, represents ever-lasting prosperity. Chiku, the bamboo,. symbolizes formality and honesty; bai, the plum blossom, represents elegance. This music is gay and happy, and yet also elegant.

The Kokyu is played by Sadako Nishimura; the I7-string koto by Hiroko Mitsuike, and the shamisen by Shukin Noda. The koto ensemble is of the Ikuta School.

The International Shakuhachi Society - 2018