What enchanting sounds! Stopped horns with clarinets, string trills in pianissimo unison with muted brass instruments, then the vibraphone, the celesta, and two harps. For Masao Tanibe this production fulfills a heart’s desire. The cosmopolitan guitar virtuoso studied in Europe but has remained true to his cultural roots. The blending of Japanese composition and European orchestral tradition scores an exhilarating success with the Erzgebirge Philharmonic of Aue under its principal conductor Naoshi Takahashi, and the finely attuned SACD ideally enhances this symbiosis in 2+2+2 sound. A discovery!
Toru Takemitsu is a magician of instrumentation. A gigantic orchestra accompanies the tender tones of the solo guitar in “To the Edge of a Dream,” performed on this richly colored SACD by the virtuoso Masao Tanibe. Combined with “Voyage IX – Awakening” by Toshio Hosokawa and the concerto “Northern Sail” by Hikaru Hayashi, the result is a captivating audio depiction of today’s leading generation of Japanese composers in the genre of the guitar concerto.
Exotic harmony contributes its special glow to the rich color in Takemitsu’s score. Discords melt into pure color – a fascinating listening experience! Masao Tanibe’s flawlessly virtuosic guitar playing wonderfully harmonizes with the highly imaginative sound collages suggesting distant associations with Maurice Ravel or Claude Debussy.
Toshio Hosokawa deals much more economically with the orchestra: a mere two percussionists team up with the strings. Yet here too Far Eastern musical magic is the result: Japanese wind chimes functioning as springtime harbingers emit an exquisite Asian color. And then, when the solo guitar is to be played like a koto, the Japanese illusion is perfect. The accompaniment in Hikaru Hayashi’s concerto is entirely limited to string instruments; the influence of American masters of string orchestra composition is clearly audible.