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CHAN 10202
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CHAN 10202

Yoshimatsu: The Age of Birds/ Cello Concerto/Chikap

The Classical Shop
release date: May 2004

Originally recorded in 2003


BBC Philharmonic

Sachio Fujioka

Peter Dixon



Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Manchester


Brian Pidgeon


Ralph Couzens



Stephen Rinker

Tom Parnell


Record Label


Orchestral & Concertos

Total Time - 65:14
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(b. 1953)
Select Complete Single Disc for
  premiere recordings  

The Age of Birds, Op. 25 (1986)

  for Orchestra  
  Dedicated to and commissioned by the Japan Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra  
1 I Sky 7:47
2 II Trees 5:03
3 III The Sun 7:01

Cello Concerto, Op. 91 'Centaurus Unit' (2003)*

  To Mr Peter Dixon  
4 I Moderato - Allegro - Andante - Allegro molto - 15:07
5 II Adagio - Andante - Moderato - Andante - Coda 9:43
6 III Finale/Rondo. Allegro molto - Moderato - 7:53

Chikap, Op. 14a (1981/2003)

  for Orchestra  
7 Part I. Andante - Poco più mosso - 5:40
8 Part II. Meno mosso - 1:44
9 Part III. Moderato - Tempo I 5:16
This is the latest release in Chandos’ survey of the complete orchestral works of its exclusive composer in residence,Takashi Yoshimatsu.

The conductor Sachio Fujioka has had great success with Yoshimatsu’s music both in concert and on disc and works closely with the composer who is always present at the recording sessions.

Peter Dixon is the BBC Philharmonic’s Principal Cellist and, following his debut as soloist at the Royal Festival Hall in Walton’s Cello Concerto in 1991, has performed and recorded regularly as soloist with the orchestra. He is a regular adjudicator of BBC’s Young Musician of the Year and a coach for the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. He has performed as soloist with the BBC Philharmonic on discs of music by Martin, Fauré, Korngold and Glière.

Yoshimatsu draws from both Western and Eastern cultures in his appealing and accessible music.

All the works on this CD here receive their premiere recording.

The Age for Birds is the final work of Yoshimatsu’s ‘Bird Trilogy’ (the others being Threnody to Toki, 1980, and Chikap, 1981). The work is special to the composer as it was written in response to his first orchestral commission, from the Japan Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra. ‘Chikap’ means ‘bird’ in the language of the Ainu, the aboriginal people of Hokkaido, Japan. The original work was written for flute orchestra but has been arranged for full orchestra for this recording.

Yoshimatsu writes that he associates the cello with the human body, for not only does the shape resemble a torso, but the range of sound is similar to that of a human, particularly male, voice. The composer’s fascination with the cello is inextricably bound up with his love of Bach’s and Dvorák’s writing for the instrument, the sound of the Biwa or Japanese lute, the chanting of sutras by Buddhist monks, the reciting of the Koran, and Kenji Miyazawa’s fairytale Gorsch, the Cellist. Yoshimatsu gave his Cello Concerto, Op. 91, which incorporates all these images, the title Centaurus Unit, envisioning the upper body of the performer as being that of a human (the cellist) and the lower half as being that of a brown horse (the cello). The bow and end pin of the cello represent the bow and arrow of the mythical beast. The work is one of a series of three works based on mythical creatures, the other two being the Guitar Concerto Pegasus Effect and the Bassoon Concerto Unicorn Circuit. The work was composed in 2003 and dedicated to the cellist Peter Dixon, who premiered the work in Japan and who performs the work on this disc.

'Chandos' championship of Yoshimatsu's music continues with these world premiere recordings. The Age of Birds is the atmospheric, richly scored final work of his 'Bird Trilogy', of which Chikap (the word for bird in the Ainu aboriginal language) is the second. The Cello Concerto is a dark, pensive work, not for the casual listener. Exemplary sound engineering.'
Classic FM Magazine

'This [cello concerto, etc.] is an offhand and inelegant designation for some singularly elegant music' with Peter Dixon as soloist in this striking work which is deceptive in its apparently innocuous tonality.' 'St John's Choristers are especially sweet and emotive, and his men aren't as hooty-sounding as some. The boys' pure and floating top end made for many a spinal tingle. The soloists are excellent - particularly Yvonne Kenny - and the English Chamber Orchestra plays beautifully, as usual.'
International Record Review

H Christiansen