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NA 7688
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NA 7688

FUKAI: Chantes de Java / Creation / Quatre Mouvements Parodiques

The Classical Shop
release date: November 2008


Dmitry Yablonsky


Alexander Karasev

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Total Time - 46:49
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4 Mouvements Parodiques

1 I. Falla: Modere 4:38
2 II. Stravinsky: Vif et rythme 1:54
3 III. Ravel: Assez lent 3:03
4 IV. Roussel: Anime 6:19


5 I. Naissance de dieux 3:55
6 II. Naissance de etres vivants 2:46
7 III. Naissance de etres humains 11:26

Image Symphonique, "Chantes de Java" (Symphonic Picture, "Songs of Java")

 Dmitry Yablonsky

The Japanese composer Shiro Fukai allied himself firmly with French musical traditions, absorbing, in particular, the musical language of Ravel. The latter’s Bolero is echoed in the crescendo of Chantes de Java, with its repeated theme, while Ravel, Falla, Stravinsky and Roussel provide the inspiration for the Quatre mouvements parodiques. The ballet Création, an amalgam of ancient Japanese imperial dance music, vaulting rhythms and opulent orchestral sonorities, was commissioned, together with other works by Japanese and foreign composers, to celebrate the 2600th year of Japanese imperial rule.

 "Japanese composer Shiro Fukai (1907-59) was apparently better known in his native country for his nearly 200 film scores than his classical compositions, though he was thought of highly enough to be among those receiving a commission in celebration of the 2600th Year of the Emperor (not a single emperor, of course, but the anniversary of Imperial rule) in 1940. The resulting work, a ballet score entitled Creation, is included here. Illustrating several Japanese creation myths and concluding in the (then) present, the music does adapt at least one traditional mode from the ages­old court music gagaku, though the primary impression it makes is not via styles indigenous to the island, but rather Ravel and early Stravinsky. Fukai’s Francophilia is audible in the rest of this program as well; his Parodies are dedicated to Falla, Stravinsky, Ravel, and Roussel, respectively, and though not exactly mimicry, they touch on enough points of stylistic similarity to suit the title. Program annotator Morihide Katayama characterizes Fukai as a Modernist, but one that avoided the adopted artistic "savagery" of early Modernism (and the starkness of traditional Japanese folk and court music) in favor of a French-influenced manner of sweetness and light. This may account for Fukai’s renaming one of the movements from an earlier version of the work, changing the dedication from Bartok to Roussel, apparently without altering a note of the music. (A movement dedicated to Malipiero was removed completely.) Though Katayama also cites Bolero as an influence on the Songs of Java’s gradual crescendo, Fukai’s colorful orchestration outdoes even Ravel, with chiming percussion reflecting Javanese gamelan, a brief but prominent part for saxophone, and even something approaching an insistent jazz riff in the brass. (In a curious editorial gaffe, Naxos labels both Creation and Songs of Java as "World Premiere Recordings," though Katayama’s notes mention a recording of the latter being popular in wartime Japan.) The recorded sound is good, and the performances do the job, although additional rehearsal time might have helped bring out a bit more of the music’s color and flair. Fukai’s music often has a familiar ring to it, but that actually enhances, and not distracts from, what is a pleasant divertissement."

Art Lange - Fanfare - January 2007

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