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Cat. No. CHAN 10202 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10202 - Yoshimatsu: The Age of Birds/ Cello Concerto/Chikap
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Available From: 10 May 2004
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


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