Over the next few weeks I will be away in Japan celebrating my birthday and thought that the perfect accompaniment would be to highlight some of my favorite Japanese composers and musicians over the rest of the month.
Japan has always been a place of interest for me because of its unique culture which always came across as distant and exciting when I was growing up. Its this culture and ideology that has permeated through all forms of Japanese art. Creating distinctive works from all mediums that could only originate from japan and music is no exception.
I start with a mix of two mediums, Joe Hisaishi is a composer best known for his collaboration with Studio Ghibli, creating the soundtracks for many of their animated films over the past twenty three years. His compositions provide the perfect accompaniment to the beautiful vistas and detailed close ups drawn in all of studio Ghiblis work with my favorite of them all being the theme One Summers Day from spirited away.
There is a style to several Japanese composers that manage to create a beauty and also a longing that is reminiscent of the romantic era but with a stoicism and restraint that clearly comes from the culture. One Summers Day has this beautiful melody on piano that manages to feel both wistful and yet optimistic, accompanied by orchestral arrangement to extenuate both emotions and create a piece that holds up on its own as well as being a perfect summery of the themes within Spirited Away.
One Summers Day: