News & Reviews
- Tuesday, December 9, 2008
The reissue of the groundbreaking Nonesuch Explorer Series titles from Japan is now complete, with the recent addition of two more titles. The Independent exclaims, "It's wonderful that Nonesuch is reissuing the 92-LP Explorer Series, which put ethnomusicology on the map in the Seventies," and says of the recently reissued Koto Classics: "[I]t's wonderful to hear once more koto master Shinichi Yuize in his prime ... and these classic pieces display [the koto's] suggestive power to the full."
- Friday, November 14, 2008
"Never again will a record company essay what the producers of the Nonesuch Explorers did in 1967, bringing out a series of superb field recordings to make, eventually, a 92-record set," says The Scotsman in its five-star review of the two titles that marked the reissue of a number of Japanese Explorer Series albums on CD this fall: Koto Classics and Geza Music from the Kabuki. "The vinyl LPs ... brought to light a wealth of hitherto hidden traditions," says the review, and their return as remastered CDs "is simply wonderful, because much of this music—four decades on—is now either extinct or grievously debased."
About this Album
This contemplative solo set features Shinichi Yuize, known internationally as both a virtuoso koto player and a composer. He traces the history of one of the world's oldest instruments through these five compositions, performing haunting vocals on two of them.
The koto averages about six feet in length and ten inches in width, and has 13 strings of equal thickness made of wound, starched silk. There is one small bridge for each string. The strings are struck with three ivory picks, which are attached to the thumb, forefinger and middle finger of the player’s right hand. The date of the introduction into Japan of the koto (perhaps one of the oldest musical instruments of the world) is not quite certain. It may safely be said that several different types of koto were brought to Japan at different times during the early period of interchange with China that began in the early fifth century CE.
Shinichi Yuize, koto and voice
Originally released in 1966 (H-72008)
Produced by Peter K. Siegel
Recording Engineer: David B. Jones
Coordinator: Teresa Sterne
Re-mastered by Robert C. Ludwig
Design: Doyle Partners
Cover Photograph: © Burt Glinn/Magnum Photos. Japan, 1961. Pilgrims contemplate Mount Fuji at sunrise from a Buddhist Monastery lookout on top of Mount Sichimen.