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The music of five of Japan’s most prolific composers features on a new CD by pianists Tomoe Kawabata and Aura Go. Five Rocks in a Japanese Garden is a diverse and exciting collection of previously unrecorded and rarely-heard four-hand and two-piano music by Akio Yashiro, Akira Miyoshi, Tomojirō Ikenouchi, Atsutada Otaka and Shin-ichirō Ikebe.

Kawabata and Go have selected works that trace a fascinating lineage of Japanese composers. Tomojirō Ikenouchi was a mentor figure for many of Japan’s most significant composers of the 20th century, notable among them being Akio Yashiro and Akira Miyoshi. They in turn were instrumental in the musical education of Atsutada Otaka and Shin-ichirō Ikebe. A distinctly French influence can be heard in each of the works in this collection, stemming from Ikenouchi’s studies at the Paris Conservatoire in 1927-36. However, each composer pursued his own musical path, creating very different sound-worlds. This disc displays both the musical links across the generations, and the striking individuality that each composer brings to his art. It also explores the breadth of unique sonorities and colours that four hands, at one or two pianos, are capable of achieving -- in the hands of five masterful composers.

 

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