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Japan-Czech Inspiration

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This new CD from the Pilsen Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Chuhei Iwasaki, explores the links found between the music of Czech composer Leos Janacek, and Japanese composer Akira Ifukube.

"Folk song! I have lived in the heart of it ever since my childhood. A folk melody contains the whole of man ? his body, his soul, his environment, everything about him. He who is brought up on national music is growing up to become a complete human being. A folk song has one spirit, because it has within it a genuine human whose culture has been endowed by God, and not acquired from without."

With this emotional and utterly honest statement, Leos Janacek (1854?1928) summed up his lifelong fascination with folk song during a stay in London in 1926. Folk music was an important creative inspiration for the artists of the 19th and 20th centuries and was often associated with pride and nationalism. For Janacek, folklore was undoubtedly one of the essential resources of his work as a composer, which is reflected in the three orchestral works recorded here.

The same may be said for Akira Ifukube (1914-2006), one of the greatest composers of the contemporary music scene of his native country, who gave Western listeners an insight into Japanese musical culture. His own compositional style was strongly influenced by folkloric traditions, above all by the dance performances of the Ainu people, the indigenous inhabitants of the island of Hokkaido, which he often heard in his childhood. The world of traditional Japanese music is often distant to European audiences despite their genuine efforts to understand it. Ifukube's musical language catches the attention of listeners with its use of Japanese traditional modes and its renunciation of certain methods of European music, including triadic chords and repetitions of thematic material.


  1. Name
  2. Ifukube: Japanische Suite
  3. Janacek: Mahrische Tanze
  4. Janacek: Lachische Tanze
  5. Janacek: Suite fur Orchester, Op. 3
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