Japanese Traditional Music: Gagaku, Buddhist Chant...

WA 2009CD WA 2009CD

...Kokusai Bunka Shinkokai,1941. 2022 restock. First in a series of 78 restorations, this one focuses on gagaku & Buddhist chant. Beautiful, lost-in-time recordings -- produced to perfection from one of the world's greats. An extensive anthology of traditional Japanese music was recorded around 1941-1942 by Kokusai Bunka Shinkô-kai: International Organization for the Promotion of Culture. KBS was established under the Ministries of Education and Foreign Affairs in 1934 for cultural exchange between Japan and foreign countries. In 1972 it became the Japan Foundation, under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. KBS activities ranged from lectures, concerts, artistic and academic exchange, publishing books, photos, to producing films and records, establishing libraries and related cultural facilities abroad, among them this record set of traditional Japanese music. Gagaku ("elegant music") is the oldest surviving musical tradition, with a history of more than 1,300 years. It has been developed and passed down, strongly associated with imperial court cultures. Gagaku in current practice may be divided into three categories, by origin and style; 1) indigenous vocal and dance repertoires, primarily performed in the Shinto ceremonies accompanied by several Japanese indigenous and foreign instruments; 2) foreign instrumental music and dances, tôgaku (music of Chinese origin) and komagaku (music of Korean origin) used in various court, Buddhist, and Shinto ceremonies, which consist of various instruments brought from the Asian continent; and 3) vocalized Japanese or Chinese poetry, saibara and rôei established in 9th century Japan, mainly enjoyed by high-ranking noblemen in rather informal court ceremonies. In the words of World Arbiter's Allan Evans: "Current gagaku sounds brittle, easily cracked, very delicate. And in 1941 they used fewer performers but have a solidity, a weight. They were carrying on a tradition that was part of an immortal empire, a vision of permanence. Four years later it was over." In 1942, a set of sixty 78 rpm discs documenting the most authentic traditions in Japanese music was privately issued. Due to the war and neglect, few copies survive. This disc marks the beginning of its restoration.