Nihon No Oto Ensemble

Japan: Traditional Chamber Music

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Before the 17th century, traditional Japanese classical music was mostly sung or performed solo, in particular after the arrival of the biwa, the shakuhachi, and the koto (in versions quite different from the modern ones we know today) from China around the eighth century. The biwa accompanied singers while the two others were played solo. In the 17th century the shamisen also arrived in Japan from China and quickly became popular, taking from the biwa a place it had occupied for a long time. Chamber music in which the shakuhachi and koto joined the shamisen, with the shamisen player singing, was created at that time. Solo pieces were arranged for this trio. This CD by the Nihon No Oto Ensemble gives music lovers an overview of Japanese classical music. Songs accompanied on biwa and shamisen, a shakuhachi duet, and a chamber music piece for shakuhachi, shamisen, koto, and voice are included. These pieces are performed by Japanese great masters: Junko Handa on biwa, Tadashi Tajima and Toshimitsu Ishikawa on shakuhachi, Hirokazu Fijii on shamisen, and Reiko Kimura on koto. A real taste of the Japanese musical spirit!

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