This first record by the Yamato Ensemble offers four classical pieces from the classical Japanese repertoire, two of which are from the Jiuta repertoire, i.e., for Japanese trio (this typical trio includes a koto, a shamisen, and a shakuhachi, with voice). The two Jiuta pieces are rarely recorded pieces (at least rarely found on records available outside Japan). Stagg performs a solo piece, "Shika No Tone," one of the best-known and performed pieces of the repertoire for shakuhachi solo. The CD ends with "Yamaji," for koto and shakuhachi, a nicely melodic piece written in 1980 by Kozo Masuda for the renown Japanese koto player and composer Tadao Sawai and Katsuya Yokoyama. This CD is one of the rare records made outside Japan that presents traditional Japanese classical works (in fact, one of the few available outside Japan). For Japanese music lovers, it is a must.
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AllMusic Review by Bruno Deschênes