Gagaku and Beyond

COMPOSERS: Tokyo Gakuso
LABELS: Celestial Harmonies
PERFORMER: Tokyo Gakuso


TOKYO GAKUSO’s music is also a sample of something much longer, but totally un-fused. Gagaku, one of the oldest current traditions anywhere, uses substantial mixed groups like an orchestra or a gamelan. But it’s quite hard for Europeans to absorb, its subtle melodic inflection and rhythm easily blocked out by perceptions of extremely slow pace, everlasting unison lines and unvaried dynamics. What the group plays is based on instrumental pieces moving on to dances, and well explained in the booklet. Persist and you’ll find evolving colour and expression as haunting as Debussy.