An Evening in the Village : Bartok (1881-1945) Hungary
The fifth music piece of „10 Easy Pieces” was composed in 1908, when Bartok was in his twenties. He visited his birth-place, the South Transylvania region and collected a lot of old Hungarian local songs there and took notes of them. (The region belongs to Romania since the end of World War I.) He arranged many of the songs and published them. The original Hungarian title of this piece is „Este a Székelyeknél” which means „an evening at the Székely-s”. ’Székely’ is a big subgroup of the Hungarian people living in the Transylvania region. Bartok loved this work very much and arranged the work for orchestra and left many recordings of this work played by himself. Although he had spent his life in Hungary mostly, he moved to the US during World War II and died there in 1945. His ashes were brought back to Hungary and the state funeral was held in July 1988, in the last year of the communist government era.
Three Hungarian Folksongs from the Csίk region : Bartok (1881-1945) Hungary
Csik region is also one part of Transylvania, which was taken away from Hungary and was annexed to Romania after World War 2. Bartok was charmed by the melody of this piece which a man played with the flute named tilinkó having no finger aperture. He firstly arranged the music for flute and piano, then arranged for solo piano. Tilinkó is a music instrument made of the peel of poplar and willow. Tilinkó has been being played in the Transylvania region for a long time and was used for chasing sheep. There are so many excellent players of this instrument in Hungary.
Lullaby of Itsuki : Japanese folk song (Arranged by Koji Uno)
The lullaby has been inherited for a long time in Itsuki Village, Kuma District, Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan. This one is different from general lullabies sung for laying children. The lullaby was sung by the babysitters from the poor families which couldn’t have fed the children. The content of the text is “My task of services for master and mistress (including nursing) is very painful. I would like to go back to my parents. I envy rich people like my master and mistress.”
Kokirikobushi : Japanese folk song (Arranged by Koji Uno)
It is said that this folk song inherited in Gokasan, Toyama Prefecture is the oldest folk song in Japan. Although this song had almost disappeared once, Yaso Saijo (Japanese poet, songwriter, scholar of French literature) took note of this song from only one singer who could sing this song and succeeded in reviving it at the beginning of the Showa age (late 1920s). Kokiriko is the Japanese folk instrument made of bamboo, which is similar to clave. The instrument is played by beating two pieces together. The music is sung by the accompaniment of the Kokiriko, sasara (instrument made of many pieces of wooden plates strung together with a cotton cord), kuwagane (percussion instrument played by beating iron hoe with wooden stick), yokobue (Japanese flute)and taiko (Japanese drum) . The music is played for the dance performed for the purpose of the pray for having staple grains and abundant harvest.
Danny Boy Folk Song : in Ireland
It is well known that the
England region of the UK is a treasure trove of beautiful Irish folk songs.
This music is one of the old folk songs in Northern Ireland. It is believed
that the original name of this song, “Londonderry song” came from that this
song had been collected and was taken note of in Londonderry State; however it
is not clear whether it is true.
After a dream : Faure (1845-1924) France
The first song of “Three songs, Op.7”. The music composed for the text of Romain Bussine, a French poet. The original poem came from Toscana region of Italy. The content is the following: I met a marvelous female person and I had mysterious experience in the dream. After awaking from the dream only thing which I desire is to return her to me Faure is one of the greatest composers of France. He left behind a lot of fine music works. He composed many kinds of music and it is believed that his small-scale music works (chamber music, solo piano and vocal music) are more excellent than his large-scale orchestra works.
Vocalise : Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) Russia
Vocalise is a song sung with one vowel. This work is the last piece of “14 Songs, Op. 34” for voice (soprano or tenor) with piano accompaniment. The text was written by Marietta Sergeevna Shaginian, a Russian writer in 1912. The song was sung only with one vowel of ‘A’. This music has been arranged for many different instrument combinations including orchestra version by so many people including Rachmaninoff himself.
Rachmaninoff was well known as both pianist and composer from the time when he had been studying in Moscow Conservatoire. When the Soviet Communist Government had been established, he left Russia and moved his main place of activities to the US. He was praised along with Franz Liszt as the Virtuoso of piano.
Ave Maria: J. S. Bach （1685-1750）Germany) arranged by Gounod（1818-1893） France
This music is well known as Ave Maria by Gounod. (There is one more well known Ave Maria which was composed by Schubert.) The work has a very unique process of birth. The original music comes from the Prelude No. 1 of Well-Tempered Clavier book 1 by J. S. Bach and he added his melody and attached the text of Ave Maria. This piece is not only sung as the original song but also played by many instruments.
Gounod had brilliant career: he won the first prize of Prix de Rome when he was 21 tears old after graduating Paris Conservatory. His Faust is a representative opera among French opera works. Once when he had avoided the war and lived in England, he was the conductor of Royal Choral Association of England. He composed many fine works for chorus. Most of his religious music works were composed in his later years.
Mei : Kazuo Fukushima (1930-) Japan
This piece was made for mourning of the sudden death by traffic accident of Dr. Wolfgang Steinecke, musicologist whom the composer had respected. At the top of the music note Fukushima mentions that „sound of flute reached dead people according to old faith”. This music was praised highly when Severino Gazzelloni had given the first public performance in the contemporary music festival in Venecia. This piece has been being played by many flutists all over the world. According to a dictionary Mei means „invisible dark, deep, the next world”
Kazuo Fukushima (real name Kazuo Ishizuka) was born in Tokyo and learned music composition by self-education. In 1951 he organized Jikken Kobo (Experimental studio) of Total art group together with Toru Takemitsu, Joji Yuasa etc. He is devoted to study Japanese music history as professor of Ueno Gakuen Music College.
Five lyrics for flute and piano : Shinichi Takada (1920-1960) Japan
This piece was composed when he was young. It was dedicated to Tadashi Mori (flutist and conductor) who had studied in Tokyo Music School (The university of the Art). The work consists of five pieces.
Takada was more famous as conductor than as composer when he was living. He became the conductor of Japan Symphony orchestra(NHK Symphony Orchestra) in 1943 and became exclusive conductor of Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra in 1951. He composed the famous song of ’Young Power’ for National Athletic Meeting in 1947. He died in 1960 at the age of 39, due to disease.
Andante for Flute and Orchestra : Mozart (1756-1791) Austria
This work was composed for the request of Ferdinand De Jean, Dutch merchant who had asked Mozart to compose the two flute concertos. The reason why the work was composed independently is uncertain. One expected reason is that this music is the substitute for the 2nd movement of his 1st flute concerto (KV. 313). The other reason is that this music was composed for the 2nd movement of the 3rd flute concerto; however the other movements of the 3rd concert had not been completed.
Aria : Dohnányi (1877-1960) Hungary
This work for flute and piano was composed in his later years after moving to the US. The work was dedicated for Ellie Baker who was flutist and the daughter of his friend, John Baker who was the President of Ohio University. Dohnányi was born in Pozsony, Kingdom of Hungary (today Bratislava, capital of Slovakia). He contributed for music circles in Hungary at that time as composer, conductor and music teacher; however he had to move to the US for political reasons. He didn’t go back to Hungary and died in New York.
Epigram : Kodály (1882-1967) Hungary
Epigram came from the Greek language originally and the meaning is short poetry to engrave into gravestone or grave post memorable statement.
Kodaly composed nine pieces for song or instrument and piano as practice music for the students. Since the pieces were too beautiful to play only for the purpose of practice, Kistetenyi Melinda made text for the pieces later. This disc includes four from the nine pieces (1st, 2nd, 5th and 3rd).
Kodaly was born in Kecskemét, South Hungary in 1882 and entered Budapest Music Academy in 1900. From 1905 he began visiting towns and villages for collecting Hungarian folk songs as researcher of Hungarian music. Around this time he met Bartok and both of them published collection of Hungarian folk songs. In 1907 he became professor of Franz Liszt Music Academy. He had a big interest in music education and composed a lot of practice pieces and published them. He contributed a lot to music education. He stayed in Budapest during World War II and died in 1967 there.