Julian Cope presents JAPROCKSAMPLER.COM

Toshi Ichiyanagi

(see full story in Book One, Chapter Two)

Although Toshi Ichiyanagi is currently best know to the wider world as Yoko Ono’s first husband, he will surely be regarded in the future as Japan’s great herald of the John Cage school of chance and non-intentioned music. Born in the port city of Kobe, in 1933, Ichiyanagi studied composition under Cage while studying at New York’s Juilliard Conservatory between 1954 and 1960. During that period, he also studied piano with Barnhard Weiser, Beveridge Webster and Chieko Hara, and won the prestigious Elizabeth A. Coolidge Prize. While still a Juilliard student, Ichiyanagi made his debut public performance, in December 1954, with ‘Sonata’, a piano and violin duet on which he was joined by violinist/composer Kenji Kobayashi. Here is my attempt at a brief repository of his works, though I cannot ensure that it is entirely complete:

In 1960, Ichiyanagi composed a fifteen minute piece employing electric metronomes ‘in addition to other sound-making objects and instruments’. However, ‘Music For Metronomes’ was not recorded until 1998, when a performance by the quintet Ensemble Nomad was finally captured, at the Kimitsu Shimin Bunka Hall, at Chiba, Japan. ‘Music for Piano No. 3’ was written in 1960. A solo piano piece of 9.21 duration, it was first recorded in 1980 for the Denon Records LP TRANSFORMATION OF PIANO. The duet ‘Music For Piano No. 4’ was written in 1960. However, it was not recorded until 1998, when the piece was performed by the composer and pianist Yuji Takahashi at the Kimitsu Shimin Bunka Hall, in Chiba. At the same session, Takahashi also tackled the 1961 composition ‘Music For Piano No. 6’, making its debut on to record. ‘For Strings’ was composed in 1961, but this almost eight minute piece was not recorded until September 1998, when it was performed by violinist Kenji Kobayashi at the Kimitsu Shimin Bunka Hall, in the Japanese town of Chibu. These last three compositions were written also to be performed simultaneously. ‘Duet’ was composed in 1961 for violin and piano. However, the piece was not recorded until September 1998, when violinist Kenji Kobayashi and pianist Yuji Takahashi performed it at Kimitsu Shimin Bunka Hall, in Chiba. ‘Parallel Music’ was a nine minute long electronic piece written in 1962. It was premiered as a radio broadcast by NHK, in October ’62. ‘String Quartet No. 1’ was written in 1964, and is of flexible length. Its first performance took place in Tokyo, in May 1966, performed by the New Direction Quartet.
‘Music For Living Space’ was a ten minute long electronic piece composed for EXPO ’70, in 1970. The piece had its premiere at the Osaka Theme Pavilion. ‘Music For Piano No. 6’ was a piano solo written in 1961, and performed that same year in New York by Ichiyanagi himself. ‘Life Music’ was written in 1964, for orchestra and tape recorder. This 16.45 piece was released in 1968 on the Victor Records LP ORCHESTRAL SPACE VOLUME 1.
‘Extended Voices’ was written in 1967 for voice and synthesizer-computer. It has never been recorded. ‘Up To Date Applause’ was composed in 1968 for orchestra, Japanese nokan and tape recorder. ‘Tokyo 1969’ was a 15 minute long electronic piece composed in 1969, at the behest of NHK Electronic Studio. It was broadcast in January 1969. ‘Theater Music’ was a six-minute electronic piece composed in 1969.

Julian Cope
  • YABUNIRAMI-NO-CONCERT (Salon De Coco, 1966)
  • OPERA (Bridge, 1969)
  • IMPROVISATION SEPT. 1975 (Iskra, 1975)
  • MUSIC FOR LIVING PROCESS/CHO-ETSU (w/Maki Ishii) (Victor, 1976)
  • Toshi Ichiyanagi - OPERAOPERA

life music
you also can find a version of life music and sapporo on music before revolution. the cd version of tadanori yokoo is a rip-off of the original double album. the original lp was released on the end records. it is a double picture disc with a booklet with text in japanese and some artwork by todonori yokoo.
Posted by henkzuurveld, Nov 09, 2009
The CD version of "Opera Based on the Works of Tadanori Yokoo" is not a rip-off in any way, so long as it comes as the reissue from Bridge Records.

Not only a faithful reproduction of the original double LP, it has a new essay included by Yokoo, and aside from the absence of picture discs as they would be in vinyl, it is (I daresay) a more robust package.
Posted by judan-maiku, Jan 03, 2011
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