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What’s in a name?

Well, CD cover-art, apparently. The Japan Wind Ensemble Conductors Conference has put up the track listing for their (live) CD from last March’s concerts in Kurashiki, with Climbing Parnassus as the title piece. Considering that last year’s CD featuring their 2007 JM commission sports a kingfisher on the cover (scroll down halfway), I humbly suggest that SB, who is the Composer-in-residence for 2009, comes up with a particularly evocative title. Perhaps something with explosions. Or armed combat.

I often think about those amazing concerts in Kurashiki, and this track listing reminded me of my favorites. The first track, the Ticheli quartet Out of the Blue — that performance was, wow, crazy fantastic. On the second disc there’s the Gilingham Sails of Time, conducted by Maestro Nakata, which was jaw-dropping with the three bands onstage. I took video of that, I remember.

I also see that they put my new friend Yoshi Hirano‘s premiere, Death Note Concerto on the disc, which makes me very happy. Yoshi introduced himself to me when I got there, as he and his girlfriend Natsuki (also a successful composer in Japan) were trained at Eastman, and we found we had many friends in common. I attached myself to those two for the next several days, and they generously went above-and-beyond as guides (both literally and culturally). Yoshi has made a name for himself in Tokyo scoring an insanely-popular manga phenomenon, called Death Note. Based on the music from that, he made a saxophone concerto for a friend of his, and it premiered at the Conference. I’m sure if I was even remotely familiar with the source material it would have been insanely cool to hear this, but I am lame and I wasn’t, and so I dealt with it on a purely formal level. Unsurprisingly, it is an engagingly virtuosic barn-burner of a piece, in any circumstance.

Happily, at JWECC 2009 in Osaka: Concertino, with Tokyo Kosei principal flutist Ayako MAEDA as soloist, chamber players from the Nagoya Wind Symphony, and the great Mamoru NAKATA conducting.

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