Saturday, February 20, 2010

Mitsuki Dazai and James Nyoraku Schlefer at U of Oregon, 2/19/10

A koto and shakuhachi concert. I'll admit that I probably enjoyed the encore most, the chestnut "Haru no Umi." One of the first Japanese melodies I ever learned to recognize, I used to love it, then I heard it so many times at New Year's in Japan that I realized what a cliché it's become, but tonight I finally heard it fresh again, and noticed, a) what a pretty melody it is, and b) what an interesting and oh-so-early-Shôwa negotiation of Japanese traditions and Western ideas it is. I think I only started to realize it because they played it as an encore, after a couple of hours of the real traditional stuff and the later more fully modern stuff. The hard stuff, in other words. It allowed me both to appreciate the simplicity of "Haru no Umi," and hear it in context.

All my years of concert-going and it never even occurred to me that an encore could have a purpose beyond just, you know, getting you to pull out your cigarette lighter.

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