About the album
The marimba has its origins in Africa and by way of South America, it has developed into the modern western instrument we know today. Since the second world war it has developed a certain pre-eminence amongst the percussion resources from which contemporary composers can draw. Milhaud’s 1947 Concerto for Marimba and Vibraphone, one of the first works to demand of the player the now familiar four hammer technique, is a pivotal work in this respect.
Japan has a strong drumming tradition but other indigenous percussion instruments are limited to bells, cymbals and rattles of various sorts. The 1868 establishment of constitutional monarchy under the Meiji restoration opened up the country to the outside world, including that of western art music. Yet in the very post-war period which has seen the marimba’s ascendance, Japanese composers have tended to look away from the west and towards their traditional music and its instruments for their inspiration and means of expression.
This album explores the 20th century Japanese repertoire for marimba including music by five pre-eminent post-war composers.