© 2017 Lawrence Tuczynski

ALL info and cover scans courtesy of Brandon O'Brian

Title Akira Ifukube 100th Anniversary Concert-Vol 4
CD Label Three Shells
CD Number 3SCD-0033
Music Composed by: Akira Ifukube & Various Artists
Number of tracks 33
Running time 76:24
Number of discs 1
Year of release/manufacture May 31, 2017

REVIEW

June 23, 2017

Review courtesy of Brandon O'Brian.

Recorded at Densho Hall, Shibuya Cultural Center Owada on May 7, 2016 and released on May 31, 2017, the fourth in an ongoing series of 100th anniversary concerts features a total of four works. They are "Homage to Akira Ifukube", "Rhythmic Games for Children", Suite "Ivan and the Pony" and music from "Gauche the Cellist".

The first of these works is "Homage to Akira Ifukube", is a collection of nine short pieces composed by disciples of Akira Ifukube, to pay homage to the composer. The composers of the pieces utilize material composed by Akira Ifukube, while adding their own spin on the material. This collection has been recorded and released on past albums.

The second of these works is "Rhythmic Games for Children". Composed in 1949," Rhythmic Games for Children" is a collection of nine pieces composed for small orchestra, and recorded onto ten inch seventy-eight RPMs to be used as teaching materials for elementary school children. Each RPM ran for approximately three or so minutes. Oddly enough, "Wild Chysanthemum", composed by Kanichi Shimosa, was tacked on as the first of the pieces. This brought the total number of pieces up to ten. This piece was perfomed alongside of Ifukube's nine compositions and is indluded within this release. In 2013, a piano version of "Rhythmic Games for Children" was recorded. Performed by Reiko Yamada, the piano version was created based on Akira Ifukube's rough sketches for the piano. This release marks the first time that the original, orchestral version had been available since 1949.

The third of these works is Suite "Ivan and the Pony". In 1953, Akira Ifukube composed the score for artist Seiji Fujishiro's shadow puppet play "The Humpbacked Pony", and was performed again in 1975. Ifukube's score for the 1975 performance has been released in CD and can be found elsewhere on this site. This suite consists of a variety of cues from the score, split up into four movements. Like the 1975 score, this suite is a wonderful blend of traditional ochestra and Electone (a Yamaha electric organ).

The final of the works here are selections from Akira Ifukube's score to "Gauche the Cellist" (1953). The film was made utilizing puppets and dolls, and is based on the story of the same name. Only one cue from this score has been recorded in the past, and is found on Akira Ifukube Soundtack Anthology (KICC 296/7). This release finally resurrects more of this score. Most of the selections here are upbeat. Track 28, Song of Rat (my favorite track on this album), is a slower piece more on the melancholy side. Track 32, Cheerful Camban, will be adapted into the third movement of Ifukube's "Sinfonia Tapkaara" (1954).

Overall, this concert release mainly focuses on works that targeted children. There are some great tracks found within this releases, and at least three will be recognizable for later being in some of Akira Ifukube's best known film scores. Another solid concert.

Akira Ifukube 100th Anniversary Concert-Vol 4 (3SCD-0033)

    Homage to Akira Ifukube

  1. Ballad for the Theme of Godzilla / Yasushi Akutagawa
  2. Omaggio a maestro A.Ifukube / Sei Ikeno
  3. Song of Vision / Maki Ishii
  4. Metamorfosi Rapsodiana / Shigeyuki Imai
  5. Felicidades El Maestro! / Hajime Harada
  6. Homage to Akira Ifukube / Teizo Matsumura
  7. Omaggio al maestro Ifukube / Riichiro Manabe
  8. Godzilla is dancing / Minoru Miki
  9. Hommage a A.I. / Toshiro Mayuzumi
  10. Rhythmic Games for Children

  11. Wild Chrysanthemum (Ministry of Education Song)
  12. Game of Arhant
  13. Hanetsuki
  14. Mountain March
  15. Gallop Game
  16. Falling Leaves
  17. Sports Day March
  18. A Jolly School (March)
  19. Jaunty Double Time
  20. Musical Chairs
  21. Suite "Ivan and the Pony"

  22. Movement 1 "Ivan Boy"
    Prelude ~ Wheat Field in a Russian Village ~ Ivan Boy ~ Starry Sky ~ Descent of the White Horse
  23. Movement 2 "Ivan and the King"
    Danilo and Gabrilo ~ The Flying Pony ~ Feather of the Firebird
    Market in the Capital ~ Appearance of the King ~ Horse Rampage
  24. Movement 3 "Ivan of the Sky and Sea"
    Semillon's Evil Plot ~ Catch the Firebird ~ The Pony Soars through Snowy Skies
    The Pony Gallops up to the Heavens ~ Shrine of Light
  25. Movement 4 "Ivan Reborn"
    Ivan Cries in Prison ~ The King's Trumpet
    First Kettle of Milk / Second Kettle of Boiling Water / Third Kettle of Ice Water
    Ivan Reborn ~ Finale
  26. From "Gauche the Cellist"

  27. Nocturne Moon-Light
  28. Prelude
  29. Dance of Girls
  30. Nocturne & Lullaby
  31. Song of Rat
  32. Traumerei (Traumerei ~ Tiger Hunt in India)
  33. Untitled
  34. Untitled
  35. Cheerful Camban
  36. Tiger Hunt in India (Encore)