French audiophile edition of Yasukazu Amemiya‘s 1977 percussion classic Summer Prayer (RCA Japan LP, RVC 2154), which originally also included Morton Feldman’s King of Denmark. Being pressed at 45rpm speed, the disc conveys great dynamics, from subtle nuances to powerful membranophone resonances. Amemiya studied percussion and became a professional solo performer in Tokyo during the 1960s, before moving to New York in 1973. He composed Summer Prayer there in 1974, which was first performed by five US percussionists. Here, Amemiya performs all parts himself and, thanks to re-recording, he’s heard on piano strings, tympani, bowed cymbals, marimba, bells and steel drums and so on. The composition describes a day in a Buddhist monk’s life, the music’s great dynamic mirroring the meditative stillness or great agitation of his impressionable state of mind.
Somewhat programmatic music like Debussy’s La Mer, Monochrome Sea, composed 1976, deploys subtle tone colors from an array of percussion instruments including marimba, steel drums and gongs, among others, as well as a prerecorded tape of a vibraphone played with a bow and minimal sound effects, sounding like wailing sirens in the background. Describing both depths of the sea and surface of water events, the composition succeeds in evoking gurgling waters, large swarms of fishes, agitated living organisms and mysterious sea creatures.
- Summer Prayer – Natsu Nebutsu (13:46)
For Solo Percussionist, Tape and Percussion Ensemble
- Monochrome Sea (21:48)
For Solo Percussionist and Tape
Total time 35:34
LP released by RCA France, 1978