This is a masterpiece with the coolest groove of percussion instruments (kakko, taiko, and gong) that starts from the introduction.
This comfort created by the beat alone going on and on and on. It is almost like listening to hippo-hip breaks, minimal techno, gamelan, etc.
The slow, swaying groove peculiar to gagaku is wonderful.
The sound of the ryuteki, which suddenly cuts into the comfortable space created by percussion instruments from an angle, overlaps like an echo.
The imposing worldview is suddenly filled with an atmosphere of fantasy and etherealness.
It makes you feel as if I am on the battlefield of another world.
Just listening to this masterpiece, you will feel a sense of grandeur.
I listen to it on a daily basis without any special feeling of listening to Gagaku.
This piece is just one part of the "Ryo-o" (the whole piece is very long).
After the kakko, taiko, and shoko begin to play, the dancers go on stage and begin to dance.
The first Ryuteki group starts playing in time with the dancers.
Four beats later, a second dragon flute group joins the performance, and after another four beats,
a third dragon flute group joins the performance, forming a canon.
The reason why Etenraku is the most famous piece in Gagaku is described in detail on this page.
My guess is that it became famous because its melody was the catchiest among Gagaku pieces.
One of the characteristics of Gagaku is that "all instruments play a single melody in their own way.
In classical music and rock music, the roles of the instruments are quite clearly divided.
Each instrument has a different role and complements each other, such as the flute for melody, the piano for accompaniment, and the drums for rhythm.
In contrast, in gagaku, all instruments play the same melody.
Of course, each instrument has its own characteristics, so the performance of each instrument sounds completely different, but in the main, it can be said that they are playing the same melody.
If you listen to the other instruments after learning only the melody of Ryuteki in Etenraku, you will be able to understand that each instrument plays the same melody. (I also have a lot of trouble understanding the melody...)
When you learn to play Hichiriki, Sho, and other Gagaku instruments, the first thing you learn is often "Etenraku".
In this sense, I think that Etenraku is a piece that cannot be missed as an introduction to Gagaku.
The only gagaku piece written by composer Toru Takemitsu is this "Shuteigaichigu".
And this piece is one of the most wonderful new gagaku pieces (gagaku pieces composed after classical gagaku).
It is quite long to listen to the whole piece, so please at least listen to the first piece.
You will find that the music is completely different from classical Gagaku, but at the same time, it is a beautiful contemporary music that has passed through classical Gagaku.
I had an image of Toru Takemitsu as a musician who established his own unique expression using only Western instruments or a combination of Western and Japanese instruments. This piece, however, is very Takemitsu Toru-like, despite the fact that it was basically written using only Gagaku instruments (with a few special instruments thrown in).
In the world of Gagaku, since new compositions have rarely been written since the classical Gagaku, it has been difficult to find references to the past in terms of compositional methods. I am in awe of the fact that he wrote only one piece of Gagaku music that has survived and is still talked about as a masterpiece.
Mr. Sukeyasu Shiba, who founded Japan's leading gagaku (court music) group = Reigakusha, in 1985 and was a first-rate Ryuteki player, originally worked for the Imperial Household Agency, but I have heard that he quit the agency and founded Reigakusha to perform This song.