We have experienced live houses with modern music, we have experienced huge concerts of world known bands and Japan's greatest band. Finally I also took you to a club to listen to some pop and disco music. Yet something is still missing: a classic concert with an orchestra.
And that is where I will take you today.
On the same day Hung Lun and I were invited at Satomi-san's parents to experience 茶道 Sadou, the Japanese Tea Ceremony, we decided to go to an orchestra concert before.
Classic Music In Japan
Along with many others elements of European Culture, classic music reached Japan in the 18th, 19th century, when Japan was opening itself to the world after the 鎖国時代 Sakoku Period (Closed Country). Ever since then it grew really dear to Japan and Japanese are pursuing it with burning passion. Composers like Nobuo Umematsu (head of the Tokyo Orchestra) have produced many a wonderful piece themselves (Uematsu-sensei is especially known for his works in the Final Fantasy computer game series) , but they also love to perform great works of European composers.
Also although Japan has its own traditional music with instruments like 三味線 Shamisen 琴 Koto and 尺八 Shakuhachi, the traditional music was always something to accompany a festival, theater or ritual, but never for itself. Therefore classic music was something new and very special, it was the first time, people would go somewhere solely to listen to music. Also it was open to all of the people, which it is why it quickly reached the hearts of everyone.
Tafel Musik Konzert (Johann Sebastian Bach)
Me and Hung Lun were lucky that a German composer was chosen for this day. Not only did we both (and Satomi-san) like Bach's compositions, also the program was in two languages (German and Japanese) and the lyrics of the compositions were in German. Hung Lun was studying in Germany and mastered the language there.
The music was really breath taking, but what really touched me is hearing the Chor and the Solo singers sing in perfect German the lyrics that went a long with the music. From Bach's great repertoire Kantate Nr.29, Nr.150, Nr.120 and Nr.198 were chosen.
時間旅行 Time Travel
The organizer was also a very passionate charming person (and a personal friend of Satomi-san). In his love for the music, he decided to make this day special. Thus for that last piece, Kantate Nr.198, which was written for the funeral of Queen Christine Eberhardine of Poland/Saxony, he asked us to go together with him on a journey through time.
We should imagine being in the Paulinenkirche in Leipzig 1727. In front of us the king and his court were sitting in tears for the deceased Queen, everybody dearly loved. To make the illusion even better, instead of the chime indicating the end of the break, the organ would start playing mourning music. Also for the last piece all the musicians would dress in funeral black. It was really amazing.
More than that he asked the audience not to clap before and after the performance, in remembrance of the Queen, as it has not been clapped back then in the Paulinenkriche in 1727. (that was too much to ask for the audience, they could only resist for a little while and then burst into clapping).
Still whenever I closed my eyes, I was no longer in the Bunka Shikan of Zushi, but in the Paulinenkirche in Leipzig, all the people were dressed in black and in front of me was the coffin of Queen Christine Erberhardine erected for everyone to see.
Music Is Magic,
whereever you go