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Farmers' Philharmonic Orchestra of Japan (continued)

February 18, 2011 at 4:55 PM


For some reason only part of my last blog got posted and the edit function won't work, so here's the rest:

After the concert there was a buffet dinner with Danish fare and speeches from the Japanese ambassador, the lord mayor of Silkeborg and members of both orchestras. The musical conclusion to the evening was provided by members of the orchestra’s brass section led by Professor Kaneda in a spirited (if not entirely sober) rendition of the famous sentimental song "Tsugaru Strait: Winter Seascape"*

*Here is one of the numerous youtube versions, sung by Sayuri Ishikawa with the more typical orchestral accompaniment featuring soaring violins,:


But that was not the end of the evening: "What about a nijikai (post-party party), inquired Mr Makino, and eventually 40 members of the orchestra piled into the Cafe Picasso (one of the few places open late on a Sunday in Silkeborg, and almost empty; the waiters probably didn’t know what had hit them), and managed to try quite a few of the vast and international selection of beers on the menu. Amateur musicians wherever they come from feel an urge to let off steam after a concert, and soon the noise level made conversation difficult. But I did speak to a cellist, who told me she’d only started playing in her forties and had joined the orchestra because her friends had urged her to. I did not have the chance to ask, but I wouldn’t be surprised if quite a few of the members turned out to have taken up their instrument as adults, displaying the same enterprising spirit that characterized the colonization of Hokkaido under the Meiji government in the nineteenth century. I expressed my admiration for the high level of playing to the concertmaster, Mr Satoshi Nomura. Not all the players were of equally high level, he told me, but playing in such a group brings out the best in them.


In their "Message from the Farmers' Philharmonic Orchestra Hokkaido" are told that 'the orchestra is considered to be the only one of its kind in the world.' If it really is, I hope it doesn't remain so and that others follow the example of these Hokkaido pioneers.



From Stephen Brivati
Posted on February 20, 2011 at 7:01 AM


I enjoyed reading this blog as I have lived in Japan for so long  The farming life here is really tough, especially if you are working in the organic sector.

There is a lot of Japanese music out there other than Takemitsu which is worth listening to.  Glad you could give it a bit of a plug.




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