Through a beautiful piano sound with deep reverberations, Seiji Endo’s latest solo album releases atmospheric music as if arising from the dreams and memories of ancient Japan: Genji Monogatari Volume 1 features the pianist performing his original compositions with dramatic textures woven out of this ancient Japanese epic.
As with his recent albums Sakura Meditations and Circle For Peace, Endo plays his entrancing music alone, freely and beautifully. On this album, the novel’s influence adds extra layers of exoticism and mystery to the compositions, played with powerful drama, resulting in lush and evocative music.
Endo uses scenes and characters from the novel to pull music from the text, from words to sounds (as in the extended title “Echoes of 54 Books: From the Words of Genji, Sounds of Genji”), in music that sounds classical and stately at times, romantic and sweet at other times, and innocent and playful at yet others. Throughout, the twelve songs are set against a backdrop of dramatic and emotional lyricism, striking an ambiguous resignation between forlorn despair and flickering hopefulness.
Set among these musical facets, the listener may also pick up hints to classical works as well as others of Endo’s compositions, representing his imaginative fluidity while evoking the shaded atmospheres of Genji.
Genji Monogatari Volume 1, Seiji Endo (遠藤征志) · https://seiji-piano-endo.com
Released in 2018 on Nippon Acoustic Records as NARP-8015.
* Audio sample at top from “Kiritsubo”, the first track on this album.