Exposé Online banner

Satoko Fujii / Yuko Yamaoka — Diary 2005-2015: Yuko Yamaoka Plays the Music of Satoko Fujii
(Libra 201-053/054, 2018, 2CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2018-12-14

Diary 2005-2015: Yuko Yamaoka Plays the Music of Satoko Fujii Cover art

I’ve often wondered what is the maximum number of tracks that a sincle CD can accommodate. I remember that Dr. Nerve’s Beta 14 OK had around 16 regular tracks followed by 44 “Nerve Events,” each only a few seconds long, for a total of 60. Diary 2005-2015 is a two-disc set where the first disc has 62 cuts and the second has 56 — that’s 118 tracks total! But each disc is only about 42 minutes in length. Here, Fujii is the composer, while clasically trained pianist Yuko Yamaoka is the performer. The origin of each of the pieces here begins with Fujii’s practice routine during the period in question; each time she sits down at the piano, she begins by practicing composing for about fifteen minutes, something new each time, from short fragments of ideas that may only last fifteen seconds, to slightly longer pieces that approach the two-minute mark. Each one is titled numerically with the date of the composition, for example “030905” or “072712.” These short pieces encompass a lot of variety, some very abstract and difficult, others have a more rounded feel that piques the spirit and imagination, a few of them were even reused and developed into longer pieces that eventually appeared on her albums. “012707” evolved into “Tokyo Rush Hour” on her 2008 duet album with Natsuki Tamura, Chun. “052013” became the title track from the 2015 Orchestra Berlin album Ichigo Ichie. But most of the pieces just accumulated in notebooks on her piano top and in boxes nearby. Mostly these little compositional jewels represent the wide range of ideas that Fujii typically incorporates into her works. At the urging of her husband Tamura, she went through ten years worth of these compositions and selected the highlights among them, but ultimately found it too difficult to play all of the pieces exactly as written. This is where Yamaoka, a friend since her days at the New England Conservatory, comes into the picture; she has also performed on the New York Orchestra’s South Wind album; Fujii felt that her superior skill and phrasing as a player was what these miniatures needed. Yamaoka agreed to take on the project of recording all of these, and an amazing performance she has presented here, making them seem almost effortless. The result is something that a listener can appreciate on a number of levels, both as composition and performance.


Filed under: New releases, 2018 releases

Related artist(s): Satoko Fujii, Yuko Yamaoka

Latest news

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the ago of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Ivanhoe - Visions and Reality – The opening instrumental "Visions" sets some high hopes, but the second track bursts in with a simplistic Dream Theater wannabe sound topped off with an annoying vocalist steeped in all the campy...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues