The three acoustic works presented on this album all reflect John Palmer‘s profound engagement with Japanese spiritual and aesthetic tradition. Koan is a rare encounter between shakuhachi and chamber orchestra. In Still bass flute, viola and guitar create a meditative mood before the solo harpsichord of Satori brings the journey to an end. All this picturesque ‘Japaneseness’ might make it sound as though the listener to this album is in for a comfortable session of ‘new-age’ easy listening. But be warned: someone who submits himself to the ascetic severities of Zen monastery life could hardly be expected to opt for facile and superficial artistic solutions, and the musical language of John Palmer’s work is uncompromisingly Western and modernist. It demands of its listener, no less than of its creator, an attitude of disciplined seriousness. Deeply rewarding listening.
John Palmer – ComeT, Teruhisa Fukuda (shakuhachi), Kunitaka Kokaji (conductor) – Das Neue Kammer Trio
Recorded at Minato-Mirai Concert Hall, Yokohama, Japan – Bad Brukenau, Germany (by the Bayerischer Rundfunk, Germany) – The Old Castle, Stuttgart, Germany.
1. KOAN (24:00)
for shakuhachi and chamber ensemble
2. STILL (21:52)
for bass flute, viola and 6- & 12-string guitar
3. SATORI (9:41)
for solo harpsichord
Also available as downloads: