Teizo Matsumura: Deux Berceuses à la grèce (1969)

This is day thirteen of the A-toZ Challenge in which I attempt to blog every day (excepting Sundays) during the month of April. During this month, I am curating a collection of “classical” music pieces, which are lesser known or by lesser known composers (to me at least).  Today’s composer is contemporary composer Teizo Matsumura (1929-2007).

This blog challenge is turning out to be quite an adventure for me.  As I choose composers, I try not to go for the big, famous ones.  Luckily Wikipedia helps out, as it provides a list of composers by name and date going back to 476 AD.  My first post went back a thousand years before that to an ancient Greek composer.

The adventure for me is in discovering a new composer and a work by him or her.  Like today’s composer, Matsumura, who was born in Kyoto and grew up to be a Haiku poet and a composer.  Wikipedia has precious little on the composer save to say he was orphaned as a child an later  suffered from tuberculosis during recovery from which he began to write Haiku.  He went on to become a professor of music at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts, and produced a solid body of work including several film scores.

The Deux Berceuses (two lullabies) are delighful, and one can hear the influence of Ravel and Stravinsky, who influenced Matsumura, but also Asian influences.  I like this syncretism–taking a classical form from one culture and adding a vernacular element from an other.  It’s rich and is similar to the way that languages evolve and grow and keep alive.


About kurtnemes
Writer and Education Professional. Specialties include Ethics, Personal Memoir, Classical music, Tai Chi, Stress Reduction, Meditation, Coping, Classical Music, Aging, Love, Joy, Compassion and Equanimity (& what interests me.)

6 Responses to Teizo Matsumura: Deux Berceuses à la grèce (1969)

  1. kvennarad says:

    This is a find. Syncretism worries me, unless it is very clear from what I am hearing that the whole comes from somewhere inside the artist, from an understanding of the two or more influences and not from a desire to cobble something together. The latter becomes shoddy crossover (e.g. Miles Davies’ ‘Bitches Brew’, the clumsiest attempt to marry jazz and rock). Matsumura, judging by these pieces, does not have that trouble; the musical intertextuality feels entirely natural.


    • kurtnemes says:

      Not a fan of Miles’ “BB” but listen to his “Right Off” from “Tribute To Jack Johnson” and I think you’ll find he got it right.


      • kvennarad says:

        It’s not a bad track, but I continue to find Miles at his least convincing when he worked with rock. I always come away with a slight feeling that there is a missed connection somewhere, a slight misunderstanding of purpose.

        Having said that, that’s a hell of a band, with some great players on each session. John McLoughlin at his most anarchic on guitar on ‘Right Off’.

        I would have loved to have heard Miles collaborate with Jimi Hendrix!

        Please forgive me for running way off topic, but McLoughlin’s playing has reminded me of my love of James ‘Blood’ Ulmer’s guitar. Here are a couple of versions of his ‘Are You Glad To Be In America’, the first a solo performance,

        the second how I first heard it on a 45 several decades ago.


  2. This was so beautiful I love the PIANO Matsumura was new to me as well #a2zchallenge ☮Peace ☮ ღ ONE ℒℴνℯ ღ ☼ Light ☼ visiting from http://4covert2overt.blogspot.com/


  3. kurtnemes says:

    Thank’s I’ve never heard Ulmer. The second version is incredible. I love McLaughlin’s playing on Right Off, which I just discovered a few years ago, though I have been a fan since hearing him in Joe Farrell’s quartet in the early 1970s.


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