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 from this ancient Japanese epic.

As with his previous albums Sakura Meditations and Circle For Peace, Endo plays his entrancing music alone, freely and beautifully. On this album, the novel’s influence adds layers of exoticism to the dramatic compositions. The result is evocative and mysterious music that strikes the heart.

Endo uses scenes and characters from The Tale of Genji 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 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 by Seiji Endo

Released in 2018 on Nippon Acoustic Records as NARP-8015.

Japanese Names: Seiji Endo 遠藤征志

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Jul 16, 2019 (Updated Jul 10, 2021)