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Nobu's Songs: "Nobuyuki Tsujii Works 2000-2011" CD

神様のカルテ ~辻井伸行 自作集 - one person's thoughts

August 1, 2011

This album stirs me, in many ways.

This album is comprised entirely of Nobuyuki Tsujii's original compositions:  he created and performed every one of  these pieces. 

I have written before about Nobu as a composer ( see Nobuyuki Tsujii - the Composer).  Starting as a skeptic with an instinctive dislike of the new-age easy-listening genre of  music, I gradually warmed up to his works.  Lately, however, I have had my misgivings about the diversion of  composing on his budding career as a world-class pianist (see Summer Thoughts and Worries).  
I was and still am inclined to be negative about this CD.

The beauty of the music created by Nobu is undeniable.  I think collectively these pieces represent how he "sees" the world, a world of beauty and tranquility that he perceives in an innocence that perhaps came with not being able to see. 

These works (see sidebar) move me, in spite of their imperfections.   I think it is fair to say that Nobu's own compositions are diamonds in the rough;  they need polishing.    There is too much that sounds alike among different pieces, and transitions between different themes within the same piece are sometimes awkward. 

And, the music is  too gentle. 

In particular, I wish he had not softened two of his works that I love best. 

The first of these  is "Morning in Cortona".  If you compare his later version with the one  in Corpus Christi, when he played it for the first time as an encore for an adoring American crowd, in the euphoria of that exuberant performance with Conductor  John Giordano (whose love for him is unmistakable -- , you will see that he played it in Texas  with a lot more verve  and percussion.   That performance was far more lively and exciting .   In contrast, the  swagger is gone on this recording.  And,  I am sorry to say,  the waltz segment added to  the new rendition simply does not match well with the original theme.
The other piece that he has softened is the composition from a TV show that I love,  "What the Wind Carries".  I much prefer the version that he played on the show (and now in youTube videos, one of which was  uploaded by none other than me,   In that rendition, the opening passage (after the trills) has an aching sweetness that is now missing, and there is a percussive passage (shown with footage of  him walking in snow with the venerable Mr. Kuramoto 倉本聰  ) that I dearly love but that is only barely recognizable on this recording.   The ending, now more elaborate and gentle, is -- alas -- not as compelling.   I have played the two versions side by side, and to me there is no question which one is superior.  The original version has some ominous passages conveying a sense of vulnerability that makes me feel for Nobu every time I watch the video, especially in that scene of him standing alone in a snow field.  The recorded version is much prettier, but, to me, devoid of poignancy and therefore far less moving.

In both cases, there is a richness in the sound of the original performances that somehow has gone missing in the new renditions.   In the original "What the Wind Carries", the sound of the percussive passages is so rich that I always feel that I am listening to an orchestra instead of a piano soloist.  I will go so far as to say that those original performances show the vigor of the exuberant  young man that Nobu is, while some of the pieces on this album seem to come from a much older soul.

I am not the only one who thinks that Nobu's compositions can benefit from more percussion.  One facebook poster wrote: "lo adoro come pianista... ma come compositore CI VOGLIONO LE MAZZATE...!!!! (in Italian -- love him as a pianist ... but as a composer WE WANT THE HAMMER ...!!!)"  I completely agree.  In my opinion, Nobu's best pieces are the ones with percussive passages that balance out the lyrical melodies in which  he excels: "Whisper of the River", the original "Cortona", and the original "What the Wind Carries."
  And, coincidentally,  this twitter post just came up: "先月、27日、発売されたばかりのCD,辻井伸行の「神様のエンタ〜自作集」繰り返し、何度も聞いてます。あまりに、優し過ぎます。(Last month, Sun 27, CD has just been released, and Nobuyuki Tsujii's "God's Medical Chart" repeats.  I listened to it many times. Too, too gentle.)

I studied the Japanese booklet that comes with the CD, and realized that the album is actually  a hodgepodge of pieces recorded at different times.   I cobbled together a list of the pieces with their respective recording dates, as shown in the sidebar.
It turns out that the main theme for the movie "God's Medical Chart" (the reason-to-be for this album, I believe) was composed and recorded late last year!  And the recording of "Cortona" (as we saw on The "Takeshi Art-Beat" show - June 8 2011) took place in January of this year.  The most recently recorded are  track 8, the theme  for the TV drama それでも、生きてゆ "Still we Live" (inspired by Nobu's thoughts of the earthquake victims while he was on tour in the U.S. in April of this year) and "Blowing in the wind of Venice" , track 14, commissioned by the Tokyo Edo Museum for its upcoming  Venice Exhibition the way, this implies that the Takashi show was filmed in January, not recently as I had thought -- black shirt and a trimmer Nobu not withstanding.)

One piece on this album that I dearly love 
is on the fourth track,  "Homage to Chopin", partly because it has not been heard much before.    I think this work,
one of the most sophisticated and coherent pieces on this album, is a fitting tribute to Chopin.   Its lyricism and its elegant use of arpeggios, trills and chords are very much in the spirit of Frederik Chopin, whom Nobu does revere.    Ironically, it is one of the few pieces on this album  that does not have a commercial tie-in.

Someone who can turn out these pieces at age 22 is a genius.  With maturity,  Nobu will only get better as a composer.  I don't think this CD will be a blockbuster like his "debut" album, but it is definitely respectable.  I am proud of Nobu for having such a special talent that distinguishes him among his peers, that ever growing throng of  young virtuoso pianists.   I have been playing this  CD for hours today while I work, and it does not grate --- which in my case  says a lot for the music.

On the liner of the CD is a background photo of Nobu standing alone in an open field, hands outstretched, as if he's singing.  I think these pieces are Nobu's songs -- he is singing to us through them with that gentleness and sweetness that bring tears to my eyes even as I write now.
   For, paraphrasing what  someone else wrote, the world can never be what Nobu  sees.

Show your support for Nobu.  Buy this album.

(Postscript: A week later, I have found myself enjoying the version of "What the Wind Carries" more and more.  Nobu is a master in making music that sounds like running water, as you can hear in  passages in this piece.  This new version, different from the original, is lovely in its own way.  I now play the two versions one after another on iTunes, and love them both.
After repeated listening, I have come to especially admire Nobu's portrayal of the sound of running water - his superb left-hand play makes it unique.  In addition to the "What the Wind Carries", the piece "Blowing in the wind of Venice"  conveys a really wonderful sense of what it feels like riding on a gondola, on a sunny day, gliding on the water of that magical city

This CD has grown on me!
Here is a Twitter message that came up on August 8; I agree with it wholeheartedly: 
辻井伸行くんの最新アルバムを聞きながらドライブすると、周りの景色がさらに美しく感じられ、映画のワンシーンのように思える。不思議。Driving while listening to Mr. Nobuyuki Tsujii's  latest album, the scenery around feels even more beautiful, as if in a movie scene. Strange.)

"Song" list
with recording dates

1.    神様のカルテ   Theme from “God’s Medical Chart” –  recorded 9/24/2010

2.    風の家   House of wind – 1/29/2011

3.    3. コルトナの朝   Morning in Cortona – 1/29/2011

4.    ショパンへのオマージュ Homage to Chopin – 1/29/2011

5.    音の絵  painting sound (from the NHK Takashi Art Beat TV show)  – 1/29/2011

6.    .風がはこんできたもの   What the wind carries  (from the TBS TV show of that title) s 2/28/2011

7.    神様のカルテ =手紙=  “God’s Medical Chart” – letter  -- 11/17/2010

8.    それでも、生きてゆ – theme from “Still we live” (FujiTV drama)-  6/7/2011

9.    ロックフェラーの天使の羽  -  Angel wings Rockefeller- year 2007

10.    花水木の咲く頃  Dogwoods in bloom- year 2007

11.    セーヌ川のロンド   River seine Rondo - year 2007

12.    高尾山の風   Wind  on high mountain- year 2007

13.    川のささやき   Whisper of the River- year 2007

14.    ヴェネツィアの風に吹かれてBlowing in the wind of Venice -  6/7/2011

15.    神様のカルテ =エンディング=   God’s Medical Chart – end theme  2/28/2011

Photos by Yuri Hori, Avex Classics

Comments for the CD on



I was fascinated by the music of a song called "Morning in Cortona" by Mr. Tsujii when I heard it on he TV show "Soloman Flow" (Soloman Ryu), broadcast in November 2010. We still remember the tears that flowed naturally, when we were much impressed by the beauty of its melody.
The song was played at a concert, and it seems that Tsujii  told us himself on the broadcast  that it was  the first time.
The version on this CD is different from the one on the  broadcast on television
I prefer the version that was played in the show,  but the difference does not diminish the value of this CD at all.
Listening to "Morning in Cortona" and many other wonderful songs, one can visualize the scenery  and the seasons.
I recommend this CD.

 このアルバムは創作者としての辻井伸行氏が、これまでに出会ってきた人々や感じた光景を「音楽」で表現したいわば「短編集」にあたる作品。その ためこれまでに発表された『ロックフェラーの天子の羽』『セーヌ川のロンド』『高尾山の風』『川のささやき』『花水木の咲く頃』も再録されている。本来な らば「全編新作での書き下ろし」が本人の希望だったのかもしれない。
 個人的な話ではあるが『風がはこんできたもの』をテレビ番組で耳にした時、不覚にも涙がこぼれた。辻井さんと倉本さんの言葉少ない遣り取りを写 し出す映像の背景に流れていたこの曲を耳にして、本来ならば此所にいるべきもう一人の人物の姿が重なって見えたからでもあった。その人物はホストである倉 本さんにとっても親交のある人だった。自然と人間の共存、スローライフといったポリシーから常に人間への慈しみに満ちた眼差しを持っている人だった。
 厳寒の北海道、林の梢を渡る風から「色を感じる」と言葉少なに話す辻井さんと「感じる言葉」を映像表現にする倉本さんの間ならば、そこで交わさ れる言葉がそのまま作品として成り立ってしまうかのように感じさせる。視覚や聴覚を含めての障害があっても表現することはできる。それは決してハンディ キャップといった負の部分とは断定できるものではない。「感じたまま」を音や色を使って「表現する」にはしなやかで研ぎ澄まされた感性は「失われた」こと によって目覚めさせられた別の感覚装置として機能する。
 これまで辻井さんは「演奏家」として既出の作品に挑戦し幾多の峰々に登ることで世間に知られてきたが、むしろ本領は「創作者」であると思う。既 出の作品を演奏する時に辻井さんはその作者と対話する感じで演奏している。それが『ショパンへのオマージュ』からも感じられる。作品に「息吹」を吹き込む 形で演奏することで原作者との遣り取りを楽しんでいる。これは「創作者」としての懐の深さを持っていることで成り立っている姿だと思う。
 かつて幾つもの作品が「絵本」から触発され「音楽作品化」されて世に送り出されたように、創作者「辻井伸行」の名で作品化された音楽絵本を何時 か手にしたみたい、というのは贅沢な話だろうか。これからも万華鏡のような辻井さんのオリジナル作品に出会えることを十分に想像させる作品だった。
 そして最後に一言。前回の「展覧会の絵」からはほぼ一年ほど経過してのこのアルバムの特質として「オリジナルバージョン」と「オーケストラバー ジョン」での「同一作品を異なる形式で演奏する対比」を試みている点であること。この点から前回の「展覧会の絵」が相当に重たい影を落としていると感じら れたことだった。

May experience a sensation as if the words and music could be heard from there and have seen the document, such as painting and sculpture. Have often remember the words from the music scene and vice versa.
This album is a sight and feelings people have met so far, Mr. Nobuyuki Tsujii as a creator, "music" so-called representation "short stories" work falls. Published so far for the "Angel of the Rockefeller Center, "" Rondo of the Seine, "" Winds of Mt, "" whisper of the River "," dogwood blooms "have been re-recorded. would otherwise"-written in the new full-length, "was the choice of the principal Maybe.
In a personal story but "The wind has brought" to defeat, the tears spilled when heard on a TV show. Not flowing in the background of the video reflects interact less with Mr. Tsuji says Kuramoto from there it appeared the figure of overlap should be one person to another, 此所 would otherwise have heard the song a kite. that person was a person of faith is the host for Mr. Kuramoto. naturally eyes were full of people who have the human compassion to the slow life, always from a policy and human coexistence.
From the wind across the treetops of the forest, arctic Hokkaido "feel the colors," Mr. Tsuji said laconically as "word sense" would work as it is made ​​as if the words exchanged between Mr. Kuramoto, so that an image expression feel as though. to express even failure, including vision and hearing can be. and negative part of it and never intended handicap is not predicable. "without feeling" sound and color use the "representation" is supple and well-honed sensibility is "lost" to act as a separate unit was awakened by feeling.
Previously Mr. Tsujii "musician", but rather sphere has been known to climb into our world by challenging the work of many peaks supra as the "creator" I think it is. To play the works of supra Tsujii sometimes I feel that playing in interacting with the author. it "Homage to Chopin" also felt. work, "Breath" enjoys the interaction with playing in the form of authorship that infuse the. This is the "creator" I think the form they consist of having a deep-pocketed as.
The works of many former "Picture Book" is inspired by "or musical" creator, as sent out the world is "Nobuyuki Tsujii," said, like you get one day a picture book musical that I work in the name of would extravagant story. It was work that inspires you enough to encounter the original work of Mr. Tsujii kaleidoscopic future.
And finally a word. Previous "Pictures at an Exhibition" from a nature of this album and after about almost a year, "original version" and "Orchestra Version" in "versus playing a variant of the same work" What you are trying to be. from this point of the previous "Pictures at an Exhibition" was felt that it overshadowed a fairly heavy.
Here's another person's opinion: -- a Japanese blog
2011年08月05日(金) ピアニスト辻井伸行さんの自作曲集『神様のカルテ』
一昨日、NHK BSプレミアムで放送されている











オーケストラにアレンジしたものを収録した2枚組のSPECIAL EDITONと























Aug 05, 2011 (Friday) Nobuyuki Tsujii pianist's own collection of songs "chart of God"

Two days ago, has been broadcast on NHK BS premium

Program to introduce the artists meet with Mr. Beat Takeshi "Beat Takeshi Art" is

I was watching it I was a featured pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii,

The scene was broadcast recording of the album's own compositions that included only Tsujii.

Tsujii play's piano is a very clean and comfortable and beautiful tone as well as Chopin,

I also loved your own song on TV or through the album,

This is absolutely determined to buy, if you see what I look for a release time,

Was released on May 27 last month.

(The episode was rebroadcast this program in June itself.)

Immediately, your order arrived today, and amazon.

Tsujii's songs are well-known arranger four houses including one with Mr. Takayuki Hattori own music collection

The 2-Disc SPECIAL EDITON and recorded the orchestra was arranged

The only one normal version Arimashi own collection,

I bought more SPECIAL EDITON.

- You will feel calm from the first track,

Body is perfect for recuperating from the hospital quite come out of tune (laughs)

This album, first worked on the music drama "Still, die to live" and the theme song from

Exposed film 27 "chart of God" has been recorded the theme song.

Talent as a performer, which is perfect as is already known,

Heart's content has been demonstrated talent as a music composer was asked,

That produced the great music and worked on film music drama,

We ask that the next drop in the future will undoubtedly

You can also look forward working as a composer.

I was in the program 仰Tsu Mr. Takeshi Kitano,

Tsujii's song is it reminds me of the scene as if watching a movie in Europe.

In me, in the beautiful greenery of the park on a calm day the wind feels a mild Indian summer,

And the children are entertained, and parents are walking hand in hand,

Figure and an elderly couple sitting on a bench talking,

My mind always comes to mind idyllic scenes of people will be walking your dog.

Mr. Tsuji, born blind, cannot see.

The world Daseru produce beautiful music, which

Whole body feels and smells like the sound and felt something important to them,

I think looking at the scene and sees a gentle memories in their hearts to it.

Among the hot summer sun and hot room,

The one reserve will be coming to hear you feeling fresh.

I am grateful for a knowledgeable blogger who very generously responded to my request of his opinion on this CD.  He wrote a thoughtful piece in great length, which you can read here: Comments on the self-compisitions CD - Shin Blog
It is now December 2011.  I have learned to play, form a score book brought to me from Japan via New Zealand, to play the piece "Blowing in the wind of Venice."  You have to try to play the relentless arpeggio on the left hand side to appreciate just how incredible Nobu's performance of his own piece is.
On December 19, an article about Nobu's composition "A Morning in Cortona" was published on an online magazine, by Itlian Stefano Duranti Poccetti, although based on the YouTube version and not on the rendition on the CD  "A morning in Cortona", la sonata di Nobuyuki Tsujii per Cortona