Monday 3 August 2020

Review: "Some" rather than "The" essential Joe Hisaishi

Dream Songs: The Essential Joe Hisaishi

Decca’s double album of Joe Hisaishi film music isn’t quite as essential as is claimed on the cover, but contains enough good stuff to justify a listen. The best comes from a session Hisaishi recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra back in 2010, not previously released outside Asia. The LSO’s playing is as sumptuous and tight as you’d expect, with a selection of familiar pieces from Miyazaki Hayao’s films and some more unusual items, such as Water Traveler from an unfamiliar 1990s Japanese film about kid samurai. Leader Roman Simovic is luxary casting in the Kiki's Delivery Service violin solos. The LSO’s strings give the heft needed to do justice to Hisaishi’s trademark sound and sweeping melodies; elsewhere in the collection, which is a hodgepodge of recordings from lots of sources, the playing is less compelling. Hisaishi himself plays the piano on many of the tracks, but his hard and rhythmically rigid playing left me wondering what a more accomplished pianist might make of some of the ballades. There is, however, plenty for a Hisaishi fan to enjoy.

No comments: