Maki Ishii Live

Maki Ishii Live

Three percussion concerti by the legendary Japanese composer, homemade instruments
Maki Ishii
Ryan Scott
Esprit Orchestra
Alex Pauk
Catalog Number: 
new classical
in memoriam

Tokyo, Japan

Release Date: 
Sep 27, 2011
Liner Notes: 
1 CD
One Sheet: 

Critically acclaimed percussionist Ryan Scott is one of Canada’s most illustrious and esteemed musicians of his generation. On this CD are his first performances and the North American premieres of three Ishii Percussion Concerti, played from memory and recorded live in performance by CBC Radio 2 with the Esprit Orchestra, Canada’s only full-sized orchestra devoted exclusively to performing and promoting new orchestral music. Maki Ishii’s (1936-2003) creative endeavour was rooted in the attempt to stride two musical worlds by combining European compositional methods with elements from the sound palette of Japanese traditional music. The seldom heard music on this CD comes from a four year period in the composer’s life when he turned his attention to the art of the percussion concerto. Concertante for Marimba (1988) is an outrageously and famously virtuosic 5-octave concert grand marimba solo with 6-percussion accompaniment. South-Fire-Summer (1992) is an enormous multi-percussion and marimba solo with sparse orchestral accompaniment, which mounts to a powerful, climactic finale. Saidoki (Demon) (1989-1992) is an entirely improvised solo incorporating 3 Cidelo Ihos. These are metal sculptures co-created by Kazuo Harada and Yasunori Yamaguchi specifically to be played in Saidoki. Additionally, there is a vast selection of accompanying wood and skin instruments constructed by Ryan Scott. The orchestra parts are written meticulously and the personnel is absolutely massive: full strings, triple winds, 5 percussion, 2 harp, piano, celeste, full brass and 6 horns all spread throughout the hall and recorded on a multi-track system. The recording quality of these performances is exceptional, created by the award-winning CBC team of producer David Jaeger and recording engineers David "Stretch" Quinney, Doug Doctor, and Steve Sweeney, all of whom are widely regarded as the best in the Canadian recording industry.


"This recording is another brilliant example of the truism that the work of a composer only lives through his artists. We commend Ryan Scott and the Esprit Orchestra for creating an amazing and beautiful performance in which the musical universe of our late husband and father Maki Ishii lives on. This most certainly is an important contribution to the recorded repertoire of his works."
The heirs of Maki Ishii

"'Saidoki' walks an oddly subtle line between mysteriously arranged strings and some clang-arific auxiliary work. 'Concertante for Marimba' is the creepy, cartoony tip-toe, simmering strongly for twenty minutes without ever being brought to a boil. The closer 'South-Fire-Summer' pulls out all of the stops when it comes to the toys buried in the back of the orchestra, escorting a harmonically tense blanket all of the way to one of the more atonal, unnerving and exciting climaxes of the album." (6/10) [FULL ARTICLE]
—John Garratt

"Ishii means business: turbulent, compelling, insistent, startling, exospheric ... This is indeed a quality product. Splendid performances all round, with Ryan Scott in quite amazing form, especially in 'Saidoki,' where he seems to be playing every percussion instrument known to humankind, and several that are not, often at the same time." [FULL ARTICLE]

"Scott's mastery of the five-octave concert grand marimba is evident throughout, but he's apparently just as good at making instruments as he is at playing them: he built many of the wooden and skin instruments ... himself, and attacks them with relish ... Glorious stuff, check it out." [FULL ARTICLE]
—Dan Warburton

"By the rumbling ghostly ending [of 'Saidoki'], Ishii’s programmatic aim, to evoke the vigour and energy of a 'rough demon' with the 'inner soul of a human,' has been imaginatively evoked." [FULL ARTICLE]
—Andrew Timar

"There are many hours of re-listening needed here to savour every little detail of these pieces." [FULL ARTICLE]
—John Terauds

"Ryan Scott … plays [the pieces] with musicality and fire. All three have an intensive dynamic between percussion virtuosity & fire, and orchestral luminosity. They are excellent examples of Ishii's mature style and are played here with brightness, hard-edged thrust and a mastery of tone-color blending … First-rate music, first-rate performance, first-rate audio quality." [FULL ARTICLE]
—Greg Edwards