Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Joe Hisaishi - One Summer Day

A number of director/composer teams have gained great renown throughout film history. The films made by these pairings have become classics, much more enhanced by music that goes beyond being merely incidental and enters the collective consciousness. The collaborations of Steven Spielberg and John Williams (such as E.T. or Jurassic Park) have earned billions of dollars, delighting audiences the world over. Alfred Hitchcock and Bernard Herrmann made thrilling pictures like Psycho and North by Northwest, still highly regarded ever decades later.

More recently, the team of Hayao Miyazaki and Joe Hisaishi have brought serious attention to their animated films, a genre often considered to be lightweight, a term that the creative output of this duo is anything but. Since 1984’s Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Hisaishi has provided sweeping, truly epic scores for Miyazaki’s work with Studio Ghibli. From the waltz of Howl’s Moving Castle to the genuinely moving choral theme for Castle in the Sky, Hisaishi’s compositions add both gravitas and joy to Miyazaki’s films, aptly establishing the tone of a given scene. Take for example, the opening scene of Spirited Away, light piano notes with a gentle crescendo accompany a country drive, melancholic beauty to accompany the uncertain feelings of protagonist Chihiro as she moves far away from her hometown. We’ll feature more from Hisaishi in the near future, as all of his film scores are essential listening for soundtrack devotees. Here’s a concert clip of the composer himself, a heartfelt, solo piano rendition of “One Summer Day”, the Spirited Away intro.

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