the scores of toshi ichiyanagi

Toshi Ichiyanagi. Music for Electric Metronome1960

Toshi Ichiyanagi – Music for Electric Metronome (1960)

After his friend Toru Takemitsu, Toshi Ichiyanagi is one of the most famous Japanese composers of the 20th century. He was an early member of Fluxus and a student of both Aaron Copeland and John Cage, but unlike most of his contemporaries with similar pedigrees, he is largely unknown outside of the country of birth. His important contributions to Fluxus have been largely lost within the long shadow of historical revisionism. Like the efforts of many of his peers, they are somewhat obscured by the success of his first wife Yoko Ono.

 

89c50bb_0024e2

Toshi Ichiyanagi – Music for Electric Metronome (1960)

Beyond my overwhelming affection for the movement, I’ve been profiling the works of lesser recognized Fluxus artists as an intervention. It is my attempt to combat an altering of history I’ve witnessed over the twenty years since I first entered art school – particularly in the case of Ono. It’s entrenched within a wide reaching trend in contemporary art historical practice and criticism, and should be placed under our watchful eye. Internal agendas have been forced, and our understanding of the past is increasingly obscured. Ono was one of Fluxus’ more mediocre artists, but her work has worth and historical importance. When I first encountered her practice, this is was its critical and historical context. In the ensuing years her legacy has been inflated by institutional agendas (because of her role in popular culture), and no longer accurately represents its place within the movement. It now overshadows more significant contributors like George Maciunas, George Brecht, Allan Kaprow, Jonas Mekas, Charlotte Moorman, and Alison Knowles, among countless others. When institutions like MOMA choose to give her a retrospective while failing to invest equal stock in those mentioned above, something must be done to challenge these forces. To this end I give you a selection of the scores of Toshi Ichiyanagi.

 

Toshi Ichiyanagi – Music for Electric Metronome (1960)

Ichiyanagi lived in New York between 1954 and 1961. Early in that period, he encountered John Cage, Fluxus founder George Maciunas, and many of the other artists working with their ideas. When he returned to Japan in 1961, he is generally credited with introducing the conceits of Cage and Fluxus to that country, sparking a small cultural revolution. Though his entire career is marked by significant contributions to avant-garde music, his work has became slightly less adventurous as the years wear on. My favorite compositions are from the period during which Fluxus was most active. I adore the duality of graphic scores. They are beautiful objects in their own right, yet double as generators of sound. Ichiyanagi’s are among my favorite. They are stunning and embedded with countless layers of meaning. Here are four works – Music for Electric Metronome (1960), Stanzas for Kenji Kobayashu (1961), Music for Piano No. 7 (1961), and Kaiki [Recurrence] for Koto for John Cage (1960). Unfortunately, with the exception of Music for Electric Metronome, I haven’t been able to locate any of the music which grows from them (online). I hope you enjoy them all the same.

 

2e832600ee16870e1124caf80d3a9522

Toshi Ichiyanagi – Stanzas for Kenji Kobayashu (1961)

 

6d85e1620ea88d37df28452039f5f9b4

Toshi Ichiyanagi – Stanzas for Kenji Kobayashu (1961)

 

ab2bd69c0fa062575dfc82e68a5a5c47

Toshi Ichiyanagi – Stanzas for Kenji Kobayashu (1961)

 

35a7f8ae14162b560d05a0791bac1423

Toshi Ichiyanagi – Stanzas for Kenji Kobayashu (1961)

 

6ec703db204664489fde49912afb28e1

Toshi Ichiyanagi – Stanzas for Kenji Kobayashu (1961)

 

Ichiyanagi-15

Toshi Ichiyanagi – Stanzas for Kenji Kobayashu (1961)

 

ac6515f78c831b34bfad7f0b69325587

Toshi Ichiyanagi – Stanzas for Kenji Kobayashu (1961)

 

tumblr_mrq2rjpf751qbrhlco1_1280

Toshi Ichiyanagi – Stanzas for Kenji Kobayashu (1961)

 

0aa9d87744db0cd188102387d8d42206

Toshi Ichiyanagi – Stanzas for Kenji Kobayashu (1961)

 

1d537b7d6cd86eb3d82bfadd22a277c3

Toshi Ichiyanagi – Music for Piano No. 7 (1961)

 

b66d70e6418c04cabb5b0f3212da7e35

Toshi Ichiyanagi – Music for Piano No. 7 (1961)

 

tumblr_mrq34y8BXX1qbrhlco1_500

Toshi Ichiyanagi – Music for Piano No. 7 (1961)

 

tumblr_mrq37oY8Nx1qbrhlco1_500

Toshi Ichiyanagi – Music for Piano No. 7 (1961)

 

4b223785c773323705f1b86bdc6e419b

Toshi Ichiyanagi – Music for Piano No. 7 (1961)

 

e60675c1bd1a5984060c17fe9cc6f03a

Toshi Ichiyanagi – Music for Piano No. 7 (1961)

 

tumblr_mrq33nfxb91qbrhlco1_500

Toshi Ichiyanagi – Music for Piano No. 7 (1961)

 

ae89df2b5f25b7cb089bd5cd95e90374

Toshi Ichiyanagi – Music for Piano No. 7 (1961)

 

c4e9f79d5bac93557bac80486d8ef834

Toshi Ichiyanagi – Music for Piano No. 7 (1961)

 

Toshi Ichiyanagi. music for piano no.7 1961

Toshi Ichiyanagi – Music for Piano No. 7 (1961)

 

Kaiki [Recurrence] for Koto for John Cage by Toshi Ichiyanagi, 1960

Toshi Ichiyanagi – Kaiki [Recurrence] for Koto for John Cage (1960)

 

-Bradford Bailey

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s