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Red Dragonfly

Composer: Kosaku Yamada / arr. Fumito Nunoya

Instrument: Marimba

Level: Advanced

Published: 2016

Price: €16.00

Item details

  • Description +
    • Arranged by Fumito Nunoya
      Duration: 5 min.

      One of the beloved Japanese Children’s Song, Akatombo (Red Dragonfly), was composed by Kosaku Yamada in 1927 with the lyrics written by Rofu Miki. The lyrics say that “when I see a red dragonfly, I get a nostalgic feeling and recall my hometown and my mother”. It is said that the lyrics was from Miki’s own experience.   

      Before his passing, my grandfather (who was so kind) owned numerous rice fields in Japan. Every autumn, swarms of red dragonfly fly over the golden rice fields. Each time I perform Red Dragonfly, I recall my youth and the warmth of my grandfather come flooding back to me.   

      Lastly, I would like to thank all the people who have helped me during the process of making this arrangement. Without their help, it would not have been possible.

      Fumito Nunoya

  • Instrumentation +
    • Marimba (5 Octave)

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  • About the composer +
    • Kosaku Yamada (1886-1965) was a Japanese composer and conductor and is the first musician known in Europe and USA. After studying at the Tokyo Music School, he left Japan for Germany to study composition under Max Bruch and Karl Leopold Wolf and piano under Carl August Heymann-Rheineck, and after the study in Germany, he went to USA and conducted orchestras in New York. After returning to Japan, Yamada introduced classical music to Japan and contributed to Japanese classical music scene.

  • Reviews +
    • Review (Percussive Notes, June 2020)

      According to the arranger’s program notes, Japanese composer Kosaku Yamada’s children’s song “Red Dragonfly” was originally composed in 1927 with lyrics by Rofu Miki. Fumito Nunoya arranged this piece in honor of his grandfather and his childhood memories of him. This is fitting, as the original lyrics of the song have to do with nostalgia.

      The arrangement for four-mallet marimba is essentially a theme and variations, with the original song first presented as a four-voice chorale, followed by a series of improvisatory variations utilizing the performance of simultaneous moving lines in both hands, as well as one-handed rolls, double stops, and rotation strokes. The arrangement ends with a return to the chorale texture, this time mostly in two voices in the low register of the marimba. Nunoya’s arrangement contains lots of room for expression and nuance, with phrase markings, dynamics, and tempo indications all clearly notated. It is very nice to find a solo marimba work that focuses on the beautiful tone quality of the instrument, along with giving the performer technical and musical challenges that help highlight the subtle nature of this piece.

      —Joseph Van Hassel

  • Credits +
    • Front Cover graphics and layout: Gaia Gomes
      Photo: Hiroko Yamada
      Courtesy of Japan Music-Drama Society
      Engraving: Fumito Nunoya
      Printed in Copenhagen, Denmark
      Copyright © Edition SVITZER

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