Gorô Yamaguchi
Great Masters of the Shakuhachi Flute



1. Yûgure-No-Kyoku ("the tune of everything")
2. Igusa-Reibo ("rush plant yearning for the bell")
3. Sôkaku-Reibo ("nesting of a crane")
4. Hô-Shô-Su ("young phoenix")

Extra shakuhachi (track #4): Hômei Matsumara
Gorô Yamaguchi  plays some of the most austere pieces in the shakuhachi repertory for this recording. The music generally has something of a plaintive nature, but includes some rather dissonant-sounding passages, including trills. This music generally has associations with Zen.

Gorō Yamaguchi (山口 五郎) February 26, 1933- January 3, 1999, a Japanese shakuhachi (vertical bamboo flute) player, was known for his musicality, phrasing, impeccable technique (and modesty) in solo and ensemble performances. He headed the Chikumeisha shakuhachi guild and became a world-famous Japanese performer and teacher. In 1967-68 he was appointed Artist in Residence at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut (USA).

While at Wesleyan, Nonesuch Explorer Series recorded his "Bell Ringing in an Empty Sky" LP, an influential first recording of shakuhachi in the US. NASA included one honkyoku from that LP, "Tsuru No Sugomori," (Nesting of Cranes) on the Voyager Golden Record which was sent into space. In 1992, the Japanese government designated Yamaguchi a Living National Treasure (Ningen Kokuhô).
Gorô Yamaguchi is considered one of the greatest Japanese shakuhachi players of the 20th century. From 1992 to his untimely death in January of 1999, at the age of 65, he was designated "National Living Treasure," a unique title given in Japan to artists who attained the highest mastery of their art. This CD, released by Auvidis in 1988, presents a master at the height of his art. What strikes with Goro Yamaguchi is the subtlety of his playing. The music is so meditative, so peaceful, so gentle, so natural, so masterly and effortlessly performed (although this flute is considered one of the hardest to play). Meditative music at is best! ~ Bruno Deschênes
The shakuhachi (尺八, pronounced [ɕakɯhatɕi]) is a Japanese end-blown flute. It is traditionally made of bamboo, but versions now exist in ABS and hardwoods. It was used by the monks of the Fuke school of Zen Buddhism in the practice of suizen (吹禅, blowing meditation).

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