WORKS OF THE 1950s


Fire of Prometheus (1950)
Brief description: Ballet based on Greek mythology, premièred in December 1950. The original manuscript score is mostly lost; only fragments remain. Ifukube prepared a version of the complete score for two pianos and this score is intact. A full reconstruction of the orchestral score was completed by Shigeyuki Imai and performed in May 2013.

The Drumming of Japan (1951, revised 1984)
Brief description: Ballet based on the famous Shishi Odori (Deer Dance) tradition from Iwate, which is located in the Tohoku region in northern Honshu. Ifukube arranged the score into a four movement concert suite in 1984.

Song of Obihiro (1952)
Brief description: Song commissioned by the town of Obihiro, Hokkaido. Ifukube lived in Obihiro briefly during his youth.

Upopo (1952)
Brief description: A jingle/station identfier written for the Hokkaido Broadcasting Company (HBC) based on an Ainu melody.

Shaka (1953)
Brief description: Ballet based on the life of Buddha.

Sinfonia Tapkaara (1954, revised 1979)
Brief description: Ifukube's one and only symphony, based on the Ainu Tapkaara dance. Three movements: Lento-Allegro, Adagio, Vivace. Premièred in December 1955 in Indianapolis. Dedicated to Atsushi Miura.

Deux caractères pour violon et piano (1955, revised 1961)
Brief description: Work for violin and piano. Written for Nap de Klijn and Alice Heksch, a husband-and-wife duo known as the Amsterdam Duo. Ifukube revised the score in 1961; this revised version was premièred by another husband-and-wife team, Shigetoshi Yamada and Reiko Yamada, in a 2008 recording.

Eclogues after Epos among Aino Races (1956)
Brief description: Work for soprano and four tuned timpani based on traditional Ainu recitations in three movements: Song of an Old Woman, Song of a Bird Dying in the Northern Sea, Dancing Song of a Young Girl and a Witch.

Fashan Jarbô (1956)
Brief description: Ballet in which Ifukube wrote the music, libretto and even designed the costumes. Based on the "Lamaist tale of Takue." Complete orchestral score is intact, however, the score is not available in any commercial recordings at this time.

Ode - The Sea of Okhotsk (1958)
Brief description: Scored for wind orchestra, low-pitched strings (no violins or violas) and choir. In 1988 Ifukube made an arrangement of this score for soprano, bassoon, contrabass and piano.

A Shanty of the Shiretoko Peninsula (1959)
Brief description: Work for soprano, solo bass and piano based on Ainu aesthetics.



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