Joe Hisaishi – Nostalgia with sheet music

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Joe Hisaishi – Nostalgia with sheet music

Joe Hisaishi - Nostalgia with sheet music free sheet music & pdf scores download

JOE HISAISHI: MORE THAN STUDIO GHIBLI MUSICAL GENIUS

Very recently, tremendous news shook the world of digital entertainment. Netflix announced with great fanfare the arrival of the complete catalog of films from the acclaimed and award-winning Japanese animation production company ‘Studio Ghibli’ headed by Hayao Miyazaki and the late Isao Takahata, two anime masters.

Often compared to Disney, Studio Ghibli achieved international recognition back in 2003 when they won an Oscar for best animated film with ‘Spirited Away’ (Spirited Away, as it was known in the United States) since then their films have been They became synonymous with magic, fun, adventure, love, but above all with conscience.

However, it is hard to imagine a Miyazaki film without the music of the great Joe Hisaishi. Much of the magic of his films is due to the exquisite musical work developed by the composer.

Joe Hisaishi - Nostalgia with sheet music free sheet music pdf

Joe Hisaishi, whose real name is Mamoru Fujisawa, was born in Japan on December 6, 1950. When he was only four years old, he began taking violin lessons, thus discovering his passion for music that would lead him to become a composer and conductor.

Before entering the world of cinema, Fujisawa ventured into experimental music with minimalist touches. The result was an album released in the early 80s but without much success. He then decides to focus on the most classic, without abandoning the experimental and most importantly, he chooses to create an artistic nickname for himself, that is how, inspired by Quincy Jones, Fujisawa would be called Joe Hisaishi.

The beginning of the 80s was also the beginning of Studio Ghibli, when Takahata and Miyazaki decided to join forces to found their own animation studio. In 1983 Miyazaki was working on his film “Nausicaä del Valle del Viento” (1984) but he had no one to score it, so Takahata told him about a young composer who he promised would be very talented. This is how the Miyazaki-Hisaishi binomial began to work together on each film and the recognition was not long in coming. To date Hisaishi has won 7 Japanese Academy Awards for his music.

But why was this duo able to work so well? Becoming compared to another powerful duo – Steven Spielberg and John Williams. One of the keys is provided by Hisaishi himself, who has highlighted and appreciated the musical freedom that Miyazaki offers him. That may be a key point. However, another factor, and perhaps the most important, is the dedication and hard work that Hisaishi puts into each film.

“In general, when working on a film, I read the script carefully before I start the composition process. For animated movies, though, there’s no script at all, so I just go through the storyboard. I compose for an animated film that has its dimensions clear, at least in terms of time. In any case, I carefully calculate what kind of music I will apply in each scene«. Hisaishi declares in an interview, but not everything is so simple, and it is very interesting to take a look at the creative process that the composer goes through.

If we remember, in the previous edition we mentioned how Hildur Guðnadóttir went into Chernobyl itself to feel firsthand experiences that would help her compose or how she immersed herself in the script of ‘The Joker’ (2019) to understand that dark side that finally it would result in a beautiful soundtrack that earned him an academy award.

For Joe, things seem to work differently, even going so far as to state that “composing is the most painful element of my life, because sometimes nothing comes to mind. It is very hard and difficult. Sometimes the result is zero, but I go to bed and feel something and then an idea is born. So in the end that idea can result in a songwriting, but the experience is often very painful.’

It is interesting that Joe describes his creative process as a painful experience, it is at the same time very human to say so. Inspiring even since one often tends to think that everything flows so easily for musical geniuses like him. Even Joe goes further, he states that he does not like to play the piano or conduct orchestras. According to him, there is an exchange of energy that is not even ‘it is 80 against one and when I am driving I am so focused and stressed that I can only relax once the presentation is over’

Despite Joe’s suffering when composing, the result is simply admirable and that is how he has created the music for films such as My Neighbor Totoro (1988), Princess Mononoke (1997), Spirited Away (2001), The Moving Castle Howl (2004), Ponyo (2008), The Wind Rises (2013) and Princess Kaguya (2013) to name a few.

But Hisaishi’s music is not only linked to animation. In parallel with Miyazaki, Joe has also teamed up with the great Takeshi Kitano, who has accustomed us to violent yukuza movies and others with much more dramatic overtones. This demonstrates Hisaishi’s musical versatility, his ability to adapt to the needs of the film and the needs of the director.

Hisaishi summarizes his story with Miyazaki and with Kitano as a process where the visions of the musician and the director meet. He points out that he doesn’t like to work with directors who only use music to accentuate sound effects, but he likes to work with people who give music the value it deserves.

Undoubtedly, understanding a little how Hisaishi understands and feels music helps us to value even more the work that a musician does within a tape. Just pay attention to one of the most recurrent elements in Miyazaki’s films – Flying.

I think that all – you can correct me later – Miyazaki’s films include aircraft or characters that can fly or dream of flying. How do you put music to a scene like that? Joe starts from the premise that flying has always been the dream of human beings. “I try to connect that feeling of hope with the spirit of the scene. Music that is slower allows the viewer to experience what is in the space between each movement.”

Each piece of music is carefully thought out to give the viewer a complete experience that fills you with emotion, which can put you in the tone of the film with just the first notes of a piano. It is impossible to think of the crazy race of the Cat Bus without those almost circus chords. Much less can we imagine Chihiro’s anguish after her parents turned into pigs and she found herself alone in a world of spirits and demons.

Try watching the party scene at the beginning of the Moving Castle without the chords of that beautiful Viennese waltz. Why talk about Princess Kaguya’s flight after being invaded in her privacy by the emperor. There are so many examples that we can mention, and we are fortunate to have the complete Joe Hisaishi catalog on Spotify, as well as being able to enjoy the wonderful Studio Ghibli movies on Netflix.

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