Hamamatsu Museum of Musical Instruments

Kazuhiko Shima


Hamamatsu Museum of Musical Instruments

3-9-1 Chu-o, Naka-ku, Hamamatsu-City Shizuoka-Prefecture 430-7790 JAPAN

www.gakkihaku.jp

Hamamatsu-City, Japan
ACA Japan: The National Arts Festival 2012, Grand Prize in the category Records

Producing Museum Collections CD at Hamamatsu Museum of Musical Instruments





Opening


The Hamamatsu Museum of Musical Instruments was established in April 1995 by the City of Hamamatsu, as a part of the project of making Hamamatsu the city of music and culture. Being one of the biggest musical instruments museum in the world, it holds 3300 items, 1300 of which are displayed. The City of Hamamatsu is situated between Tokyo and Osaka, with the population of about 800,000. Major industries are agriculture , musical instruments, motorcycles and small cars. Especially musical instruments industry, or piano and wind instruments, is the world's largest and high leveled. The main companies are Yamaha and Kawai, as known to the world. The history of musical instruments making goes back 125 years. But the city had been just the city of producing them, not the city of music. So, in 1980''s the government started the project "The City of Music and Culture". The construction of concert halls, international piano competition, citizens concerts and many of musical events were started (or initiated). In addition, the mayor decided to make the first municipal musical instrument museum in Japan, as a symbol of musical-instrument-making-city. 

Concept


Although the musical instruments industry of Hamamatsu is that of western musical instruments, especially piano, the museum was not planned to be a piano museum, but to be a museum where all kinds of musical instruments are collected and displayed to introduce  people to the history and variety of musical cultures of the world, and of mankind. We do not think the instruments of particular areas are superior to others. We do not think European instrument is the best, nor Japanese is the best. We do think each instrument, each culture has its own value. So, the complexed biggest organ and the simple bamboo flute, have the same value in the musical, cultural standpoint of view, -not an economical standpoint.

This is our symbol message: By its shape and the materials from which it was produced and from the way it creates sound and color of tone, amusical instrument and the music it brings forth speak eloquently for the sensibilities and aesthetic sense of the region and people it represents.

CD project

Making the original museum CD, using instruments from our collection, started in 1997. The aim was to make a catalogue of the sound from collections. The visual catalogues were already published, but they were only pictures and data of instruments. So, we made first the 19th century brass instruments CD. Very short melodies and scales of each instrument were recorded. But when I heard it, I was not impressed at all. There was no "music" on the CD, there were just samples of sound!  I wanted to make a music CD, but it was very difficult to realize it because it took a large budget and it was hard to find good players in Japan at that time.

In  2004, I became the director of the museum and decided to start making CDs again. That year we made 4 albums; 6 harpsichords, 6 fortepianos, reproduced Cristofori piano, and Japanese old shakuhachi. All albums were full of music, not  catalogues of sound anymore!  Since then we have been producing about 4 albums every year. Many of them are the fortepiano albums, because our fortepiano collection is in very good condition. Mrs. Kikuko Ogura joined this project. She is a wonderful pianist, studied at Tokyo University of the Arts and Amsterdam Sweelinck Conservatorium. She won the first prize for fortepiano in the Brugge Early Music Competition.

She has much respect for the old fortepianos, always tries to adapt herself to the instrument to get the best sound, the true spirit of it. I found that she is the most suitable player and musician for the museum, where the spirits of old instruments and of the people who made, played or listened to them still exist. From that time, we made many fortepiano CDs and introduced ordinary people to the charm of fortepiano of 19th century Vienna, London and Paris People cannot know the charm through the huge modern grand piano of today. We must understand and respect this kind of heritage.The award this time is, I think, the result of our long termed and honest trial for fortepianos and 19th century European music to be alive in Japan, and for making the museum alive as well, for people to know, understand, respect, and preserve the old but important heritage of people.