Yamato Concert History, Part 2

Back up to Part 1

Grand Symphonic Poem ‘Rail of Fantasy’

Live CDs, 1998 and 1999
Nippon Columbia, COCX-30110~11 and COCX-30654~55

During Leiji Matsumoto’s tenure as Yamato‘s merchandising benefactor, he passed his 45th anniversary as a professional artist and the first of these two consecutive concerts was organized to commemorate this milestone. Both explored the musical history of various Leiji Matsumoto productions, such as Captain Harlock and Galaxy Express. Yamato, of course, was front and center both times and brought the entire ‘old guard’ back for a magnificent reunion. Hiroshi Miyagawa arranged and lead the orchestra for most of the numbers and also described the origins of the Yamato Theme. Isao Sasaki and Kazuko Kawashima were also on hand to reprise their roles as Yamato‘s best-known vocalists. The inclusion of a gigantic pipe organ gave the lucky audiences a unique opportunity to feel the theme of the Comet Empire rattle their very bones.

The highlight of the first concert’s program book was an extended round-table interview with Leiji Matsumoto, Hiroshi Miyagawa, and lifetime Yamato fan Hideaki Anno. Click here to read that interview in full.


Yamato 2199 Orchestra Big Ceremony 2012

A long drought of live music performances finally ended on November 11, 2012 when this much-anticipated event came to the Maihama Amphitheater, part of the Tokyo Disney complex in Chiba. A 120-piece orchestra was assembled by combining the Toke Big Wind Orchestra with the Osaka Philharmonic, both of whom have worked extensively with Akira Miyagawa as a conductor. Together, they were renamed the Yamato Orchestra. There were two performances of the concert (afternoon and evening), both arranged as follows:

Part 1: the world of Yamato sound

11 instrumental pieces were performed from the original Series 1 soundtrack and 2199, including the new Gamilas national anthem. Female vocalist “Yucca” performed the Infinity of Space theme accompanied by Akira Miyagawa on piano; she first made her mark with it in the live-action Yamato movie and was brought in to reprise it for 2199. The Tokyo Mixed Voices Chorus provided more accompaniment when called for.

Akira Miyagawa gave a talk show in which he revealed previously-unknown trivia, such as Producer Nishizaki’s request that the Iscandar theme sound like Over the Rainbow. This factoid had already been known to Yamato music buffs, but Miyagawa surprised everyone with the revelation that the “fleet mobilization” music in the first TV series was inspired by the theme from Ben Hur. Check it for yourself: listen here and then here to compare.

Miyagawa also reiterated his statement from the February launch event that the essence of Yamato music is progressive rock rather than symphonic, giving an aural demonstration to back up his theory.

Part 2: Episode 11 preview screening

This was the first chance anyone got to watch part of the forthcoming Yamato 2199 Chapter 4, and fans were delighted to see the entry of General Domel into the story.

Part 3: the world of Yamato theme songs

In the third part, vocalists took the spotlight to perform various songs. Isao Sasaki (still robust at 70 years old) started with his own 4-song set: the Yamato theme and one song apiece from Farewell, The New Voyage, and Be Forever. Then the ladies took the stage. Yucca revived Love Supreme, the closing song from Final Yamato with Akira Miyagawa on piano. Next came the two end themes from 2199 Chapters 1 and 2, sung by Aira Yuki and Aki Misato. Between songs, Yuki revealed that Analyzer is her favorite character, and Misato shocked everyone by choosing Domel.

Sasaki returned to the stage for an emotional rendition of his classic Scarlet Scarf, then lead the house in a singalong of the Yamato theme (with Yucca performing the scat backing vocal). This brought the concert to a close after two and a half hours that must still have seemed like not enough to those in the audience.

Yamato 2199 Orchestra Big Ceremony 2012 CD

Columbia, 3/27/13 (COCX-37867)

This disc followed four months after the November performance. “Classic” Yamato scores open the show with a four-part suite arranged by Akira Miyagawa (based on his father’s compositions) first published in 2002, which became a staple of his concerts with the Osaka symphony for the next ten years. Several recomposed pieces for 2199 follow, interspersed with live commentary by Miyagawa about the origins of Yamato music. Regrettably, of the seven songs that comprised the second half of the concert, only two made it to the disc, one of which is a cover of the seldom-heard Love Supreme from Final Yamato. The vocalist, Yucca, was previously heard as the female soprano on the live-action Yamato movie soundtrack. We can only hope the missing songs will be released in the future.

Those who bought the first pressing of the disc also received an exclusive CD-size card image, shown below right. The following text is the introduction from the CD booklet, written by Yamato Sound Almanac producer Masaru Hayakawa.

Space Battleship Yamato. A glorious history that always had great music.

When Yamato launched on a voyage of 148,000 light years in the first TV series in October 1974, the heart of a Yamato fan was filled with rich music.

Space Battleship Yamato was blessed with a perfect maestro named Hiroshi Miyagawa, the prolific lyricist Yu Aku and singer Isao Sasaki, and continued its journey with a variety of different musical expressions in every work that followed. Many plans and concerts were performed during the journey with music in the leading role, including the Yamato Festival in Budokan. Even during the time when Yamato was at rest, composer Hiroshi Miyagawa frequently took up its music in his concerts. There was also a piece called Symphonic Suite Yamato that was suitable for orchestral concerts, and Japanese orchestras naturally added Yamato to their repertoire.

A point which should not be overlooked is that the fans of genre films like animation and tokusatsu [live-action special effects films], as opposed to other types of fans, tend to exhaustively analyze every nook and cranny of a work, looking for significance. Therefore, Space Battleship Yamato didn’t remain just a theme song. Even instrumental records of background music that flowed through the story expanded sales and subsequently made history as soundtrack music.

It is interesting that at the same time, the soundtrack LP for Star Wars became an exceptional hit on the other side of the ocean as an album without songs. Afterward, the Boston Pops Orchestra, which was deeply involved with Star Wars composer John Williams went on a Japan tour in 1997 (conducted by the young Keith Lockhart). When they took up the Yamato theme during an encore, it was a symbolic event in the eyes of this writer.

At the close of the first decade of the 21st century, a new generation of staff regenerated the soul of the original work with the start of Space Battleship Yamato 2199. The music that fulfills the world of the story has been woven by Akira Miyagawa, who inherited it from his late father Hiroshi Miyagawa.

Also revived was the festival of music that was always part of the Yamato movement. The Yamato Orchestra Big Ceremony 2012 was held in the Maihama amphitheater on November 10, 2012. It was performed twice, during the daytime and in the evening. The performance was divided into three parts, starting with “The World of Yamato Sound,” a showcase of typically excellent Yamato music sprinkled with witty talk from Akira Miyagawa. The “Yamato Sound Orchestra” took charge of the performance, its membership drawn from the Toke Civic Wind Orchestra and the Osaka Orchestra, both of which have deep ties with Akira-san. The Yamato sound was played by Japanese musicians with a reputation for both expressiveness and a high level of technical expertise, and was also filled with a sense of dynamism that was just a little different from the soundtrack.

During intermission, Episode 11 of Yamato 2199 was screened, and the second half was titled “The World of Yamato Theme Songs,” in which singers Isao Sasaki, Aira Yuki, and Aki Misato showed off Yamato songs both old and new.

The amphitheater, which serves as the dedicated venue for Cirque du Soleil, was reborn as a multipurpose hall designed to harness the work of a company that fuses acrobatics and dancing to a high dimension, and more than achieves its function as an extraordinary festival space. For fans who rushed to this concert, for a while it played the role of a launch pad to propel their hearts on a once-in-a-lifetime journey into space.

The happy time that flowed through the event of that day is packed into this live album as a time capsule. For those who were lucky enough to attend as well as those who couldn’t, this time capsule can be opened in a favorite place to give you the satisfying experience of reflecting on the Yamato Orchestra Big Ceremony 2012.

– Masaru Hayakawa

On the same day as the CD release, the complete score for all the orchestral tracks was published by a company named Hustle Copy. So far, it only appears to be available from their own website here.

Yamato 2199 Concert 2015

DAY 1: FEBRUARY 28

Yamato concerts have been around almost as long as Yamato feature films, but without the element of preservation to keep them alive afterward. Only three have been commercially released, and only one of those made it to video. The others are lost in time until further notice. (Though you can read about them here.) Thus, when the rare opportunity arises to see a new one, fans jump.

Akira Miyagawa has made Yamato music a staple of his other concerts, but this is only the second time he has composed and conducted a dedicated event, the first being the Yamato 2199 Orchestra Big Ceremony in November 2012. Concert 2015 returned to the same venue, the Maihama Amphitheater at the Tokyo Disney complex in Chiba. It was performed twice on Saturday February 28 and once on Sunday March 1.

The program was divided into two parts, named for A Voyage to Remember and Ark of the Stars. Thus, part 1 drew upon music heard from the 2199 series up to the departure from Iscandar. Part 2 picked up from there and took us home via the encounter with Gatlantis and Shambleau. Akira Miyagawa conducted a 60-piece orchestra and two vocalists, Ichiko Hashimoto and Yucca.

For more, here is an eyewitness report from one of the English world’s best-known Yamato fans, Ms. Ardith Carlton

On February 28 and March 1, fans filled Maihama Amphitheater in Maihama, Chiba Prefecture, for an absolutely epic experience: Space Battleship Yamato 2199 Concert 2015!

Composer Akira Miyagawa was the charismatic captain of the concert’s three performances, leading the Yamato 2199 Orchestra through his most momentous music from both the compilation film A Voyage to Remember and its recent theatrical side-story Ark of the Stars

But this was something more than a concert, beyond even the concert Miyawaga helmed at the same venue in 2012. This time, audiences were immersed in Yamato 2199 for much of the event through an ingenious combination of synchronization and effects. As pivotal scenes from the movies were shown on a huge screen with narration to bridge the story gaps, lighting effects bridged the world between the animation and our reality – sometimes encompassing the orchestra, as when they played in the baked red atmosphere beside the ancient hulk of Yamato in the setting sun, and sometimes soaring out into the venue with spinning lights and flashes heightening the excitement of the battles between Yamato, Garmillas, and Gatlantis forces. (And all, as Miyagawa mentioned with pride at one show’s end, performed without a metronome.)

Yamato also made an inspiring appearance in the form of the 1/100 display model rising in a brilliant burst of light from an opening in the floor. It ruled center stage for most of the concert, sometimes pivoting to face a new direction.

Miyagawa feels it’s important to not only enjoy hearing music, but also see and understand what it takes to make the sound – and the capacity crowds got that opportunity in spades! The 53-piece orchestra was at times joined by the Tokyo Philharmonic Chorus, 38 voices strong, for such resounding songs as the Garmillas national anthem, The Ark returns to the sea of stars (the new movie’s rendition of a gem from Be Forever), and Wakare [Separation]. Also featured were a pair of vocalists: Yucca, who delivered the distinctive Space expanding into infinity opening scat, and Ichiko Hashimoto, whose mind-bending vocalizations were all the more astonishing in coming straight from a human being!

As the concert neared its conclusion, it paralleled Ark of the Stars by showing closing credits – a listing of performers and event staff – to the tune of Wakare (which top-level ticket holders were lucky enough to receive as an exclusive CD). Then came the emotional finish, with all the performers uniting in a special arrangement of the new movie’s ending song, Great Harmony ~ for Yamato 2199, made all the more moving as it accompanied scenes of Okita’s passing and Yamato’s return to Earth.

The crowd demanded an encore at each show, and Miyagawa had a present ready: three karaoke songs for all to sing, complete with the ultimate orchestral accompaniment! With lyrics on the screen for easy reference, the audience poured their hearts into The Scarlet Scarf, the UNCF Cosmo Navy anthem, and finally Space Battleship Yamato. Come the final show, though, fans wouldn’t let it end – and a grinning, grateful Miyagawa returned to the stage to let them sing the Yamato theme again, this time conducting the crowd instead of the orchestra.

For those not fortunate enough to be there–and for those of us who were!–Nippon Columbia plans to release Yamato 2199 Concert 2015 on June 10 in Japan, available as a two-CD set (COCX-39088~9, for 4104 yen plus tax) or a single Blu-ray Audio disc (COXC-1115, for 5184 yen plus tax).

Wherever Yamato fans gather, there’s going to be merchandise to coax the yen out of their wallets, and Concert 2015 was no slouch in that department. On hand were a (1) program book, (2) a pair of key chains, (3) sets of clear files, (4) a scarlet sports towel, and (5) a personal organizer. There was also (6) a CD of a 2013 concert featuring Yamato music, which would soon be commercially released.

But the real gem, reserved only for those who purchased top-level tickets, was this exclusive CD single with three variations of Separation, the German folk song heard in Ark of the Stars. The sleeve is a direct reproduction of the album jacket from Captain Okita’s collection.

DAY 2: MARCH 1

Whereas two performances took place on February 28, there was only one on this day. But the third time through was probably the best overall in terms of performance, and the souvenir swag was still plentiful.

As mentioned therein, a new batch of exclusive concert-related merchandise was available, including a 28-page program book, a limited-edition CD single, clear files, and more.

Click here to see the program book from cover to cover.

Click here to see the other souvenirs.

Two different entertainment websites published these impressions afterward. The first is from Presepe:

Akira Miyagawa Presents Yamato 2199 Concert 2015 was held for two days at the Maihama Amphitheater, Saturday February 28 and Sunday March 1.

Akira Miyagawa was in charge of the music for Yamato 2199 , which started in theatrical event screenings in 2012. He took a new approach to arrange and shape the original music into the “Yamato Sound.” In order to relive the journey of Yamato through music, the first part of the concert was based on A Voyage to Remember, and after a short break select pieces from Ark of the Stars were performed in the second part. It was a special opportunity to experience a live performance that recreated the story by an orchestra of sixty musicians that originally recorded it.

Part 1

The opening was adorned by the calm melody of The Galactic Route performed by wind instruments. The Universe Spreading Into Infinity was the second number, featuring the beautiful scat vocal by Yucca. Yamato Sleeps in the Setting Sun was followed by Yamato Departs the Earth, strongly reproducing the scene of Yamato‘s launch.

The middle portion started with the Garmillas national anthem, Praise Be Our Eternal Glory by a mixed chorus of forty people, then the desperate struggle against Domel was recreated with Cosmo Tiger (Wan-dah-bah), Yamato Advances, and Yamato Into the Vortex, raising strong feelings.


Lobby display of the available merchandise, old and new.

The last scene evoked the sentiments of Dessler and Starsha with Dessler’s Isolation and Encounter in the Void. With this, Yamato safely arrived at Iscandar and the first part ended.

Part 2

The second part started with a beautiful violin solo for the Yamato 2199 main theme, but the power of the tympani rose immediately after that. The air changed completely with Barbarian Invasion. Then Ms. Kazuko Hashimoto appeared for Whisper of Jirel. Memories of Ark of the Stars piled up as scenes from the story were revived.

Later in the second part, Decisive Battle – Yamato, Garmillas, Gatlantis lead into The Ark Returns to the Sea of Stars, Separation, and Setting Sail, the same order as the songs were heard in the finale of Ark of the Stars. There’s no way a fan could sit in the audience without getting heated up.

At the end, Yucca and Ms. Hashimoto joined in a mixed chorus rendition of Great Harmony ~ for Yamato 2199 and the Earth was shown on screen with the phrase “ambition.” As the Earth’s color changed to blue, few could escape feeling it in their heart and shedding a tear as well.

Space Battleship Yamato laid the foundation for an anime boom that made anime music just as popular as anime itself. Many people have enjoyed the music of Yamato in concerts over the past 40 years, and this one was another step forward.

Set list

PART 1: A Voyage to Remember
The galactic route
The universe spreading into infinity
Yamato sleeps in the setting sun
Yamato departs Earth
Yamato big river theme
First Contact
Gathering the fleet
Garmillas Dimensional Submarine
Praise be our eternal glory
Black Tiger
Cosmo Tiger (Wan・Dah・Bah)
Yamato advances
Yamato into the vortex
Dessler’s isolation
Second Balerus
Presidential office – dying hope
Ambition (an ambitious youth)
Encounter in the void

BREAK
Crossing the beautiful ocean


PART 2: Ark of the Stars
Yamato 2199 main theme (concert 2015 arrangement)
Barbarian invasion
Gatlantis surprise attack
Grey-colored space
Seeding ship of Akerius
Ship’s log
Whisper of Jirel
Gatlantis
Picture book
Lerelai
Time of awakening
Decisive battle – Yamato・Garmillas・Gatlantis
The Ark returns to the sea of stars
Separation
Separation – setting sail
Great Harmony 〜 for yamato2199 (concert 2015 arrangement)

ENCORE
Scarlet Scarf
Galactic Route
Space Battleship Yamato


Far right photo (L to R): Yucca (vocalist), Akira Miyagawa (composer/conductor), Kazuko Hashimoto (vocalist)

From Anime Anime:

Fans felt the heat from the dramatic music of Yamato 2199 in a live concert

The soundtrack music from the Yamato 2199 series was heard live in Akira Miyagawa presents Yamato 2199 Concert 2015 at the Maihama Amphitheater on February 28 and March 1. The same musicians who performed it for film and TV gathered for the concert.

Inheriting the will of his father Hiroshi Miyagawa, Akira Miyagawa took the helm to arrange and compose the music. Bringing Miyagawa together with all the performers again had the feeling of a dream being introduced to the fans of Yamato 2199 music. It’s difficult to get everyone together for something of this nature, and the opportunity to introduce raw soundtrack music with advanced techniques and no processing made this a precious concert experience.

The music for the Yamato 2199 series is a combination of Hiroshi Miyagawa’s original scores and completely new music by Akira Miyagawa. The concert was split into two parts to follow the voyage of Yamato with music. The first half was called A Voyage to Remember, and the second presented select pieces from the soundtrack of Ark of the Stars. This incorporated many of Akira Miyagawa’s new pieces and changed the heavy flavor of the music to a contemporary pop atmosphere. The technique wonderfully embodies the world of Yamato, allowing one to feel the skill of two generations, parent and child.

Along with the music, the theater itself had a fantastic atmosphere. Many scenes were projected onto a screen behind the orchestra, which was exciting for the fans. The audience was pumped up even more by three encore songs. Prompted by Akira Miyagawa saying, “everyone sing along,” they joined in on The Scarlet Scarf, The Galactic route, and the Yamato theme. Everyone knows that unique song, and it was exciting for old and new fans alike.

The concert will be released June 10 on CD and Blu-ray Audio from Nippon Columbia.


Lobby display for digital Hi-res Yamato music.

Left and center: On March 4, Twitter user “Hikari” shared her impressions of the concert with these sketches,
apologizing that she didn’t know how to draw musical instruments.

Right: On March 24, the Hyper Hobby website posted this cartoon report of the concert by “Moo Nentaira.”

Click on each of the images for an enlargement.

Muss i denn limited edition CD single

Nippon Columbia, GES-15070

Japanese lyrics: Toshiaki Okamoto
Arrangement: Akira Miyagawa
Singing: Tokyo Philharmonic Chorus

This unique disc was an exclusive for top-price ticket holders who attended Yamato 2199 Concert 2015 on February 28 and March 1. It is a direct reproduction of an antique record of German folk songs owned by Captain Okita in Ark of the Stars. The album jacket is exactly as it appears on screen, completed with simulated wear around the edges.

The disc contains three variations of the German folk song Muss i denn [Must I then], one with vocals and two instrumentals, all heard in the movie soundtrack under the name Wakare [Separation]. Sound Director Tomohiro Yoshida had this to say about it:

This is an old Swabian folk song from the rural southwest of Germany. Although it was originally a love song about a temporary separation from a lover, it was later often played as a war song or a marching song in its native country, and was heard in Das Boot (1981) in a scene at the start of the voyage. Toshiaki Okamoto, a composer who was involved in the founding of the Tamagawa Academy, translated the lyrics into Japanese as a song about parting with a friend.

As a song that originates outside Space Battleship Yamato then, other performances of it can be found, such as these on Youtube:

Wooden Heart by Elvis | Muss i denn from the Das Boot OST | Vocal performance by Mireille Mathieu

LYRICS

Saraba saraba waga tomo
Shibashi no wakare zo ima wa

Saraba saraba waga tomo
Shibashi no wakare zo ima wa

Mi wa hanare yukutomo kokorohahitotsu
Itsu no hi ni ka mata ai min
Sa kikumase waga tomo

Goe awase utae ya wakarenouta o
Itsu no hi ni ka mata ai min
Sa kikumase waga tomo

Farewell, farewell my friend
I’ll say goodbye for now

Farewell, farewell my friend
I’ll say goodbye for now

Even if the body goes, the heart remains
I will see you again someday
Godspeed to you, my friend

We sing a song of separation together
I will see you again someday
Godspeed to you, my friend

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