Not only has Ryuichi Sakamoto won an Oscar, a BAFTA, a Grammy, and two Golden Globe Awards for his film compositions—Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence, The Last Emperor and The Sheltering Sky—the former global pop star has left an indelible mark on music history. Although you might not know his name, over the course of his genre-defying career, he has shaped and influenced contemporary music more than nearly any other artist of the 20th century. And now, you can now celebrate his legacy at Candlelight.
With hundreds of candles surrounding the in-demand pianist Van-Anh Nguyen and a cellist this January, a beautiful evening of music that is all mood, atmosphere and feeling will be threaded together, note by note, and imagery of the natural world will fill your mind.
Ryuichi Sakamoto’s strongest influence is none other than Claude Debussy, the French composer whose own compositions evoked moods and scenes. The main theme song in Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, in which Sakamoto acted alongside David Bowie, is a bittersweet piano lament that slowly builds. The instrumental song, alongside the rest of the film’s soundtrack, speaks volumes when words do not suffice.
Candlelight’s touching tribute to Ryuichi Sakamoto includes music from other films such as Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Babel, Pedro Almodóvar’s High Heels, Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, and Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor. These are performed alongside a number of songs from his long list of solo albums including Energy Flow, River Flows In You, Solitude and Kiss The Rain.
All are capable of transporting listeners to another time and place, which is bound to happen when the supremely talented Van/Anh Nguyen begins to thread the notes of his music together on keys and strings.
Alongside Kraftwerk, Ryuichi Sakamoto’s contribution to music shaped hip hop, techno and all other electronic music that followed. At the height of his fame, he composed the music for the opening ceremony of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and in 2009 he was named an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters, France’s highest cultural honour.
He is a musician almost without equal. Celebrate his legacy as hundreds of candles flicker to create a dreamlike realm that audiences can escape to on Thursday 19 January 2023. With two performances on the same evening and tickets starting from $30, this is a Candlelight concert that everybody should look forward to.