Fantasia Para un Gentilhombre (3) Joaquin Rodrigo Download 'Fantasia Para un Gentilhombre (3)' on iTunes
He's the Japanese rock star turned composer that's taken his home country by storm, but how much do you know about Yoshiki Hayashi, drummer with hugely popular metal band X Japan? We take a look at his new classical album, which features contributions from legendary Beatles producer George Martin, the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Tokyo City Philharmonic.
A doom-laden opening of low strings and an operatic chorus strike an immediately dramatic tone for Yoshiki's latest classical album. Very much in the same sound world as fellow Japanese composer Nobuo Uematsu at his most intense, this is a stately and engaging way to kick things off.
A solo violin passes its melody on to a solo flute and then an oboe, before the full orchestral power of the Tokyo City Philharmonic come in to add some weight. Delightfully delicate, there's an appealing simplicity and warmth on display here.
Perhaps one of the stronger links to his rockstar past, this theme for the 2012 Golden Globe ceremony is full of insanely grandiose piano runs and some obligatory drum kit action. Perfect music to accept an award to.
One Japanese rock legend meets a British rock legend - this track was produced by the legendary Beatles producer George Martin, and features the London Philharmonic Orchestra. In fact, this is an orchestral version of a song by Yoshiki's band, X Japan, which itself is a hugely opulent symphonic rock epic that urges the listener to '"Dry your tears with love." Here's a picture of Yoshiki from the X Japan days.
It's not a White Christmas and it's not even a Blue Christmas, but Yoshiki's Red Christmas is in keeping with the album's emotional, sometimes mournful tone. Oh, and here's Yoshiki hanging out with Hans Zimmer at a party. Like you do.
Well, themes don't really get much more lofty than this one, and Yoshiki is sure to eke out as much ministerial majesty as he possibly can with this lushly orchestrated tribute to Akihito, Emperor of Japan.
This is another orchestral version of an X Japan song, this time one of their most bombastic rock ballads. Perhaps because of the fact that a lot of X Japan's songs are heavily orchestrated, the transition from rock song to classically-influenced rhapsody is so smooth.
This piece was originally composed by Yoshiki for the occasion of the World's Fair Expo 2005, but that doesn't stop it being a richly individual sweep of orchestral textures. Here's Yoshiki signing copies of his new album.
A favourite amongst X Japan fans everywhere, Yoshiki turns the music of his old band into a soaring epic with the help of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Graham Preskett. Look out for the huge melodies and the even huger cymbal swells as this one builds to a climax.
This live recording of the Tokyo City Philharmonic Orchestra shows just how fanatical Yoshiki's fans are - you can hear them completely freaking out when he starts playing the plaintive piano melody, accompanied at first only by occasional French horn notes. Simple, effective orchestral writing.
This is a rather less bombastic version of the Golden Globe Theme from earlier in the album, brought to life by Quartet San Francisco. It's a delicate note to end the record, an enlightening exploration of one musical auteur's quest to turn his music into something more than a series of rock ballads.