Mr Kazuhiro Morita passed away. I’d like to express my deepest condolences.
I’ve gotten a lot of help and support from Mr Morita throughout my career. Since I don’t have a music degree, I owe my current position in the band industry entirely to some important people. Mr Morita is one of them.
When I started my career, my main work as an arranger was transcriptions of classical music. Mr Morita was literally idle for me.
Many transcriptions then were just like a “copy” of the orchestral score. However, the quality of his score, which was optimized for the wind band, was totally different from those ones. I studied every single note of his transcription Variations on a Hungarian Folksong (The Peacock) comparing with the original score.
The first opportunity to work with him was the recording session of my transcription The Tale of Tsar Saltan with Osaka Municipal Symphonic Band, and he was its recording director. I still remember that he told me, “Your score is very well written!” It was my debut as a professional, and his words encouraged me a lot. The success of the recording led me to opportunities for subsequent works.
Most recordings of my transcriptions such as Polovtsian Dances, Hungarian Pictures, El sombrero de tres picos, etc. were directed by Mr Morita.
He was always very calm, but he sometimes showed a stern face when he was in the director’s chair, which was very impressive.
On the other hand, I worked as an editor and engraver of his score in the score production of New Sounds in Brass. The editor has to make inquiries about the score. This process provided a glimpse of his ideas of writing.
Actually, he gave me phone calls a few times a year in the past decade to ask things about Finale. He always did at late night and the conversation always started from, “Hi Kurokawa, are you available now?“, “Excuse me for bothering you, but can you teach me?” I can remember his voice very clearly in my brain.
We always chatted for a while besides the main topic. If it was summer or autumn, we talked about his annual new arrangement for Ina Gakuen High School. I gave my impressions and he said, “It was a tough job. Hahaha” and told me inside stories.
In recent years, he has used a band score template for Finale which I provided. It means his recent scores including Les Misérable have their origin in Kurokawa. It’s only a small thing, but I’ve been proud of that a little.
Of course, I’ve conducted or rehearsed his score as a band director as well.
I selected his original work Flower Clock, which is a very beautiful suite, several times for my teaching bands.
I’ve conducted his Studio Ghibli arrangements many times, especially I’ve conducted Kiki’s Delivery Service probably five times. I did Les Mis for times as well.
I was supposed to conduct The Peacock in March, but I couldn’t due to the state of emergency under the COVID-19 pandemic, regrettably.
Again, thanks to Mr Morita, I’ve made my career out of the band industry. I thank him from the bottom of my heart.
I would miss his sudden phone calls or emails as well as his face at the recording session. But, I’d like to keep his teaching in my mind and contribute to the band society. I recently have fewer opportunities to write transcriptions, but I should do more as well.
Thank you very much, Mr Kazuhiro Morita!
May he rest in peace.