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Listening to Japanese composer
Akio Yashiro -

'... good performances and a clear recording.'

Akio Yashiro: Piano Concerto; Symphony. © 2002 HNH International Ltd

Japanese composer Akio Yashiro (1929-1976) was rather a conservative figure on the twentieth century music scene, once.denouncing John Cage's work at a public concert when Cage visited Tokyo, with the words 'this is no music'. (A fellow pupil of Qunihico Hashimoto in Tokyo was Toshiro Mayuzumi, destined for the front rank of the Japanese avant garde.)

Yashiro's well-crafted and often fragile music is impressive and worth getting to know better. It's celebrated here on a disc in the Naxos Japanese Classics series with two substantial pieces from his small output. The Belfast-based Ulster Orchestra under Principal Guest Conductor Takuo Yuasa give good performances and a clear recording.

The prize-winning Piano Concerto was commissioned by NHK. The soloist here is the excellent Hiromi Okada. The music begins with an allegro animato which is reflective and oriental in its delicacy, but also contains more dramatic percussive music. To my ear, there's also a feeling here of Shostakovich.

A serious and single-minded second movement, adagio misterioso, opens softly with a single repeated middle C on the piano, joined by low strings. This ostinato pattern continues throughout, mostly in the piano, but also taken up by various instruments at various octaves [listen -- track 2, 4:51-5:47]. A whirlwind final movement, allegro -- andante -- vivace molto capriccioso -- with something of the feel of Bartók and Prokofiev, ends by quoting material from the earlier movements.

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Copyright © 26 February 2003 Keith Bramich, Worcestershire, UK


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