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The Symphony was commissioned by the Japan Philharmonic Society Orchestra. A mysterious first movement, prelude: adagio -- moderato, runs much of its course over a rocking two-note pattern, building to a powerful climax. Morihide Katayama, in the detailed CD booklet notes, suggests this is based on unfinished music inspired by Oscar Wilde's Salome, written whilst Yoshiro was studying in Paris (with Nadia Boulanger and Olivier Messiaen, whose influence shines through in much of his pupil's writing).

A short, light and witty Scherzo-vivace is based on another tiny motif and an irregular 6/8 2/8 6/8 rhythm (from Kagura-bayashi, the ritual shinto music), and is reminiscent of Messiaen's Turangalîla Symphony [listen -- track 5, 2:50-3:48]. A long, expressive lento third movement, Viennese-sounding and also Messiaen-like, quotes from traditional Japanese festival music and Noh plays. The adagio -- allegro energico finale again quotes from Japanese material, and brings the work to a swashbuckling end.

Copyright © 26 February 2003 Keith Bramich, Worcestershire, UK


Japanese Classics - Akio Yashiro

8.555351 DDD Stereo NEW RELEASE 59'34" 2002 HNH International Ltd

Hiromi Okada, piano; Ulster Orchestra; Takuo Yuasa, conductor

Piano Concerto (1964-7); Symphony (1958)



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