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The predominant influence on this Naxos disc is Japanese folk music. Kabuki percussion features strongly in the 1960 Rhapsody for Orchestra by Hindemith pupil Yuzo Toyama (born 1931), who incorporates the traditional songs of fishermen, miners and pack-horse drivers, plus folk music from banquets and festivals [listen -- track 1, 2:46-3:46].

Also strong are Western influences -- Prokofiev, Shostakovich and possibly Kabalevsky, who show through clearly in the allegro second movement of Music for Symphony Orchestra [listen -- track 6, 3:45-4:58] by Yasushi Akutagawa (1925-89).

Ryusuke Numajiri and the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra provide first class performances. For those wanting to know more, a detailed essay by Morihide Katayarna on the music of this interesting CD is included in the notes, and the English version is available in full on the Naxos website. There's also some information about each of these composers available online in English.

Copyright © 23 April 2003 Keith Bramich, London, UK

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Japanese Orchestral Favourites

8.555071 DDD Stereo 65'41" 2002 IVY Corporation and HNH International Ltd

Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra; Ryusuke Numajiri, conductor

Yuzo Toyama: Rhapsody for orchestra (1960); arr Hidemaro Konoye: Etenraku (1931); Akira Ifukube: Japanese Rhapsody (1935); Yasushi Akutagawa: Music for Symphony Orchestra (1950); Kiyoshige Koyama: Kobiki-Uta for Orchestra (1957); Takashi Yoshimatsu: Threnody to Toki for string orchestra and piano Op 12 (1979 rev 1980)

BUY THIS DISC FROM CROTCHET

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YUZO TOYAMA

HIDEMARO KONOYE

AKIRA IFUKUBE

YASUSHI AKUTAGAWA

KIYOSHIGE KOYAMA

TAKASHI YOSHIMATSU

MUSIC FROM JAPAN

THE MUSIC OF AKIO YASHIRO

A TAKEMITSU CD REVIEW

SLEEPING KING - MODERN KABUKI AND WESTERN OPERA

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