Toshiro Mayuzumi: Mandala Symphony; Bugaku; Symphonic Mood; Rumba Rhapsody

Toshiro Mayuzumi: Mandala Symphony; Bugaku; Symphonic Mood; Rumba Rhapsody

by Takuo Yuasa
     
 

At one time, the name of Japanese composer Toshiro Mayuzumi was equally well known in the West as that of Toru Takemitsu. Both of these hugely significant figureheads of Japanese concert music died within mere months of one another, and while the passage of time has not eroded Mayuzumi's stature in Japan, awareness of his work hasSee more details below

Overview

At one time, the name of Japanese composer Toshiro Mayuzumi was equally well known in the West as that of Toru Takemitsu. Both of these hugely significant figureheads of Japanese concert music died within mere months of one another, and while the passage of time has not eroded Mayuzumi's stature in Japan, awareness of his work has dimmed somewhat in the West. Naxos has come to Mayuzumi's rescue in Mayuzumi: Mandala Symphony -- Bugaku, an excellent disc featuring the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra under conductor Takuo Yuasa. This is one of the best CDs of classical orchestral music to appear in 2005 -- the sound is bright, clear, and full, and the performances are outstanding. It contains two works, "Symphonic Mood" and "Rumba Rhapsody," that have never before been recorded, and a third, "Bugaku," which is unknown in the West. The "Mandala Symphony" is presented without its usual partner in crime, the "Nirvana Symphony," but these "new" pieces are so satisfying and revelatory that one does not miss it. "Bugaku," a ballet written a couple of years after the "Mandala Symphony," shares some of the density in texture that is a hallmark of the larger work, but ultimately sticks to evoking the flavor of traditional Japanese court dance. As such, it is decidedly more accessible than the "Mandala Symphony," and it is interesting that Mayuzumi would employ a harder, most astringent stylistic manner in works that he intended for international audiences as compared to those presented at home. The "Mandala Symphony," nonetheless, is certainly not as confrontational as it may have seemed in the 1960s, and is a bit more persuasive in Yuasa's version than in any recording that has come before. "Symphonic Mood" and "Rumba Rhapsody" are both very early Mayuzumi works, and it is possible that "Rumba Rhapsody" was not even performed at the time it was written in 1948. It is a fascinating piece, closer stylistically to George Antheil than to Ernesto Lecuona in that it utilizes the rhythm of the rhumba as a basis on which to hang riotous and exciting orchestral colors. The influence of Stravinsky is apparent in all of this music, save the "Mandala Symphony." If one is fond of first-rate contemporary orchestral literature that has one foot in modernism, little or no employment of serialism, is exotic in flavor, and scrupulously well-recorded, then Mayuzumi: Mandala Symphony -- Bugaku is a disc you should keep an eye out for.

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Product Details

Release Date:
12/13/2005
Label:
Naxos
UPC:
0747313269327
catalogNumber:
8557693
Rank:
248405

Tracks

  1. Symphonic Mood, for orchestra  - Toshiro Mayuzumi  -  New Zealand Symphony Orchestra  - Takuo Yuasa
  2. Bugaku, ballet in 2 parts (Court Dance Music)  - Toshiro Mayuzumi  -  New Zealand Symphony Orchestra  - Takuo Yuasa
  3. Mandala Symphony  - Toshiro Mayuzumi  -  New Zealand Symphony Orchestra  - Takuo Yuasa
  4. Rumba Rhapsody, for orchestra  - Toshiro Mayuzumi  -  New Zealand Symphony Orchestra  - Takuo Yuasa

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