Mstation Classical Reviews

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Mon, 27 Feb 2006

Toshiro Mayazumi

Toshiro Mayazumi, Mandala Symphony,
Bugaku, Symphonic Mood, Rumba Rhapsody
New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
Takuo Yuasa
LP, Naxos

This composer was born in 1929 to rich parents in an area of Japan that was virtually created in Meiji times, and thus a new community with a less traditional outlook. His father was a well-to-do sea captain and so there were exotic influences there as well. In any case, Mayazumi went on to be a very experimental composer in terms of the strictures of Japanese society and even though a lot of that had been turned upside down by the aftermath of WWII.

He played with different forms and was the first in his country to experiment with electronic music. What we have here is actually an application of European avant-garde music ideas and timbres to traditions of Japanese music and religious thought. While this is very interesting intellectually, it might leave a lot of Westerners with the feeling that they'd actually prefer to hear the originals -- which are quite hard to get as a matter of fact.

The Rumba Rhapsody comes out of a time in wartime Japan when Latin American music was one of the few allowed Western genres.

Early twentieth century avant-garde completists should probably have this. Everyone else should most likely have a listen first before purchase. (Baron K)

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