One of the most grown-up review sites around


Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider


Shostakovich 4, 11 Nelsons
Transparent Granite!


Nothing but Praise


BrucKner 4 Nelsons
the finest of recent years.

superb BD-A sound

This is a wonderful set


Telemann continues to amaze


A superb disc

Performances to cherish

An extraordinary disc.

rush out and buy this

I favour above all the others

Frank Martin - Exemplary accounts

Asrael Symphony
A major addition


Another Bacewicz winner


match any I’ve heard


An outstanding centenary collection


personable, tuneful, approachable


a very fine Brahms symphony cycle.


music that will be new to most people


telling, tough, thoughtful, emotionally fleet and powerfully recorded


hitherto unrecorded Latvian music

 


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Toshiro MAYUZUMI (1929–1997)
Phonologie Symphonique (1957) [9:35]
Bacchanale (1953) [10:46]
Samsara (1962) [22:34]
Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra/Yoshikazu Fukumura
rec. 1984, Tsuen Wan Town Hall, Hong Kong
NAXOS 8.573916 [43:09]

Previously released on Marco Polo 6.220297, this is the second all-Mayuzumi entry in the Naxos lists. Short-playing time also evidences very early compact disc origins. The sound is, however, very enjoyable with no trace of that early 1980s 'Decca' harshness.

Naxos's diminutive 'Japanese Classics' series came and went in bursts but at its peak included Takemitsu (review), Masao Ohki’s Hiroshima Symphony (review) Akio Yashiro's Piano Concerto and Symphony (review) and Komei Abe's Symphony no.1 and Sinfonietta (review).

Mayuzumi basked in a fleeting dazzle of fame when a blockbuster score came his way with the Hollywood epic The Bible (1965). As far as I know there was no second or third. His concert music evaded international attention. A 1978 Philips LP (9500 762) has his symphonies Nirvana and Mandala and this was later issued on CD.

What of the concert music? There are orchestral works, electronic pieces, operas and even (we are assured) musicals. Mayuzumi studied with Ifukube and Ikenouchi in Tokyo and leaned, ever so gently, towards the European avant-garde. He stirred this with Buddhism and subtle strands from the Japanese world. If there is a criticism of his music it is a sense of only intermittently apparent connective tissue.

On this disc, which serves as a companion to another Mayuzumi Naxos orchestral collection, not to mention a rather good if even shorter First Edition conspectus and a single isolated concerto on ASV, we hear three works written within a decade and each in a single movement.

Phonologie Symphonique, from the late 1950s, shows Mayuzumi's delight in varying dynamics and exposed clarity of orchestration and phrasing. Within these confines he is unsparing with drama and shivering effects. There is at 4:29 an echo of The Rite of Spring before the whole thing - chimes, shouts and guffaws - culminates in thunderous belligerent declamation. It's all rather filmic and you could say the same of the other two pieces here.

Bacchanale is even more unbuttoned. It is the first piece to play if you are intent on exploring the foothills. Delicacy can be found along the way, as at 3:04 with a solo violin weaving a Hovhaness-like skein. The music often shimmers and many episodes conjure a mystical effect. There's a saxophone in the mix as well as a jazzy Bernstein-like swing and impact. The piece, like Phonologie, ends with a hammered crash. As with the previous item, the structure is transparently composed of short statements compacted against each other.

The Samsara tone-poem is the longest piece here. At first moody, persistent, chafing birdsong figures predominate. A dervish-like excitement sweeps through the proceedings and at 7:33 a very romantic delicacy. The moods shift at 8:37 and a sense of creeping and lying in wait asserts itself. The wispy solos suggest a poisonous garden - a sort of cross between Stravinsky and Ravel. The later part of the piece has some of the hectic antsy activity of Bacchanale struck through with a 'film noir' blend of brutality and tenderness. At 15:04 there's a far from soft-spoken stunningly accessible heroism but this soon curdles into a rhythmic hammering which suggests Honegger's famous locomotive. Unlike the other two pieces Mayuzumi ends the score in mystery not thunderous triumph. It's a sort of stripped-down Griffes Kubla Khan with no clouds of witness just the essence singing its way into silence.

The whole is complemented by notes from Naxos veteran Keith Anderson which set the scene with understanding.

Rob Barnett

Previous review: Brian Wilson

Delight in varying dynamics, exposed clarity of orchestration and phrasing yet unsparing with drama and shimmering effects.

 




Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount


Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger