AKUTAGAWA: Ellora Symphony / Trinita Sinfonica / Rhapsody. Naxos 8.555975
- Conductor: Takuo Yuasa
- Orchestra(s): New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
Yasushi Akutagawa was a leading figure not only in Japanese music but general culture, whose compositions embraced many genres and fields. The 1948 Trinita Sinfonica, characterised by catchy melodies and light-footed ostinatos, was composed during his ‘Sino-Soviet’ period (1947–1957) when cultural exchanges with the USSR and China brought him into contact with the music of Shostakovich and Kabalevsky, among others. The Ellora Symphony, a savage bacchanal based on erotic visions of pagan India, belongs to Akutagawa’s second creative period (1958–1967), when he embraced the new avant-garde trends promoted by Mayuzumi and Takemitsu. In the 1971 Rapsodia, Akutagawa returns to his compositional starting point of ostinato, lyricism and dynamism, only occasionally using avantgarde techniques. The composer himself describes the work as music in which a witch waves a short wand, transforming a Japanese-style Adagio into a fierce Allegro.