MOROI: Sinfonietta in B flat, Op. 24 'For Children.' Two
Symphonic Movements, Op. 22. Symphony No. 3, Op. 25.
HASHIMOTO: Symphony No. 1 in D minor. "Heavenly Maiden and Fisherman" (symphonic
To only three CDs of chamber music by Takemitsu – Japan’s
foremost composer of the 20th century -- Naxos has been adding orchestral
works by his elders and contemporaries. In June 2005 I reviewed a disc
of Yasushi Akutagawa’s music (the only one, so far, rather than
two as I’d surmised from the program book)(see REVIEW). Now we
have two additional CDs, both from composers who survived WW2. The younger
one year (1904-1949)
was Qunihiko Hashimoto, which couples a 20:38 Symphonic Suite from his
1933 ballet, Heavenly Maiden and Fisherman, and Symphony No.
1 in D, composed in 1940 to celebrate the (arbitrary) 2600th anniversary
founding as an imperial nation, a work lasting 46:25. Both are finely
played and recorded, although the symphony is too long by at least a
third, especially the 16-minute opening movement “depicting the
long history of the country” with a solemnity that degenerates
into patriotic pomposity. If a brief scherzo tends to overwork a folk
melody (pretty enough per se), the concluding “Theme with 8 Variations
and Fugue” is compelling music although not in itself melodically
memorable. The ballet suite, however, is altogether charming; we can
never know what Hashimoto might have accomplished has he not been a victim
of cancer at the age of 45.