Symphony "Inno Meiji" - Kosaku Yamada

  • Am Vor 2 years

    Sergio CánovasSergio Cánovas

    Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra conducted by Takuo Yuasa. Yumiko Mizoiri (hichiriki)

    The Symphony 'Inno Meiji' had its première in Tokyo on 1 May 1921, with the composer himself conducting a provisionally assembled orchestra. The work was often performed in Japan until World War II, as well as in Berlin, London and Moscow, as one of Yamada's masterpieces. There exist 78 rpm recordings of Yamada conducting the Berlin Philharmonic.

    This single-movement epic work depicts Japanese history from the 1850s, when Japan was in confusion as to whether to open the country or to remain in isolation, to the early twentieth century, when the country was drastically westernised. It is a symphonic poem rather than a symphony, although it evokes the first or the last movement of the traditional symphony, in that it is in sonata form, where two themes expressing Japanese civilisation and Western civilisation respectively, conflict and harmonize. 'Meiji' of the title denotes the Meiji Period (1868-1912), during which Emperor Meiji ruled over Japan.

    For Yamada, who was one of the most important composers in Japan and who adored Richard Strauss, the great composer of symphonic poems, it was an inevitable task to depict Japanese history in orchestral music. The instrumentation consists of triple winds with additional percussion, including hichiriki and other Asian instruments.

    Picture: "Illustration of an Explosion from a Torpedo in the Sumida River During a Festival with Boat Races" (1881) by the Japanese artist Toyohara Chikanobu.

    Sources from the booklet of the recording:


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