Yoshimatsu: Symphony No. 2; Guitar Concerto – ‘Pegasus Effect’; Threnody to Toki

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COMPOSERS: Yoshimatsu
LABELS: Chandos New Direction
WORKS: Symphony No. 2; Guitar Concerto – ‘Pegasus Effect’; Threnody to Toki
PERFORMER: Craig Ogden (guitar); BBC Philharmonic/Sachio Fujioka
Takashi Yoshimatsu, born in Tokyo in 1953, is a basically self-taught composer with 51 works and 15 CDs to his credit. When the conductor of this disc, Sachio Fujioka, impressed a Chandos executive with his 1994 Prom performance of Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances, he was offered ‘carte blanche’ to record a disc of his choosing. And this is it, already at No. 9 in the Japanese classical music charts, which says more about charts than the music. This is ‘easy listening’, ‘World’ music in its widest sense, as the influences of Western, African and Asian music are bound together. The most attractive work on the disc is the most recent, Symphony No. 2 (At Terra) from 1992, in which each of the three movements is a requiem, the first prominently employing a solo cello (Peter Dixon) with spare references to Arvo Pärt, the last leaning heavily on repeated ‘African’ drumming patterns. Craig Ogden is the accomplished soloist in the Guitar Concerto and, in a well-recorded disc, the BBC Philharmonic sounds admirable. Annette Morreau