Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|I. Sugata, Kazuhiko Komatsu, Kanagawa Philharmonic Orchestra|
Isotaro Sugata: Symphonic Overture; Peaceful Dance of Two Dragons; The Rhythm of Life; Dancing Girl in the Orient
Listen to Samples
Lost and Found
Crazy Fox | Chicago, IL USA | 03/14/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Naxos has been introducing classical music by Japanese composers to the world for a while now, but this is surely one of their odder introductions. Imagine your debut album being released more than half a century after your death. But that was to be the fate of Sugata Isotaro, who began studying music in the late 1920's and became rather well-respected and famous as a composer by the mid-1930's only to slip into obscurity due to the societal upheavals surrounding World War II and his subsequent decision to remain in the countryside away from Tokyo. Some of the pieces on this album were performed but never recorded until now, while others are actually being preformed here for the very first time after having been found and retrieved by his family as late as 1999. Better late than never.
The music itself is excellent, satisfyingly complex as modern classical music should be but also imminently listenable unlike some of the more avant-garde trends of that century. "Symphonic Overture" is a stirring work very much at home with classical music's European antecedents, while "Peaceful Dance of Two Dragons" shows Sugata masterfully integrating influences from premodern Japanese music, primarily in the style of courtly Gagaku. "The Rhythm of Life" is a personal reflection on his musical career and artistic growth, sampling snatches of melody from various pieces by Stravinsky and Japanese folk songs in an unusual manner, while "Dancing Girl in the Orient" is a thoroughly original piece very evocative and atmospheric in mood and most approachable musically.
The liner notes for this album are extensive as is dependably usual for Naxos, and they do a fine job of introducing the composer along with his life and career before describing the date and occasion of each track and analyzing it in painstakingly precise musicological detail. This is always a plus, but is especially important and helpful in the case of a composer like Sugata who has been unfairly buried in obscurity by the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, as it were. So at long last, let's lend him our ears."