Qunihico Hashimoto was one of the leading Japanese composers in the first half of the twentieth century. His synthesis of Japanese and European musical forms was founded on two years of study and travel in the West. Symphony No. 2 was commissioned to celebrate Japan’s new postwar Constitution, but combines jubilation with an introspective nostalgia. Three Wasan sets Buddhist texts which describe the beauty of ‘pure land’ or heaven, merging traditional chant with bel canto expressiveness. Innovative for its time, the early Scherzo con sentimento melds Japanese music with Western neo-classicism. Hashimoto’s Symphony No. 1 can be heard on 8555881.
16th October 2013
“The [symphony] is astonishingly conservative, frequently sounding something like Grieg, but that also means it will be enjoyed by generalist audiences for its melodious colours and emotional straightforwardness. This is especially true of the first movement, which has a glorious 'good times' feel - no wonder it was also known as the 'Celebration' Symphony.”