Musical Interlude No.2

Once again, classical CD producer Naxos amazes with its infinitely-expanding catalogue. Naxos brings cheap but high-quality CDs to the public, using mainly East European orchestras, and doing for classical music what the paperback revolution did for books years ago. But not only are the standard “classics” well-represented: every month a batch of new releases introduces whole new vistas of composers and compositions that deserve to be better-known, both ancient and modern. In August I particularly enthused over Sergio Rendine’s folk passion-piece, Passio et Resurrectio; this month, I have been glad to discover Akira Ifukube.

Ifukube was born 1914 and was largely self-taught in the hills of Hokkaido. His influences include Stravinsky and traditional Ainu dance music, and he came to prominence in his early twenties with his Japanese Rhapsody, which won a competition and was appreciated by Sibelius. His ouput since then has been diverse and prolific, and includes over 300 film scores. His Symphonic Fantasia No.1 draws on some of his most famous: in particular, Godzilla.

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