Takuo Yuasa: Yasushi Akutagawa Rhapsody for Orchestra, New Zealand Symphony

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Rhapsody for Orchestra (1971)
Conductor: Takuo Yuasa
New Zealand Symphony Orchestra

An orchestral work by Japanese composer Yasushi Akutagawa (1925-1989), the youngest son of the renowned writer Ryunosuke Akutagawa. Yasushi Akutagawa studied composition with Qunihico Hashimoto, who was in turn a student of Egon Wellesz, Midori Hosokawa, who trained with Franz Schmidt in Vienna, and later with Akira Ifukube. Akutagawa's own musical style drew on both the lyricism of Hashimoto and the almost primitivist dynamism of Ifukube. In 1971, the Bunka-cho (Agency for Cultural Affairs) commissioned the Rhapsody. It is scored for strings, triple or quadruple wind and a large percussion section. Akutagawa described this piece as a vision of a sorcerer waving a short wand.