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Fanfare, November 2004

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Calum MacDonald
BBC Music Magazine, May 2004

"Excellent performances..."

Scott Morrison, April 2004

"Performances here are masterful. In 'Overture in D,' Takuo Yuasa conducts the New Zealand Symphony; in the others he leads the Ulster Orchestra, of which he is the Music Director. Yamada is highly honored in his native land as indeed he should be; he was not only the first Japanese composer of Western music, he also helped start what became the country's leading orchestra in Japan, the NHK Symphony Orchestra, and helped to set up music education throughout the country. His life has even been dramatized for Japanese television. Here I must give credit to Morihide Katayama, the writer of the extremely informative booklet essay, for much of the above information about a composer I'd never encountered before. This is a worthwhile issue, particularly for those interested in following Naxos's continuing series of Music from Japan which is opening our ears to all-but-unknown music from that country."

Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb International

"The fine performers make out a case for them and for an under-explored area of musical engagement."

Robert Cummings
Classical Net

"In many ways this is a difficult disc to evaluate: The music is good, if light and indebted to numerous influences, and the performances and sound are quite fine. But the final verdict hinges on whether you are willing to listen to a conflation of styles in a decidedly conservative expressive language. Though these works all date from 1912 and 1913, they look backward to the turn-of-the-century music of the post-Romantics in Western Europe. K“s‡ak (K“saku) Yamada (1886-1965) was a Japanese composer who studied in Berlin and was later instrumental in the introduction of the Western serious music in Japan. . In sum, this disc contains about an hour's worth of well-crafted though not particularly distinctive music that exhibits virtually nothing that is recognizable as Japanese or Asian. Still, it's eminently worth Naxos's modest asking price, and many listeners will find it thoroughly enjoyable."

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