The "Symphonie fantastique" by Hector Berlioz enjoys great popularity today. His contemporaries, on the other hand, tended to enjoy the usual classical repertoire in 1830 and were disturbed by the impetuous, almost brute suggestive effect of the revolutionary work. Andrea Battistoni and his Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra add a ballet music by Toshiro Mayuzumi from 1962 to this symphonic milestone. And what seems to be endlessly far apart proves to be much closer in sound, power and inspiration than expected.
Mayuzumi's work "Bugaku" continues an ancient imperial Japanese ballet tradition. Samai, the rather solemn dance from the left with Chinese roots, is the inspiration for the first part, while the humorous Umai, borrowed from Korea, dominates the second part with a performance from the right. Mayuzumi, whose musical language is strongly influenced by Messiaën, Varèse and Stravinsky, makes use, like Berlioz, of a luxuriant orchestra. Through the refined use of wind and percussion instruments, he always finds timbres that attract attention.
This was also Berlioz's speciality: although - or because? - he had no real skill on any instrument, he expanded the orchestral colour spectrum by several dimensions with his instrumentations. The imagination of a feverish dream due to spurned love, including murder, scaffold and witches' dance - not excluding mind-expanding intoxicants - finds its still gripping musical expression with the ringing E flat clarinet, a longdistance oboe or in the col-legno playing of the strings.
This brand new production is a highly welcome continuation of MDG's extremely fruitful cooperation with the Japanese luxury label DENON. So far these recordings have only been available in Asia. Here is the chance to experience a west-east sound bridge comfortably on your home listening spot. A stroke of luck for music lovers - unexpected impressions included.