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ABE: Symphony No. 1 / Divertimento / Sinfonietta

Composer(s):Abe, Komei
Artist(s) Volkov, Aleksey, alto saxophone • Yablonsky, Dmitry, Conductor • Russian Philharmonic Orchestra
Period(s) 20th Century
Genre Classical Music
Category Orchestral
Catalogue 8.557987
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps
Download and Stream

Komei Abe was one of the finest pupils trained at the Tokyo Music School ( now the Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music) in the 1930s. His musical language is characterized by crisp melodies, structural clarity and, in the composer’s own words, ‘rhythmic ostinato by the steam locomotive’. Written during his ‘vintage years’ of the 1950s, the Symphony No. 1 and the Sinfonietta are scored for a large orchestra, including a wide variety of percussion.

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Review By Penguin Guide,January 2009

Japanese composer Komei Abe’s music is firmly rooted in the Western tradition. This première recording of the short (18 minutes) three-movement First Symphony (1957) is full of invention and vitality, neo-classical in spirit, with a whirlwind finale which employs, as the composer put it, ‘rhythmic ostinato by the steam locomotive’. The Divertimento for Alto Saxophone was written in 1951 with piano accompaniment, and was orchestrated in 1960. It is an attractive work, again, neo-classical in spirit, and tuneful, with a quirkiness reminiscent of Prokofiev. The Sinfonietta dates from 1964 and is scored fro triple woodwind and a wide range of percussion instruments. It starts off in an arresting manner, with robust sections contrasting those of


Review By David Denton, Naxos,December 2007

The disc's accompanying booklet informs us that Komei Abe realised as a teenager that it was already too late to start his studies to become a professional violinist, so he began taking lessons on the cello which was to became his career. Now we know for sure what we violinists had always suspected! Born in Hiroshima in 1911 that part of his career was to be short lived as composition seized his interest. It was not until after serving in the Second World War that he could settle down at the age of thirty-four to a dual life as conductor and composer. In the meantime he had fallen under the influence of many Western composers, as this disc would quite clearly show. The First Symphony from 1957 is a perfect example, the opening movement starting with a feel of British light music,



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