Top 100 Composers: Toshiro Mayuzumi

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine proposed starting an online subscription-accessible music review periodical that he & I would write for. I was interested so I decided to write about the music of Toshiro Mayuzumi within the context of all the Japanese music that I have recordings of in my aRCHIVE. This led to my scanning the covers of all the tapes & LPs & CDs that I could find in my collection that were relevant. I'm sure I missed some. After a while I realized that any article that I'd write that would be as in-depth as what I'd imagined would be frustrating to keep under wraps for the very few hypothetical subscribers so I lost interest. I'll at least present the scan here as an addendum of sorts after I present the images more directly relevant to Mayuzumi.

Mayuzumi was certainly prolific, he comes across, to me, as someone who was probably obssessed with music. He was friends with the gay nationalist militaristic body-builder writer Yukio Mishima & I've read that he had a TV show that espoused Japan taking back its identity from post-WWII non-Japanese influence. Nonetheless, he was a maestro at composing with 'Western' instruments. The work is very diverse. Most, if not all, of it interests me but work like "X, Y, Z" (1953) & "Bugaku" (1962) are particularly beyond the pale - as are the snippets of soundtrack he did for the film "Street of Shame" (1956).

Listed below are the recordings I have of music by him in roughly chronoloigcal order including the movies that he did soundtracks for that I also have in my aRCHIVE. As an avant-garde classical composer, he probably did more film soundtracks than most & many, or most, of the movies are very interesting (such as the amazing "Black Sun" (1964) by Koreyoshi Kurahara & featuring the music of Max Roach).


01. "Rumba Rhapsody" - 1948 - 8:12

02. "Symphonic Mood" - 1950 - 18:45

03. "X, Y. Z" - 1953 - 13:50

04. "Bacchanale" - 1953 - 10:55

05. "Variations sur 7" - 1956 - 15:00 (with Makato Mori)

06. soundtrack for "Street of Shame" - 1956

07. "Phonologie Symphonie" (premiered May 28, 1957) - 11:20

08. "Nirvana Symphonie" - 1958 - 32:49

09. soundtrack for "Ohayo (Good Morning)" - 1959

10. soundtrack for "When a Woman Ascends the Stairs" - 1960

11. soundtrack for "The Warped Ones" - 1960

12. "Mandala Symphonie" - 1960 - 16:34

13. "Prelude for String Quartet" - 1961 - 10:53

14. "Music with Sculpture" - 1961

15. soundtrack for "The End of Summer" - 1961

16. soundtrack for "Pigs and Battleships" - 1961

17. "Bugaku - Ballet in Two Parts (Court Dance Music)" - 1962 - 23:29

18. "Samsara, Symphonic Poem" - 1962 - 19:28

19. "Essay for String Orchestra" - (premiered January, 1963) - 10:25

20. soundtrack for "The Insect Woman" - 1963

21. soundtrack for "Black Sun" - 1964

22. soundtrack for "Intentions of Murder" - 1964

23. soundtrack for "Tokyo Olympiad" - 1965

24. soundtrack for "The Bible... in the Beginning" - 1966

25. Concerto for Percussion and Wind Symphony - 1966 - 2:20

26. soundtrack for "Reflections in a Golden Eye" - 1967

27. soundtrack for "Thirst for Love" - 1967

28. soundtrack for "A Man Vanishes" - 1967


Note that there is some confusion about the 2nd piece.



In Tokyo, "Henry assembled a list of about thirty-five major composers of serious, Western-type music, including two of the leaders of the developing avant-garde, his ex-student Toshi Ichiyanagi and Toshiro Mayuzumi." - p 453

&, indeed, they are 2 of my favorite composers. Ichiyanagi was also Yoko Ono's 1st husband. The above emphasis on "serious, Western-type music" is interesting in relation to Mayuzumi b/c he was friends w/ Mishima & they were both Japanese nationalists who resented the post-WWII dominance of Japanese culture by the 'West". Mayuzumi even had a Japanese nationalist TV show. Ironically, or some might think hypocritically,

"In 1958, the chief of the Music Branch of USIA" [United States Information Agency] "solicited Henry's advice about the perennial problem of foreign composers who wanted USIA's assistance in promoting their works."


"The first composer to be assisted was Toshiro Mayuzumi, one of Japan's most promising talents." - p 461, "Henry Cowell, A Man Made of Music"

- full review by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE: "Henry Cowell":





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