Moroi: Symphony No. 2

Yomiuri Nippon Symphony, Shigenobu Yamaoka conducting

This is a difficult recording to find. Your best bet is via an Internet trade with a Japanese collector. If you like bold yet deep-thinking symphonies with clear-cut, memorable ideas, and you want something really different, this is it: a pre-World War II (circa 1938) Japanese symphony in Western style. Cast in three powerful movements, Saburo Moroi’s symphony is somewhat reminiscent of Dmitri Shostakovich’s angst via Anton Bruckner’s brassy glory. Like many post-19th-century symphonic stepchildren, it follows the path of struggle toward victory. But Moroi was on to something else. In the final movement, we definitely feel that, although the battle is won, victory is a long way off and, in fact, impossible. Shigenobu Yamaoka leads the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony in this remarkable piece. The sound is spectacular.