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Akira Yuyama


Of all the works on this CD, Akira Yuyama's Divertimento for marimba and alto saxophone is the most obviously indebted to the west, the very sound of the saxophone having itself so many associations. Additionally this is the most harmonically conventional piece on the disc, its idiom hardly exceptional for the twentieth century let alone for 71 years later when it was actually composed. Yet the combination of the two instruments is certainly novel and is both exotic and engaging. A slow introduction sets almost nostalgic chords against an expressive line for the saxophone alone. The music gathers momentum to lead into a jaunty Allegro moderato with jazzy rhythms and inflections of melody and harmony which somehow would not be out of place in a work by a French composer. The music of the introduction intervenes, the saxophone's musings this time accompanied throughout. A greatly shortened recapulation of the Allegro follows, culminating in cadenzas for marimba and then saxophone, before an energetic coda ends the piece with the same lightness of touch which has been demonstrated to such pleasing effect throughout.

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