• Kyodo


A collection of classical music recorded in Japan before and during World War II has been reproduced as a reference volume of compact discs, the Rohm Music Foundation in Kyoto said Monday.

The recordings were selected from a collection of about 4,500 records that belonged to Masataro Sugiura, a Kyoto-based violinist who died in 1945.

The volume of five CDs features 22 pieces recorded between 1923 and 1944.

About 2,000 copies, which are not for sale, have been sent to libraries and schools nationwide.

The collection of recordings, some of which exhibit militaristic influences from the period, are expected to serve as an important resource for music students and scholars.

In addition to including works by well-known composers such as Beethoven, the volume boasts an opus written to commemorate the ascension of the late Emperor Showa to the throne in 1926 and a piece commissioned by the government to boost national morale.

Sugiura’s son, Toshiyuki, 72, felt the collection was a rich musical resource and brought it to the Rohm Music Foundation, a private foundation. The compilation was completed under the editorship of conductor Naozumi Yamamoto.

“It is not intended to legitimize (past) militaristic tendencies,” Toshiyuki Sugiura said. “Rather, I hope people will listen to the volume as a record of how Japan assimilated and developed Western music.”

A scratchy record player sound is preserved in the CDs and adds old-fashioned warmth to the recordings, the foundation said.

For more information on the compilation call the Rohm Music Foundation at (075) 311-7710.

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