Sunday 8 March 2015

The Story of The "New" Beethoven From Japan.

Here is a beautifully written piece about a present-day composing sensation from Japan. Deaf, like Beethoven, and a second-generation survivor of Hiroshima, and something of a cultish figure in his own right, Mamoru Samuragochi was a highly popular composer of music for video games who became a recent sensation with his 1st Symphony, a work hailed as true genius. Finally, Japan had produced a classical composer to be revered among the company of Mahler, Bruckner, Beethoven and the like.

Except that it wasn't actually like that at all. Samuragochi - a master of marketing and self-promotion - actually paid a musical prodigy with a serious problem of low self-esteem to write his music for him, and to stand back while Samuragochi took all the credit. But more than that, Samuragochi's deafness was another artifact - conjured up to enable him to avoid having to answer awkward questions in press conferences.

In today's world, lies of this magnitude, coupled with both success and a huge public profile, cannot be kept under wraps for very long. Even so, many of the corporate and institutional organizations who had hitched their wagons to the Samuragochi juggernaut, decided that turning a matching deaf ear of their own to emerging shouts of protest would be their preferred course of action.

That this whole drama played out in Japan, a country whose culture is so unique, and so different to what we in the west like to think of as "Normal", adds a unique spice to the whole story.

Please read Christopher Beam's well-written piece in "New Republic", which provides a combination of wonderfully intriguing characters, Shakespearean tragedy, cultural back story, and even the hints of a twisted coda yet to be played out. Frankly, I see this as magnificent, classical, absolutely first-rate operatic material. Thomas Ad├Ęs, are you reading?....