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
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 Adès, are