Ikuma, Dan (1924-2001)
Compositor Japones
Es autor de una

6ª Sinfonia "Hiroshima"
Para soprano y orquesta
La soprano canta en el ultimo movimiento
Dura 54 minutos
Twenty years were to pass before Dan felt compelled to compose another symphony. The occasion was the 40thAnniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima on August 6th, 1945. Dan previously composed a symphonic poem for mixed chorus and orchestra entitledNagasakiin 1974; now he was once again to depict one of the darkest and brutal events in human history … In one instant, mankind would never again be the same.
This work cannot be compared with any of the preceding five symphonies. This is very emotional music incorporating a Nokan and a Shinobue. These are traditional Japanese flutes played masterfully here by Michiko Akao, recognized worldwide as a pioneer of the "Yokobue", having commissioned over 100 works and having been awarded the "Distinguished Artist Prize" by the Japan Ministry of Education in 1982.
The first movement (Andante ma non troppo, quasi andante sostenuto) starts with the strings and the nokan anticipating the impending doom, briefly recalling Shostakovich’sSymphony #8as well as the "Agitato" from Alfred Schnittke’sString Quartet #2from 1980.There is a feeling of great sorrow here, a calm sadness and serenity exchanged between the nokan and the strings, the cellos in particular – a heartbreaking melody. The drums and cymbals interject; symbolizing the harsh reality of the catastrophe as the nokan reappears playing more desperately. A charming melody offers a brief, temporary respite – a melancholy lament. The tragedy in this music is undeniable and the movement ends with the eerie, surreal wail of the nokan fading into silence.
The second movement (Allegro ritnico) begins without a break, a kind of bizarre dance played by the violins and cellos. The introduction of Japanese folk music is especially memorable – the shinobue playing a nostalgic cadenza beautifully complemented by the orchestra. This is a touch of humanity amidst the atrocity and shortly to be broken by the tolling of a bell.
The final movement (Andante sostenuto e funebre) commences with a dirge, a procession with the nokan playing - not quite as sweetly, but just as sadly. This music grasps you very deeply and the effect is quite profound – reminiscent of Tchaikovsky’sSymphony #6. The exquisite Slovenian lyric soprano Anna Pusar enters angelically, singing in English, Edmund Blunden’s poem"Hiroshima, a Song for August 6, 1945":
Out of the night that covered her
The stricken town began to stir,
Out of bewilderment extreme,
The fierce vexation of a dream,
She raised herself in parching pain;
And no man heard her once complain.

It seemed, for what was gone forever,
Speedily woke a new endeavor;
Out of darkness, out of fire,
Sprang new radiance, new desire;
The stricken city rose to see
Not was has been but what will be

Hiroshima! No finer pride
Did ever earthly city guide
Than yours, to be the happy nest
Where the glad dove of peace may rest,
Where all may come from all the earth
To glory in mankind’s rebirth!
This solo, so suggestive of Benjamin Britten’sWar Requiem,undoubtedly crowns the work and underlines the importance of the piece and its ultimate message – the glorious resurrection of a suffering city. The symphony ends magnificently in affirmation.
It’s fascinating that Dan chose to perform the text in English – perhaps the sentiment and message meant to be directed more westward than eastward?
It’s also interesting to compare this symphony with two of the better known works composed on the subject of Hiroshima – Masao Ohki’sSymphony #5 "Hiroshima"composed in 1953 and Krzysztof Penderecki’sThrenody to the Victims of Hiroshimaof 1960. Ohki’s piece, composed only eight years after the event is the more literally depicted and subjective having much more in common in substance with Penderecki’s work than with Dan’s. Dan has the benefit of forty years of history passing and transfiguring that fateful day, while Ohki could still "smell the blood on the land". Whereas Dan’s effort ends with hope and glory, Ohki’s ends with an elegy.

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