C0075. HIROSHI WAKASUGI Cond. Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra: Symphony in E; Symphony in C (both Wagner). (Japan) Denon 102370, recorded 1992. -
“This is a fine album for Wagner fans who want to check out the composer's non-operatic output. The Symphony in C (written at age 19) may be familiar, and is actually available in other CDs. However, the Symphony in E, Wagner's uncompleted creation from age 21, may not. I decided to opt for this disk for the chance to hear both works in one album. This CD features Wagner's 1882 revision of the Symphony in C which was performed two months before his death. Wagner completed the first movement of the Symphony in E but only 29 bars of the second movement. In 1887, a performance version based on these 29 bars was prepared by conductor Felix Mottl at the request of Wagner's widow Cosima. This performance version of the second movement is included on this disk.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra and Hiroshi Wakasugi recorded this disk in Tokyo, 1992. I found the performances quite satisfactory and spirited. I thought the engineered sound was very good, too. The liner notes include historical notes, movement-by-movement analyses, and background of the performers.”
- Ned Ludd
"Hiroshi Wakasugi was a Japanese orchestra conductor. He premiered many of the major Western operas in Japan, and was honoured with many awards for cultural achievement. He was best known for conducting works by German composers such as Richard Wagner, Anton Bruckner, Gustav Mahler, and Richard Strauss.
In his teenage years Wakasugi worked as a répétiteur for the Tokyo Nikikai Opera. Nevertheless, he attended the Faculty of Economics at Keio University, but soon dropped out to study music with Hideo Saito and Nobori Kaneko at the Tokyo University of the Arts. After graduation he was appointed researching conductor of the NHK Symphony Orchestra. From 1965 he led and developed the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, now one of the leading orchestras in Japan. For leading the Japanese premiere of Penderecki's ST. LUKE PASSION, Wakasugi was awarded the National Arts Festival Prize by the Agency for Cultural Affairs in 1968. He established the Tokyo Chamber Opera Theatre in 1969 and remained its artistic director for the rest of his life.
Besides leading many international orchestras, Wakasugi was principal conductor of the Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra from 1977 to 1983, and general music director of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Düsseldorf from 1981 to 1986. He was artistic director and principal conductor of the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich in Switzerland from 1987 to 1991. From 1982 to 1991, he was also a permanent conductor at the Semperoper Dresden and Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden. Wakasugi was chosen to be the former's next music director, but the reunification of Germany and the unraveling of the East German theatre system derailed this appointment.
He was music director (1986–1995) and principal conductor (1987–1995) of the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra. In spring 1995 he was appointed a permanent conductor of the NHK Symphony Orchestra.
In 2005 he was first named artistic consultant to the opera division of the New National Theatre Tokyo, then two years later its artistic director in September 2007. During his tenure there he led the Japanese premiere of Bernd Alois Zimmermann's DIE SOLDATEN a few months before his death. In his final years he was also the artistic director of Biwako Opera Theatre.”