Japan Beethoven not deaf: Ghost composer

February 07, 2014 - 8:14:31 am
TOKYO:  The musical brains behind a supposedly deaf composer dubbed “Japan’s Beethoven” claimed yesterday that the mock maestro was a scheming manipulator who could hear normally -- but couldn’t even write sheet music.  The startling allegations come a day after Mamoru Samuragochi confessed to hiring another man to write his best-known works, including a smash hit that had been adopted by classical music-lovers as an anthem to Japan’s tsunami-hit communities.

In a press conference, part-time music school teacher Takashi Niigaki said for the last 18 years he had been penning the tunes.

“I am an accomplice of Samuragochi because I continued composing just as he demanded, although I knew he was deceiving people.” Niigaki told reporters he had been paid just $70,000 over the nearly two decades of their collaboration, during which he had composed more than 20 pieces.

The 43-year-old said he had called time on the deception after learning that Winter Olympics medal hopeful, figure skater Daisuke Takahashi had chosen to dance to a piece that would be credited to Samuragochi.

“I was afraid that even Takahashi would be used to enforce the lies made by us,” he said.

The piece is a sonatina supposedly composed in tribute to a teenage violinist with a prosthetic right arm who had been supported by the well-known musician.

The most famous work credited to Samuragochi is “Symphony No 1, Hiroshima,” which supposedly had been written in tribute to those killed in the 1945 atomic bombing of the city. The work became an extraordinary hit for a classical music CD, selling 180,000 copies in a genre where a hit often only logs 3,000 sales.            Afp