Yoshiki Classical puts the Japanese pianist and composer in front of the orchestra in his first worldwide classical release, an album that reveals his considerable ambitions. Yoshiki Hayashi has come a long way since co-founding the band X Japan in the 1980s, and his solo career has brought him international fame, particularly for three compositions that are highlights of this album. His song "Anniversary" was composed in honor of the tenth anniversary of the enthronement of Emperor Akihito, and it appears here, along with "I'll Be Your Love," the theme of World Expo Japan in 2005, and the Golden Globe Theme, composed in 2012 and appearing in a full-scale arrangement for studio orchestra, as well as a more intimate version for string quartet. Stylistically, Yoshiki has embraced the contemporary instrumental genre, which appeals to a mainstream audience rather more than to serious classical aficionados, and he has drawn in listeners from the world music and new age camps, so his fans are as diverse as his category-defying pieces. Featuring the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tokyo City Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Quartet San Francisco as guest artists, and including tracks produced by George Martin, this album surprisingly offers only fleeting glimpses of Yoshiki as a piano soloist on three tracks, so it feels more like a collaboration of all the artists, which is fitting since portions of the proceeds will go to charity.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson