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Saturday, April 04, 2009
SNOWFLAKES ARE DANCING
The Newest Sound of Debussy Arranged and Performed by Tomita
RCA RED SEAL ARL1-0488 1974 STEREO
Isao Tomita was born in Tokyo in 1932. He studied art history at Keio University in Tokyo and pursued his interest in music and electronics with private teachers. While still a student he submitted a composition called Wind Mills to the Japan Federation of Choral Organizations to be used by contestants in a choral competition, and it was accepted. This led to requests for other compositions. He wrote the them music used by the Japanese gymnastics team in the 1956 Olympics and then turned to films and television, particularly the latter. He has written the background music for such year-long NHK series as "The Life of the Flower" (1960), "The Heaven and the Earth" (1969), "The New Tale of Heike" (1972) and "Kaishu Katsu" (1974), and for his contribution to the industry Tomita was awarded the prestigious Television Grand Prix for 1973. He has also composed music for TV cartoon projects, including "The King of the Jungle," which was shown on NBC under the title "White Lion"; this music was later incorporated into a tone poem, which was performed by the Japan Philharmonic. For Expo '70 he provided the music for the Toshiba hall, and he has been commissioned to compose the music for the Japanese government hall at the 1975 Okinawa Marine Expo.
In 1973 Tomita established Plasma Music, which is dedicated to the creation of music by electronic means. Other members of the group include Kinji Kitashoji, who specializes in rock music, and Mitsuo Miyamoto, who specializes in mood music. Among the projects being planned are a piano-synthesizer concerto; The Prince of Stars, an original piece being composed by Tomita as a fantasy based on a synthesizer, and Orchestral Prayer, for the Ohara Sanzenin Temple in Kyoto, which would utilize traditional Japanese instruments coupled with synthesizers.
Arranged and performed by Isao Tomita Produced by Plasma Music, Inc.
The Engulfed Cathedral (Preludes, Book I, No. 10)(6:18) Passespied (Suite Bergamasque, No. 4) (3:17) The Girl with the Flaxen Hair (Preludes, Book I, No. 8)(3:25) Golliwog's Cakewalk (Children's Corner, No. 6)(2:50) Footprints in the Snow (Preludes, Book I, No. 6)(4:30)
Editor's note: The first side is rather New Age classical avant grade but turns drastically space age with the last track. That doesn't deter from it's ingenuity whatsoever. The second side, however, (scarred by a clicking, popping scratch) is less cohesive and seems to wander. Or maybe my brain just started getting a little foggy by then but that's my take. Either way, you've never heard Debussy this way before. So...get out your moon boots because you're going to turn your carpet into a crater and partake in the Footsie Snow Angels on Mars Parade.
I came across this record on a few blogs and managed to track down some audio from WFMU's site. I would love to hear more from this honky-tonkin' caterwaulin' queen. Listen to the tracks below and I think you will too!