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Bryan Ashley / Sapporo Sym Orch / Otaka: Fantasy for Organ & Orchestra .
The Classical Shop
release date: January 2001
Originally recorded in 2000
Sapporo Symphony Orchestra
Kitara Concert Hall, Sapporo, Japan
Orchestral & Concertos
Total Time - 77:52
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Fantasy for Organ and Orchestra*
Nami no Bon
Tray of waves -
Misa's theme -
Faded letter -
Shadow of night -
Misa and Kosaku -
Memory of the Sea
Tadaaki Ataka conducts premiere recordings of works by fellow Japanese composers.
This disc features two premiere recordings, Fantasy for Organ and Orchestra by Atsutada Otaka and Memory of the Sea – Hiroshima Symphony from Toshio Hosokawa.
These premieres are coupled with two works by the well known Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu who has recently enjoyed growing popularity of his music.
This disc was recorded in the Sapporo Concert Hall, home of the Sapporo Symphony Orchestra, which is said to have the best acoustics in Japan.
The works on this disc are conducted by Tadaaki Otaka, the younger brother of the composer Atsutada Otaka whose Fantasy for Organ and Orchestra is featured. Otaaka began his conducting career as guest conductor for the Tokyo Philharmonic, continued with the Sapporo Symphony Orchestra, and went on to become Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra, later the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. He is an ideal exponent for this music.
The music of Toru Takemitsu is now well known and it is no longer necessary for conductors to explain the composer’s unique notation. He had a wide knowledge of musical styles which he, unusually, studied by beginning with Berg and continuing backwards to early music. His music is technically difficult and the tempi are generally slow, but the overall impression is one of extreme beauty.
Takemitsu wrote a wealth of music for film and television. The Japanese director Akira Kurosawa, with whom he had worked before, asked Takemitsu to take charge of the music for his film Ran. The composer composed the score and enlisted the help of his favourite orchestra, the Sapporo Symphony Orchestra. He uses a conventional orchestra including, unusually for Takemitsu, timpani which suit the film admirably. Nami no Bon was a television drama. The hero is a Japanese-Hawaiian and the programme is set around the conflict between first and second generation Japanese-Hawaiians during the Pacific War. The music lifts the heavy subject matter beyond the gloomy expectations.
Toshio Hosokawa filters various essences from natural scenery and transforms them into sound, demonstrating a kind of noble magic; he never focuses on technical skill alone but adds heartfelt sincerity. Two groups of banda (musicians who play apart from the orchestra) were added – left and right – behind the audience, generating a three-dimensional effect. Hosokawa grew up in Hiroshima and wanted to write a paean to the invisible power of nature that had so powerfully overcome the devastation for which Hiroshima is readily remembered.
Atsutada Otaka, elder brother of conductor Tadaaki Otaka, studied composition in Paris under the great organist and composer Maurice Duruflé. The French influence in his Fantasy for Organ and Orchestra is evident and the virtuosity required from both organist and orchestra is considerable.
‘Chandos have done it again! A top-quality recording in every way. For anyone looking for something different, then get this CD.’
‘Atsutada Otaka’s Fantasy for Organ and Orchestra has a statuesque, Messiaen-like quality… Hosokawa is a composer of real standing… his music goes far beyond the mere sound effect… The entire programme is beautifully played…’
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