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Cat. No. CHAN 9876 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 9876 - Bryan Ashley / Sapporo Sym Orch / Otaka: Fantasy for Organ & Orchestra .
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Available From: 15 January 2001
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.’
The Organ

‘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…’
BBC Music Magazine


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