Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Complete list of all Classical Tomita Albums with Reviews
Jeff N | Oakdale, CA | 04/06/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
In Tomita's music I have found serene beauty, relaxation, landscapes of wonder, mysterious spaces, thrilling excitement, inspiration, and some fun. He creates his music with more depth, color, imagery, feeling, and thought than any other synthesized music I have ever heard.
The big box set of all 11 CDs has finally been released! The current price is expensive. But considering that a number of Tomita CDs are over $30, and all the CDs in the box (and only the box) have been remastered, it is almost a bargain! Well, almost. So here is my list, improved and updated for accuracy (April 2008)... As a person who started collecting Tomita and lots of other electronic music when I was 19 in 1979, plus the original symphony orchestra versions of the classical music that Tomita used, I hope you consider me qualified to create the following list of Tomita albums and review them as well.
Note on the 1991 Surround Sound CDs: For some reason, the rear channel sounds almost completely disappear, no matter what stereo equipment a person listens on. So, if you prefer more balanced sound, other releases may be better.
SNOWFLAKES ARE DANCING 1974
(11 Debussy pieces)
Some say Snowflakes is Tomita's best CD. I think it is in his top three. I love the range of styles in this album, the relaxing beauty, the depth of colors. The Snowflakes album is very enjoyable.
The newly remastered High Performance CD is audiophile quality and adds Prelude To The Afternoon of a Faun also by Debussy.
PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION 1975 (Mussorgsky)
This is definitely one of Tomita's best. For this album he created some of the most unusual, high quality electronic sounds ever heard. Then he used these sounds very effectively in good orchestrations. The listening is as enjoyable as it is weird; quite an accomplishment in itself. (Unlike other synthesized music, I have never gotten a headache listening to this or any other Tomita recording. Not even close. Not even when playing his music loud, which I love to do. )
(Stravinsky: Firebird Suite. Debussy: Prelude To The Afternoon of A Faun. Mussorgsky: Night On Bare Mountain.)
Firebird is one of Tomita's best CDs. The Round of the Princesses is beautiful. The Infernal Dance of King Kastchei is exciting, scary, and LOUD - much more so than any performance by any orchestra. The Finale is so awesome; Tomita played it at the end of his live concerts.
THE PLANETS 1976 (Holst)
This one album is a completely different mood for Tomita. I never liked The Planets much, but I do have to say that what Tomita does with the music is far better than any Symphony Orchestra performance I have ever heard.
KOSMOS or COSMOS 1978
(Star Wars Title. Space Fantasy- R. Strauss: Thus Spake Zarathustra, Wagner: Ride of The Valkyries and Tannhauser Overture. Honnegar: Pacific 231. Ives: Unanswered Question. Rodrigo: Aranjuez. Grieg: Solveig's Song. Dinicu-Heifetz: Hora Staccato. Bach-Tomita: The Sea Named Solaris.)
This is not Tomita's best CD over all, but parts of Kosmos are really very good. Carl Sagan used the amazing Sea Named Solaris in his "Cosmos." Tomita's interpretation of the mystery and solitude of The Unanswered Question is far better than any orchestral performance of it. Hora Staccato is lots of fun. And I love the Space Fantasy. Tomita fans and collectors should enjoy most of this CD.
THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE 1979 - A Musical Fantasy of Science Fiction
(Sibelius: Valse Triste. Williams: Close Encounters. Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet, Scythian Suite, Symphonies 5 and 6, Violin Concerto 1.)
After nearly 30 years of listening to The Bermuda Triangle off and on, I have decided that it is my all time favorite record album, CD, concept album, and my all time favorite synthesized music.
Another reviewer is absolutely right... Turn off the lights, put the phone on silent, turn the volume way up, and sit down and listen! Really listen!! Because The Bermuda Triangle is an experience; a phenomenal, powerful, enlightening, enjoyable experience. And it's fun too.
Inexplicably, the U.S. CD releases stopped with Kosmos. The Bermuda Triangle is much better than Kosmos and The Planets. I could type two pages on The Bermuda Triangle, and you can find many pages on various websites. But I will just say that the orchestrations and performances of the music itself all fit together masterfully to tell a story that is part thrilling science fiction and part impressionistic dream. I especially like the second half- the really good Prokofiev stuff. The sounds Tomita used in creating this album are his most sophisticated and fascinating yet, as innovative and high quality as Pictures At An Exhibition or more. The quality of the recording is bright, full, deep, clear, and clean. The whole experience is extraordinary. I am so grateful the album is on CD.
BOLERO or DAPHNIS AND CHLOE 1980
(Ravel: Daphnis and Chloe, Pavane for A Dead Princess, Bolero, Mother Goose Suite.)
This is a great album with the best performance of The Mother Goose Suite that I have ever heard, by far. I love the range of musical styles in the Mother Goose Suite. You can actually hear the fairies in the Fairy Garden (they sound like hummingbirds). Plus, there are only two Daphnis and Chloes that I like better than this one. And the Pavane is very nice.
THE GRAND CANYON 1982 (Grofe)
(Bonus track: Syncopated Clock by Leroy Anderson)
Most music critics would say that this performance of The Grand Canyon Suite is not as good as a symphony orchestra's. But it is worth checking out, as parts of it are far more colorful, magical, and entertaining than any symphony orchestra version I have ever heard. Tomita's Painted Desert gives a feeling of flying low over vast mysterious, enchanted, moonlit sands. On The Trail is a lot of fun (although not as good as orchestra performances). And The Thunderstorm is exhilarating and even a little frightening, especially when turned up Loud. (You can actually Hear the Lightning, Feel the Thunder, and then See a Rainbow at the end. Only Tomita could do that!) This is the shortest Tomita album. It would easily fit on a CD with Canon of The Three Stars.
CANON OF THE THREE STARS or DAWN CHORUS 1984
(Pachelbel: Canon. Rachmaninoff: Vocalise. Albinoni: Adagio. Bach: Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring. 4 pieces from Villa Lobos: Bachianis Brasileiras 2, 4, and 7.)
Sweet is the word I would use to describe pretty much this whole album. Some tracks are even cute, although at least one is solemn and another poignant. The quality of this album is not nearly as great as Snowflakes, Pictures, The Bermuda Triangle, or the Ravel Album. It almost seems that Tomita did this one in his sleep, but some tracks are very good, and since all the tracks are individual pieces it would be worth owning as a reference CD.
LIVE AT LINZ, AUSTRIA 1985 - THE MIND OF THE UNIVERSE
(Live concert with huge speakers on both sides of the Danube River and live soloists. Includes 7 pieces from previous albums- some with new arrangements and live soloists. Plus, Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring. Japanese Traditional: Cranes In Their Nest. Vaughn Williams: The Lark Ascending. Wagner: Tristan Und Isolde-Liebestod. Beethoven: Ode To Joy with full Choir and soloists.)
In my opinion, this is in Tomita's top five best albums. It contains some of the most beautiful and unique performances ever put on a disk. The live violin solo (Mariko Senju) of the Lark Ascending is by far the most captivating, lovely, and perfect I have ever heard; the best performance of The Lark Ascending that I know of. The same violinist does an outstanding job on Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 1: Moderato; Allegro Moderato. This is the part of The Bermuda Triangle near the end that gets so exciting, and with the live violinist and Tomita's magical orchestral creations, it is truly one of the most thrilling musical experiences I have ever enjoyed.
I also love the Wagner: Tristan Und Isolde-Liebestod (which first appeared on this album). So much depth and feeling, it is hard to describe how lovely it is. This album also has an extended version of Cranes In Their Nest, a very good performance by Goro Yamaguchi, on the Shakuhachi.
Of the two concert CDs, this one has more awe-inspiring moments, and more depth. It is also the longest Tomita album ever made, which is perfect, since it is so enjoyable.
Note on sound quality: I appreciate good sound quality. This CD does have imperfect moments, but over all it is very good. I listened on my Alpine car stereo last night with Polk Momo speakers, good amp, and Infinity subwoofer all turned up very LOUD. The most important parts are clean. There is reverb at times, but it is natural, bouncing off things in the area. It could have been mixed better, but it is very hard for a huge concert like this to be recorded perfectly. Also, during The Conversation from Close Encounters and the first couple minutes of Ode To Joy you can hear the helicopter that was holding up a huge speaker during the show. Actually hearing a helicopter on a CD may seem silly... BUT, it is these things that make you Feel as if you are At the Live Concert, and this is a huge Plus.
LIVE IN NEW YORK 1988 - BACK TO THE EARTH
(Live concert with live soloists. Includes 7 pieces from previous albums- some with new arrangements and live soloists. Plus Dukas: Fanfare. Mahler: Symphony 3 in D Minor - 5th Movement. Traditional: Chinese War Lord Going Home. Gershwin: Rhapsody In Blue. Fisher-Dvorak: Goin' Home.)
The Live In NY music is less demanding than Live At Linz, which makes it more suited for playing in the background. It is almost as good as the Live At Linz concert (above). But it has fake reverb all the way through, and is not as bright and clear as the other Tomita CDs. Not the best, but worth having.
These last two CDs are my all time favorite live concert albums.
BACH FANTASY 1996
10 separate Bach pieces, which include two tracks from previous albums. (Part of The Sea Named Solaris is mixed different.)
A rare, expensive CD, that is not included in the big new Box Set. This CD features some new sounds and musical styles for Tomita Classical, a really wide variety of them. Several of the tracks are most enjoyable. The popular Toccata and Fugue is a very good, virtuoso straight performance on very cool Synth Organ. My subwoofer liked it too! This is a perfect finale for the entire Tomita Classical Line.
Other reviewers on Amazon have done a more eloquent job than I of describing Tomita's amazing musical style, but I have enjoyed creating this guide. I hope you enjoyed it too. Thank you."
Wonderful tone poems to introduce children to the creative p
Ronald E. Doty | 02/18/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am purchasing this CD again because in the 13 years since first buying it my children have literally worn it out-a CD worn out! There are more brilliant recordings and performances of the individual tracks, but the compilation has captured my children's and their friends' imaginations. No doubt in the years to come my grandchildren will exclaim: "It does sound like an elephant!" If you have children, get Wild Classics because it's a jungle out there."