Tadaaki Otaka

Atsuada Otaka: Fantasy for Organ and Orchestra; Toru Takemitsu: Nami no Bon; Ran; Toshio Hosokawa: Memory of the Sea

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Atsutada Otaka's "Fantasy for Organ and Orchestra" (1999) was commissioned by the Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music receives its premiere recording on this disc.. It opens with powerful blasts from the organ while the orchestra floats about in an impressionistic world, the string harmonies very much like the rich combinations of Toru Takemitsu. After the first three minutes, the organ delivers a beautiful, intimate wood flute-like melody which is picked up and developed by the winds. This contrast of opposites is carried on throughout the 28-minute duration of this very moving and atmospheric work. Six selections from Toru Takemitsu's exquisitely orchestrated score for Kurosawa's television drama "Nami no Bon", which concerned the conflict between first and second generation Japanese-Hawaiians during World War II, appears next. The music varies from unabashedly tonal and nostalgic variations of the main theme, to military band music interrupted by the eerie and suspenseful. Four gripping excerpts of Takemitsu's music for Kurosawa's internationally renown film "Ran" are filled with brooding mystery. The second premiere recording here is of Hoshio Hosokawa's "Memory of the Sea (Hiroshima Symphony)". For this piece, two groups of "banda" (groups who play apart from the main orchestra) were added in other parts of the Sapporo Concert Hall moving the sound about the space. The symphony celebrates the beauty of the sea, clouds, light, smell and breeze of the city where the composer grew up rather than concentrating on the atomic bomb tragedy. The style is quite original with brilliant writing for the percussion. All the nuances of these complex scores are perfectly realized by the Sapporo Symphony Orchestra, conducted with great intelligence and heart by Tadaaki Otaka, with excellent and subtle organ playing by Byran Ashley.

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