[Vision2020] Isao Tomita RIP 84: But "Snowflakes are [Still] Dancing"

Ted Moffett starbliss at gmail.com
Sun May 8 20:11:04 PDT 2016

Isao Tomita, Japanese pioneer of synthesizer music, dies at 84

My comments below, not from the article above, except as indicated:

I was greatly saddened to learn of the death of Japanese composer and
electronic music wizard Isao Tomita at 84.

His mysterious mystical sonically stunning electronic interpretations of
compositions by Debussy, Stravinsky, Mussorgsky, Holst, Ravel, J S Bach,
Ferde Grofe  and others has been an endless source of wonder for me for 40
years, since first hearing his interpretations of Claude Debussy
compositions, "Snowflakes are Dancing" recorded in 1973-74.

"Canon of the Three Stars" also released in Japan as "Dawn Chorus" is
particularly mind blowing given the use of astronomical waveforms from
various astronomical objects translated into sound waves.  It has an
"organic" sound to the electronically created music that Tomita evolved as
he presented what he termed "The Plasma Symphony Orchestra" also similar
sonically to the unbelievable interpretation of Ferde Grofe's "Grand Canyon
Suite" also by Tomita's "Plasma Symphony Orchestra" which was entirely his
electronic solo creation.

CD version of "Dawn Chorus" opens with the sound of the "dawn chorus" as
the CD notes explain:


"At dawn when everyone is fast asleep and everything is still innumerable
corpuscles come from faraway stars in the cosmos or from the sun. When they
enter the magnetosphere of the earth, the strange music like birds'
twittering begins. Astronomers call it "DAWN CHORUS". But it lasts only for
a brief moment, and fades out, as the sun rises. As the sound recorded at
the Radio Observatory in Hiraiso, Ibaragi Pref., was excellent and audible
in the original form, it was used at the beginning of this album without
any modifications. This is Tomita's ninth album after two and a half years
of silence. Based on popular pieces of Baroque and masterpieces of
Villa-Lobos, a great Brazilian composer, this album was made from materials
including waves from various stars in the cosmos like light curves supplied
with kind cooperation of NASA, Tokyo Astronomical Observatory, Institute of
Space & Astronautical Science and Nobeyama Radio Observatory."


His unique music compositions are also worthy of attention, though not very
well known outside of Japan compared to his electronic interpretations of
other composers.  One album featuring some original music by Tomita is
"Nasca Fantasy," a collaboration with the Japanese drumming group Kodo:

Millions of people have no doubt heard one of the Debussy compositions,  '
*Arabesque* #*1,*
interpreted by Tomita on "Snowflakes are Dancing" given it was the theme
music for the old PBS Stargazer show hosted by Jack Horkheimer

This YouTube link should offer this music:

Vision2020 Post: Ted Moffett
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