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Kenji Monogatari Symphony Import

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4 out of 5 stars 2 reviews from Amazon.com |

Price: £45.10
Usually dispatched within 4 to 5 days.
Dispatched from and sold by Arc Trade Media_JAPAN.
6 new from £45.10 10 used from £15.57
£45.10 Usually dispatched within 4 to 5 days. Dispatched from and sold by Arc Trade Media_JAPAN.


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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scary, sublime, seductive: A Modern-Traditional Masterpiece 23 Dec. 2003
By Ian Vance - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Written in the 11th-century by Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji is considered to be the world's first novel and the most important example of ancient Japanese literature. This massive tome documents the life and times of Genji, a favorite of the Emperor of the Heian Era, and explores the themes of love, affection, friendship; its episodic progression details, among complications, Genji's many trysts and his varied efforts to sate the sexual drive. Although little is known of its composition, it is theorized that The Tale of Genji was scribed as Murasaki's diary while she lived at the court.
Isao Tomita, known best for his electronic renditions of the classical canon, has taken this paragon of literature and adapted it as a symphonic suite. Alongside orchestral strings and the usual synthesizer flourishes, Tomita appropriately incorporates a strong Japanese-traditional core to the music: zither-plucking, shrill flute notes, Joruri-style wailing. Ears unfamiliar to Japanese traditional might find this recording "strange" and "scary"; indeed, the use of atonal can send shivers down the spine, even when it is tempered with string-work... And yet, I find Tomita's intricate meld of western and eastern composition to be a bewitching, constantly involving aural treat: Genji surges and sighs with appropriate dynamic tension, and the more fragile arrangements can be breathtaking in their seemingly-simplistic depth.
Moreover, the haunting soundscapes of _Genji Monogatari_ implies, to the mind's eye, a distantly extinct culture, giving the passionate listener a glimpse of Genji's Heian-Era sacred court (ings). Cherry blossoms flutter upon the main theme of the `Overture'; nine hundred Gods and Demons struggle over the mortal-coil spoils in the hair-raising `Spirit'; the combination and culmination of the previous themes erupt at the climax of `Spring Returns,' wherein sorrow and hope resonate from the singer's final cry. Or, as my Kentucky-bred father put it, "that sounds like cats fighting!" Indeed, my dear da, indeed...
_Genji Monogatari Symphony_ has not been released internationally, for good reason. Although I love this recording and consider it absolutely sublime, I know there are few who would whole-heartedly agree with me. For those Tomita-fans looking for something new (Genji was released in 1999), a word of warning: although thematic elements are similar, this work is much more challenging than the rest of his oeuvre. Take the avant-garde cacophony of `Saturn,' thread in the dreamy synth renditions of Faure & Gustav Mahler from _Live in New York_, then layer atop the whole range of Japanese-traditional instruments, and you have an approximation of The Tale of Genji's aural scope.
*Highly* recommended to those with adventurous ears.
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's hard to listen whole tracks. 28 July 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
My first impression of this album was that this is sounds like sound track of japanese horror movies. What made me listen so hard is that sound and piece itself. However great orchestra and Japanese traditional instruments and voices and synths play this dynamic piece, it only made me feel scary. I was expected more people-relatable album for him. But it ain't happening. I think people who like 20 century contemporary classic might like this album.
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