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Reviews: Takemitsu: How slow the Wind etc. - Otaka

Reviews: 3

Review by JW April 22, 2003 (0 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This is modern - as in 20th century - classical music with influences of French composers like Ravel and Debussy. Takemitsu (1930-1996) was a self-taught composer who was fascinated by Western music during the Second World War. He is said to have had no interest whatsoever in his Japanese traditional music until later on in his life when he started to blend it into his compositions more and more. He paints soundscapes, not in the cheesy, synthesized way of many of the socalled 'moods' musicians, but in a genuinely interesting way. He tries to tell a story and let's the instruments conduct a dialog (for example in 'Archipelago S'). Often he uses nature themes like rain, river, wind, garden etc. His music is very delicate and he uses silence ("space") very deliberately.

I must say that for me this disc is either going to become a favorite, or it's going to remain relatively unplayed. I have listened to it several times now and although I have come to appreciate it more I am still not sure, hence the three star rating. Some music immediately captures you and sometimes it's more complicated.

I experienced some continuing brightness with this SACD, despite its DSD origins and its acclaimed sound. Perhaps it's the recording, but it may be my system.

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Review by jbcortes May 10, 2003 (0 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I completely agree with Joel's review below. I like Takemitsu, but prefer some of his works for small ensembles to this orchestral stuff. Anyway, I haven't listened enough yet to make an artistic judgement. What's for sure is that the sound is only a notch above a PCM recording. Slightly more air and depth, as usual, but definitely not a tribute to DSD technology as it still sounds a little cold, flat, with a slight glare. This is not surprising from Bis. Although they dish out great records, all of them in my experience sound the same: very cold. Maybe that's because they're a swedish company? :)

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Review by Chris December 25, 2003 (4 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This SACD by BIS has been reviewed already twice in these pages.And I must say that I don´t agree with the two other reviewers who find faults with this recording. It´s been blamed for both coldness, hardness and even glassy strings, here and elsewhere.If this recording sounds bad there is something wrong in your reproduction chain, is all I can say to that .But when heard over a good system,and I´ve heard it over several different,it is very, very good indeed.
Via Musical Fidelity´s X-Can V3 and Sennheiser HD 650 Headphones it reveals many of the advantages of SACD over RBCD, clearly. String sound is NOT glassy or hard, but very realistic,and lots of low level- micro-detail glossed over on the CD layer, is beautifully resolved,with notes and harmonics decaying realistically and slowly into silence, much as they would in real life or on a good LP.Christian Lindberg´s Trombone sounds very realistic,and yes I have heard him live several times.
No multichannel gimmicks either,just plain ,old fashioned stereo, done right.Watch out with levels though ,this SACD has been mastered quite a few db louder than any other I have heard, so set your volume lower than usual and enjoy.
If I have any complaints at all, it would be that maybe,just maybe,(you probably wouldn´t hear all this detail captured in the recording in concert unless you where in the conductors position) it´s been miked a bit too close.
The music itself, may not be everybody´s "cup of tea",but the more I listen to it the more I like it.
The japanese composer Toru Takemitzu, was never known for his simple tunes . But for those with open ears, this sometimes, hauntingly beautiful, music,has a lot to offer.

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