April 12 – Tomita ‘Snowflakes Are Dancing’

1974

Japanese film and TV composer Isao Tomita (*) releases his first album, a electronic realization of Claude Debussy‘s music called Snowflakes Are Dancing.
Arabesque #1  Snowflakes 
 
It’s created on a Moog synthesizer. Because of his experience writing for orchestra, Tomita had

a better appreciation of the ambience needed to create a recording as strong as that of a symphony orchestra…. [He] used phasing and flanging to add movement to an analog sound…. a great majority of the sounds … are processed in some way …. and any tendency to thinness in the basic wave shapes is removed. Tomita was also a master of adding reverberation and excelled at placing sounds and moving them across the stereo [field].
Mark Jenkins, Analog Synthesizers

Since there were no polyphonic synthesizers available (back then, all made only one sound at a time) — and since he was a craftsman — Tomita had taken 14 months to create the album one part at a time.
 
Despite being originally released by RCA in the 4-speaker (Quadraphonic) format (which few would ever own), its amazing and delicately detailed performance is soon recognized as the best  realization since CarlosSwitched-On Bach. The album is nominated for 4 Grammies in 1975. (*)
 
Tomita takes this as a positive sign, and goes on to create 22 more albums by 1996, all equally as delightful. His synthesizer score for 2002 Japanese film The Twilight Samurai (the film wins 37 awards) earns him the 2003 Japan Academy Prize. ‘Samurai’ sample 
 
 ( Website  ( (Japanese) fansite

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