Performed by the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Yuzo Toyama with soprano Rie Hamada. A beautiful digital recording of several rarely performed works by Takemitsu (the soprano part of the marvelous "Coral Island" is very difficult, for example, and the "Archipelago S" is for an unusual ensemble of instruments). Many of the subtleties of Takemitsu's writing are lost in recording (for example, subtle harmonics behind more foreground material), but the engineers made a good effort here.
Toru loved his country; particularly it's most refined traditions. He always expressed delight with our world's diversity and sadness at the passing of unique cultural traditions from which he believed other people could learn important lessons. Toru was not interested in merging cultures. On the contrary, he wanted every culture to retain its unique characteristics as parables for the enlightenment of all. He wanted peace but valued individuality above uniformity, principle above compromise. He expressed ambivalence about his November Steps; a blend of western orchestra and traditional Japanese instruments that some people saw as a bridge between East and West and a template for a world music.
The Best of A Flock of Seagulls is an excellent 12-track roundup of A Flock of Seagulls' best material. Their catalog wasn't particularly deep outside of the hits "Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You)" and "I Ran (So Far Away)," but they did do some good new nomantic synth pop, particularly on cuts like "Nightmares," "A Space Age Love Song," and "Telecommunications," all of which are here. As a matter of fact, this really does contain all of the group's best material, and while new wave fetishists will likely go for the actual albums anyway, most listeners will be more than satisfied with this.