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Kitaro - Symphony - Live in Istanbul CD (album) cover




Progressive Electronic

3.00 | 1 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars "In 1980, I began composing and producing music about the passageway and excursions of the Silk Road. This past spring, I embraced upon my first Symphonic Tour that reached Russia, Eastern and Central Europe and had the distinct pleasure of performing in Istanbul; a place where from ancient times to modern times, has flourished as an important hub of the Silk Road where Europe and Asia meet."

Symphony - Live in Istanbul was recorded over two nights in March of 2014 at the Halic Congress Center, and true to the title it features a symphony orchestra. Bassist and drummer are also present although they're not heard all the time. On keyboards there are two other men besides Kitaro himself, and on an important solistic role is the violin played by Jessica Hindin. The 66-minute concert is a dynamic selection of Kitaro's work covering many decades. Sometimes the mood is very romantic emphasizing the artist's New Age tendencies, but there's also a lot of symphonic and cinematic grandiosity. The audience gives applauses in between the pieces and otherwise stays completely silent, like in the classical music concerts.

The set begins with epic 'Heaven & Earth' (13:52), a title piece -- or is it a suite? -- from the soundtrack for the Oliver Stone film (1993) set in Vietnam. The Oriental details are beautifully woven into the passionate and dramatic music. 'Thinking of You' is the peaceful title track of the 1999 album. If you remember the Norwegian SECRET GARDEN, the unordinary Eurovision Song Contest winner from the mid-90's, you get the idea of the soothing and romantic melodicism starring synths and violin. 'Orochi' is a sharply powerful piece in which the drummer and the brass section are central. The main theme of 'Silk Road' is one the best known Kitaro tunes ever, and its performance here is gorgeous.

'Kokoro (Part II)' is another SECRET GARDEN reminding soft piece starring violin. 'Mercury' is a dreamy and moody slow piece featuring flute as a solo instrument. 'Reimei' and 'Matsuri' originate from Kojiki (1990). After the final applause comes a minute or two of minimalistic ambience featuring sounds of bells, which feels a bit strange. Overall the set is well designed. Had it been longer, some additional discographic highlights would have been very welcome. I would have enjoyed hearing something from e.g. The Light of the Spirit, 1987, and a track or two featuring vocals, with or without words, would have further increased the musical diversity and the emotional impact. I'll go with "good, but non-essential" three stars, but a fan might want to add the fourth star.

Matti | 3/5 |


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