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Somewhat truncated version of the popular 1910 ballet, compared with Stravinsky's famous 1941 score*, but exciting nonetheless. Beautifully understated version of 'Prélude à l'Après-midi d'un Faune'.

The third image shown below is from the Japanese quadraphonic release.

* Stravinsky's original score runs as follows:

Kastchei's Magic Garden
Appearance of the Firebird
Dance of the Firebird
Capture of the Firebird
Firebird's Entreaties
Princesses' Games
Princess Khorovod
Magic Carillon
Kastchei's Retinue
Infernal Dance
Cradle Songs (Berceuse)

Album Details

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Catalogue Number
RVC-2253 / RVC-2001 / ARL1-1312 / ARD1-1312 / AGL1-7143 (LP)
RCX-1002 / RK 11718 (Cassette)
RCAV 60578 / PD 81312 / RCA 60578 / 60578-2-RG / GD60578 / BVCC-2516 / R32C-1042 (CD)
ARS1-1312 (8-Track Cartridge)
R4C-2065 (Unknown)


Date Released

Total Playing Time

    Firebird Suite <Stravinsky>
  1. Introduction and Dance of the Firebird (5:04)
  2. Round of the Princesses [Khorovod] (7:07)
  3. Infernal Dance of King Kastchei [235k MP3] (5:21)
  4. Berceuse and Finale (8:01)
  5. Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun <Debussy> (10:15)
  6. A Night on Bare Mountain <Mussorgsky> (12:48)


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[Front View]
[Back View]
[Front View]
Sleeve Notes

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Electronically Created by Isao Tomita
Produced by Plasma Music, Inc.
Sound Design and Dolby Surround Remix Supervisor: Nathaniel S. Johnson
Remastering Engineer: Marian Conaty
Dolby Lab Consultants: Robert S. Warren and Michael V. DiCosmo
Monitored Exclusively on Snell Acoustics Loudspeakers Designed by Kevin Voecks
Art Director: J.J. Stelmach

Pose a riddle: what is the sound of music? An enigmatic answer: the music of sound.

Stravinsky, as most composers, programmed in dots and directions on paper. His computer - arms pulling horse hairs over strings, lungs forcing air through and over metal and wooden tubes, finger shortening and lengthening strings, columns of metal and wood, hands with mallets hitting stretched skins, wooden bars, metal plates - an orchestra of trained gymnasts! Superbly specialized, to be sure. But a hundred or so minds and countless reflexes seeking to translate those dots and directions into the sound that will fulfill Stravinsky's program. And succeeding they create the music.

Imagine how elegant, how sophisticated, how uniquely contemporary to organize streams of electrons to follow Stravinsky's score - by one mind at whose order those super flecks of energy produce the complex signals that ultimately drive loudspeakers to the sounds of his music.

Tomita's music of sound is produced by this dignified discipline. Yes, it's tedious: a synergistic process of science and music is a laboratory exercise - analyze, imagine, search, test, modify, evaluate - carried out in the same ambience as that of the composer's desk. Where does Tomita start? A concept of the score - the musical message, the story line: a fairy-tale formula of a magic Firebird of brilliant plumage who helps a deserving hunter break an evil spell and win a lovely maiden imprisoned by the dread Kastchei.

The sound begins with generating a scored pitch by using an Oscillator of the Moog Synthesizer. The duration is regulated by the Keyboard or Ribbon Controller. Complexity or tone color is created by Low- or Highpass Filters and dynamic variations by a Voltage-Controlled Amplifier. More color is obtained by combining Oscillators, developing complex frequency spectrums by using the Bode Ring Modulator and Frequency Shifter. Portions of the duration of a sound are modified by non-tonal features using a Random Signal Generator. The loudness of the sound is governed by a mixer and recorded on one track of the 16-track tape recorder. A phrase, a line, perhaps a measure or two, is monophonically laid down on tape. Repeated processes build up layers of harmony, rhythm on successive tracks. Where 16 aren't enough, combinations are made and recorded back onto track one. More layers, blending, mixing, modifying, and there are still more possibilities Reverberate, fold sound with Echo units or Phase Shifters, add electro-acoustic sounds by the accessory units. Finally, a complexity of color, emerging in brilliant plumage as mixed together on the Compumix, and a phrase or two of Stravinsky's 1910 score emerges. Perhaps not in the tonal palette he envisioned but, nonetheless, in a sound of his music created as directly as he wrote it.

And so it proceeds, phrase by phrase, day by day, until the architecture is built. A final reduction to quadraphonic distrubution and another to stereophonic completes the performance. Debussy's daydreaming faun and Mussorgsky's exotic fabric of a Witches' Sabbath receive the same reflection of their dots and directions as from the eye of a dragon fly.

Conductors and their musicians interpret the language of a score into the sound of the music of Stravinsky, Debussy or Mussorhsky. Tomita carries interpretation into new realms - into the music of his sound.

- John Pfeiffer


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Component Equipment Used by Tomita for This Album
Moog SynthesizerQuantity
914 Extended Range Fixed Filter Bank
125Hz - 5KHz, 12-Band Highpass/Lowpass Filter
904-A Voltage-Controlled Lowpass Filter
24dB per Octave Classic Moog Lowpass Filter
904-B Voltage-Controlled Highpass Filter
24dB per Octave Highpass Filter
904-C Filter Coupler1
901 Voltage-Controlled Oscillator
Used as a VCO or an LFO (Low Frequency Oscillator) as on the Minimoog
921 Voltage-Controlled Oscillator
0.01Hz - 40kHz Frequency Range
901-A Oscillator Controller
1 Volt per Octave
921-A Oscillator Driver
1 Volt per Octave
901-B Oscillator
The Basis of the Moog Sound
921-B Oscillator
Newer and More Stable than 901-B
903-A Random Signal Generator
White/Pink Noise Generator for Wind/Rain/Sea Effects
911 Envelope Generator
2ms - 10s Attack, Decay, Sustain and Release Configuration
911-A Dual Trigger Delay
2ms - 10s 2 Channel Delay Unit
902 Voltage-Controlled Amplifier
Linear/Exponential Amplifier with 2 Inputs, 2 Outputs, 3 Control Voltages
912 Envelope Follower2
984 Four-Channel Mixer1
960 Sequential Controller
8 Steps by 3 Rows Sequencer with Fully Variable Voltages
961 Interface
CV/Trigger to Moog S-Trig Convertor for 960 Sequencer
962 Sequential Switch
Configures 960 Sequencer
950 Keyboard Controller
49-Note Monophonic Keyboard
950-B Scale Programmer1
956 Ribbon Controller
Alternative to the Keyboard
6401 Bode Ring Modulator
Combines 2 Inputs, and Outputs the Sum and Difference,
Classically Used for Metallic Sounds, Such as Bells,
Designed by Harald Bode
1630 Bode Frequency Shifter1
959 X-Y Controller
Joystick Controller for Mixing 2 Signals
905 Reverberation Unit
Spring-Type Reverberation
Quad/Eight Compumix (24 Ch.)1
Sony MX-710 (8 Ch.)2
Sony MX-16 (8 Ch.)3
Sony MX-12 (6 Ch.)2
AKG BX20E Echo Unit1
Binson Echorec "2"2
A HREF="../images/technology/roland_re-201.jpg">Roland Space Echo RE-2011
Eventide Clockworks "Instant Phaser"1
Maestro Phase Shifter1
Roland Phase Shifter2
Fender "Dimention IV"1
Maestro Sound System for Woodwinds1
Maestro Rhythm 'n' Sound for Guitar1
Fender Electronic Piano
Probably a Rhodes Suitcase Model
Hohner Clavinet C1
Sitar (Made in India) with Barcus-Berry 
Contact Microphone1
Not Listed in Equipment Used
Tape RecorderTape Speed
Ampex MM-1100 16 Tracks76 cm/s
Ampex AG-440 4 Tracks (1/2")38 cm/s
Sony TC-9040 4 Tracks (1/4")38 cm/s
TEAC A-3340S 4 Tracks (1/4")38 cm/s
TEAC 7030GSL 2 Tracks38 cm/s

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