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[Back to the Earth]

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The second 'Sound Cloud' event, in which the entire mix is almost swamped in massive digital reverb, which adds to the sense of scale, but detracts somewhat from some of the quieter parts.

The 'Back to the Earth' concert had a few additional pieces not on the album release. Also, the sound system broke down for the duration of 'Rhapsody in Blue', so no-one in the audience heard it unless they bought the album itself when it came out.

Album Details

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Catalogue Number
RK 87717 (Cassette)
RCA 7717 / BMG 7717 / BVCC-2513 / 7717-2-RC / R32C-1115 / RCA-87717 (CD)


Date Released

Total Playing Time

  1. La Peri: Fanfare <Dukas> (2:26)
  2. Three-Part Invention No. 2 in C Minor <J.S. Bach> (4:12)
  3. Symphony No. 3 in D Minor: Fifth Movement [Lorna Myers, Mezzo-Soprano (USA); The Choirs of the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine (USA); Keiichi Gotoh, Kazuko Takeuchi, Fumitaka Anzai (Japan), Synthesizer and Computer Programming Assistants] <Mahler> (4:10)
  4. Also Sprach Zarathustra: Fanfare <Strauss> (1:27)
  5. The Planets: Mars, the Bringer of War <Holst> (4:35)
  6. The Engulfed Cathedral <Debussy> (5:53)
  7. Chinese War Lord Going Home [Arranged and Performed by Chen Yin, Pipa (Chinese Lute) (Szechuan Province, China)] <Chinese Traditional> (4:21)
  8. Tristan und Isolde: Liebestod <Wagner> (7:45)
  9. The Planets: Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity <Holst> (2:10)
  10. Rhapsody in Blue [Nikolai Demidenko, Piano (USSR); Keiichi Gotoh, Kazuko Takeuchi, Yoshihiro Kunimoto (Japan), Synthesizer and Computer Programming Assistants] <Gershwin> (12:18)
  11. Goin' Home [Adapted from Symphony No. 9: Largo; Clamma Dale, Soprano (USA); The Choirs of the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine; Nikolai Demidenko; Chen Yin; Mariko Senju, Violin (Japan); Goro Yamagushi, Shakuhachi (Japan); Arranged by Masamichi Amano (Japan); Synthesizer and Computer Programming by Fumitaka Anzai] <Fisher-Dvorák> (5:31)
  12. Firebird: Finale <Stravinsky> (2:36)


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[Back to the Earth]
[Front View]
[Back to the Earth]
[Back View]

Sleeve Notes

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Isao Tomita and the Plasma Symphony Orchestra
All Arranged by Isao Tomita Unless Otherwise Indicated
Conceptualized by Isao Tomita
Produced by Danny O'Donovan in Association with John Scher
Production Supervisor: Michael Ahern
Director: Kohei Katsura
Technical Director: Tetsuya Oguri
Presented by the Executive Committee for Casio Musical Production
In Cooperation with the City of New York, Edward I. Koch, Mayor, the Department of Parks and Recreation, Henry J. Stern, Commissioner and the Department of Ports, International Trade and Commerce, Michael P. Huerta, Commissioner
Sponsored by Casio
Co-Sponsored by All Nippon Airways
Co-Sponsored by All Nippon Airways
General Producer: Japan Satellite Broadcasting, Inc.

On September 13, 1986, a battalion consisting of electronic equipment and live musicians was deployed on one side, in and above the Hudson River in the entire area of Battery Park in lower Manhattan in New York City. The purpose: a gigantic concert in commemoration of the Statue of Liberty. With the statue as a backdrop, illuminated by spectacular fireworks and coruscating laser displays, the concert was electronically composed and conducted by Japan's synthesizer genius, Isao Tomita. He specified that it was "a prayer dedicated to the renovated statue as a symbol of world peace for all mankind". To emphasize this, musicians from the United States, the Soviet Union, China and Japan were brought together, and the concert was produced by the British entrepreneur, Danny O'Donovan.

Suspended by crane in a pyramidal control room high over the water, Tomita conducted the audible forces consisting of a computer-controlled synthesized orchestra, a large chorus on a moving ferryboat and, in smaller boats, vocalists and solo performers on piano, Chinese lute, shakuhachi and violin, all boats floating from 300 to 1,000 feet from shore. Radio signals carrying all audible sounds transmitted to and from the boats were collected and synchronized by Tomita who then fed the combined sounds to mammoth speakers both on barges in the river and at the rear of Battery Park and to one suspended from a helicopter flying 1,800 feet above the barges. To the audience of 100,000, the combination of visual and audible stimuli created a sensation of sonic and spatial weightlessness.

This massive sonic explosion is called by Tomita "Sound Cloud" and was first employed in 1984 at his concert in Linz, Austria. Spectacular polyphonic effects are achieved by alternately feeding signals to the various clusters of speakers. Plans are currently under way for him to give "Sound Cloud" concerts over the Nagara River in Hiroshima, Japan; in Sydney, Australia, and in Montreux, Switzerland.

The Concert

Tomita characterizes his interplay of sound, lights and water as "a musical celebration of the cosmos and the earth" and builds his program from the creation of the universe, the formation of the earth and its creatures, to the near future when mankind leaves the earth in search of a more desirable habitat. After centuries of travel, a beautiful planet lures the spaceships to it. With surprise and joy, mankind realizes it is the planet earth and that there is no more suitable home.

The musical selections are intended to evoke images of all these occurences leading to the space travelers returning to earth in this concert on the water near the Statue of Liberty, where they join in the exultant singing of Goin' Home.

Although this album presents the live event, it does not reproduce the entire concert. The sequence has been changed to enhance musical interest in view of the deleted sections. Musical titles here that have occurred on previous Tomita albums were re-mixed or, in some cases, resynthesized for the concert.

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