© 2004 Lawrence Tuczynski

Title Akira Ifukube Orchestral Works
CD Label King Records
CD Number KIAW-15
Music composed by: Akira Ifukube
Music conducted by: Tetsuji Honna
Music performed by: Japan Philharmonic Orchestra
Music recorded: Tracks 1-7 recorded August 25-26 2003 at the Katsushika Symphony Hills, Mozart Hall.
Tracks 8-12 recorded September 8-9 2003 at Aprico, Large Hall
Number of tracks 12
Running time 48:47
Number of discs 1
Year of release/manufacture 2004


September 29, 2004 - Review courtesy of Robert Storch

Here we have something a little different, a DVD-A (DVD Audio) that was released earlier this year in Japan on King Records. This DVD-A is part of a recent classical series (KIAW 13~17) that King put out earlier this year, but this is the only one that really interested me. This release is identical to "The Artistry Of Akira Ifukube #7" (KICC-440), a CD released by King in 2003. The Artistry CDs are part of an on going series of new performances performed by the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, based on Akira Ifukube's most famous classical compositions and film music. For those interested, the series continues this November with the CD release of "The Artistry Of Akira Ifukube #8". I am always looking for the best possible sound and when I saw a chance to buy my first DVD-A from Japan, I didn't hesitate, even though I already own the CD. While the CD sounds great, it can't compare with DVD Audio. If anyone here has already heard music on DVD-A or the other SACD format, you will know what I am talking about immediately.

The menu offers two ways to hear this music, one is a 5.1 Channel Surround Sound and the other is PCM Stereo. The stereo version sounds good, but it is the 5.1 Channel audio that blew me away and I knew then that my money was well spent. The power and clarity of this DVD-A is simply amazing, probably the next best thing to being at a concert hall or in the studio with the orchestra itself. Some DVD-A's offer video content as well (ranging from music videos, still pictures, etc) but unfortunately this release doesn't offer any video, only the name of the track shows up on the screen while it is playing. The booklet itself is exactly the same one that comes with the CD, except for an extra insert letting people know this is DVD Audio and not a CD. I must admit I wished there was a different booklet or at least some video (even still pictures would have been nice) of Akira Ifukube or the orchestra, but perhaps we'll have to wait until King releases more DVD-A's and offers more features.

The only place to buy this item at present is on HMV Japan's website, I have not seen it for sale anywhere else. Choosing between the two formats is a toss up really, the price of the CD is Y3000, while the DVD-A is Y3500. Remember that CDs can be played on any CD player (and most DVD players and computers), while a DVD-A can only be played on a DVD player (or a computer that plays DVDs). I believe the CD will go out of print on 11.26.04 and the DVD-A will follow on 5.25.05. If you are a fan of this Artistry series and want to try something new, you can't go wrong with this DVD-A, the audio alone will justify the purchase.

Title: Akira Ifukube Orchestral Works
Track titles courtesy of Jolyon Yates.


    Symphonic Fantasy GODZILLA vs KING GHIDORA (1991)

  1. I Prelude
  2. II Dinosaurs
  3. III Lagos
  4. IV Emi
  5. V King Ghidora
  6. VI March Music
  7. VII Godzilla
  8. Symphonic Suite THE LITTLE PRINCE & THE EIGHT HEADED DRAGON (1963/2003)

  9. I Prelude ~ Izanami's Ascension
  10. II Susano-o's Departure ~ Land of Fire
  11. III Amenouzume's Dance
  12. IV Izumo's Country ~ Subdual of the Great Serpent
  13. V Ending

Japan Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Tetsuji Honna. Female Vocalist Chor June (Jun Koda).
Contralto tracks 8 & 12 Mariko Yumita.
Tracks 1-7 recorded August 25-26 2003 at the Katsushika Symphony Hills, Mozart Hall.
Tracks 8-12 recorded September 8-9 2003 at Aprico, Large Hall