“Like several other composers of his generation, Somei Satoh has an affinity for mysticism and meditation, and he attempts to convey stillness and timelessness in his extremely slow music. His works may be described as ambient, but their minor key harmonies and step-wise melodies seem more conventional than the blurred, unearthly sonorities usually found in that atmospheric genre. Indeed, Satoh partakes of western Romantic tradition, and his music frequently sounds like distilled Sibelius, with just a dash of Takemitsu thrown in for flavor. This disc presents four works that are similar in their muted, elegiac tone, and if one ignores the track divisions, they seem to blend into one long adagio. From the Depth of Silence, for tubular bells and orchestra, takes its time moving through its paces. While its slow, harmonic rhythms are tonal, its long-held pitches suggest no sense of progression or modulation, and what little activity there is tends to be ornamental. Similarly, Burning Meditation and Kyokoku are static works that revolve around baritone Thomas Buckner's steady chanting, with minimal changes over time. Kisetsu concludes the disc almost like an extended epilogue, in the vein of the preceding works. The Janácek Philharmonic, conducted by Petr Kotik, is subdued but colorful, and Mode's sound quality is clear and focused.”
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