Tomita’s “Dreamers in Space” – a space-ballet symphony

Isao Tomita was a pioneer in electronic music who first began experimenting with synthesizers in the late 1960s. Space was a favorite theme of his compositions and recordings and before his death in 2016 he was working on a “space-ballet symphony”: Dreamers in Space – NHK WORLD (incl. video) –

Tomita didn’t manage to finish the project but after his death, his collaborators kept working and the production debuted in Tokyo last November.

Called “Dr. Coppelius,” the production involves a young scientist who dreams of flying into space and a mysterious girl from another world who comes to help him achieve his ambition. It’s a space-ballet symphony in which the 2 characters transcend space and time.

The “young scientist” was inspired by Japanese rocket pioneer Hideo Itokawa.

Kazama’s character, Coppelius, is modeled on Itokawa. He and Hatsune Miku reach out to one another, dancing happily in space. At the end of the story, Coppelius goes traveling in search of unknown worlds. On the way, he finds the space probe Hayabusa floating alone in space. Once again, he encounters Miku. By reaching for the stars, Coppelius finds hope.

Go to the NHK WORLD article for a video showing a clip from the Tokyo performance.

I can remember listening often to Tomita’s recording of Gustav Holst’s “The Planets” while in college in the 1970s. Although today I prefer orchestral performances of The Planets, I still find Tomita’s version of Venus quite appealing:

Here is the complete album with all 7 movements: