CLANNAD / Tomoyo After Piano Arrange Album “Piano no Mori” – Review

Album Title: CLANNAD / Tomoyo After Piano Arrange Album “Piano no Mori”
Anime Title: Clannad
Artist: Magome Togoshi, Shinji Orito, Jun Maeda, riya, Ryo Mizutsuki
Catalog Number: KSLA-0021
Release Type: Arrangement
Release Date: December 29, 2005


Tracklist

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Track Title Artist Time
1. To the Same Heights Magome Togoshi, Ryo Mizutsuki 3:54
2. Mag Mell riya, Ryo Mizutsuki 4:53
3. White Clovers Magome Togoshi, Ryo Mizutsuki 5:08
4. Tiny Palm Jun Maeda, Ryo Mizutsuki 4:42
5. -Two Shadows- Magome Togoshi, Ryo Mizutsuki 5:12
6. dear old home Shinji Orito, Ryo Mizutsuki 4:44
7. rivulet Shinji Orito, Ryo Mizutsuki 5:39
8. worth living Magome Togoshi, Ryo Mizutsuki 6:14
9. harmony with sorrow Magome Togoshi, Ryo Mizutsuki 7:31
10. love song Jun Maeda, Ryo Mizutsuki 6:52

Review: Clannad/Tomoyo After’s “Piano no Mori” revels in simplicity. The ornamentation that accompanies these piano arrangements are fairly orthodox; there’s nothing in this album that’s too surprising. Everything about this album is predictable; the tracks that were chosen, the manner in which they’re arranged, the list goes on. But for fans of the Clannad franchise, this album is exactly what they’re looking for. Nothing more, but definitely nothing less.

Even though the track selection and the creativity that goes into the arrangements leave a bit to be desired, the piano music does convey the sentiments of Clannad well. “To the Same Heights” starts this album off on a splendid note. Its soft introduction is tentative, but it exudes a growing optimism through a crescendo that radiates hope through its trickling, engaging melody. The glowing outlook and determination it conveys is wonderful and this piece does well in setting the tone for the tracks that follow.

To the Same Heights

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“Isle of Joy,” an arrangement of the OP, “Mag Mell,” is even better than its source material, granted, I wasn’t too keen on the original because its melody has the feel of a generic, upbeat opener rather than a song that encompasses the scope of the anime and game (despite what the lyrics say). This version’s tones are warmer as the piano transitions smoothly from the energetic lead-in into the gentle verses complete with the brief moment where the piano takes to the higher registers to highlight the piece’s most heartfelt section. After that, “White Clovers” takes over with a slow, calming sound that moves along serenely at first. But the piece really shines once it hits the buildup where the happiness that’s been simmering emerges with confidence, and with it, delivers optimism, painted through an incredibly bright future.

White Clovers

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But nothing nails the optimistic sentiments quite like the iconic “Tiny Palm” which exudes joy and happiness from every pore. The piece starts off softly, but little by little, it gathers strength, imbued by a wondrous sense of gladness that drifts in and slowly uplifts. Its initial calming ardor gels all of the scattered loving emotions into a greater whole, reflecting the strengthening of those familial bonds. These emotions really come to fruition once the piano enters the high registers. From there, the piece flows with comfort and hope, stirring my heart and soul as it affirms the unbreakable bonds formed before ending sweetly as the familiar motive from “Nagisa” sets in with its gentle, loving tones.

Tiny Palm

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The Clannad chapter closes with “Two Shadows;” “Dear Old Home” opens the Tomoyo After story. The music used for this story arc is more somber and packs a tragic aura. “Dear Old Home” doesn’t quite go that far, but it does have a dab of the melancholy in the introduction before it gradually shifts to a tone of quiet determination. “Rivulet” follows suit in retaining some of that determination, but on the whole, the warm tones beckon and love remains the dominant theme, conveyed through the melody’s warm, reassuring fabric.

Rivulet

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Beyond this point, the music is seeped in sadness and this is where the tragedy really makes itself apparent. The lonely sound coming from “Worth Living” is distressing as the introspective thoughts that flow forth do so forlornly. It is as if the subject of this track has lost their way and is struggling to find some direction to proceed and patch together a shattered life. The feelings it depicts are bleak, bordering on despair, as the problems grow ever more burdensome with each passing note. “Harmony with Sorrow” is even more despondent though listening to this becomes almost annoying because the piece repeats the same motives a bit too often for its own good without doing anything to adorn the melody in a way that will further plumb the piece’s emotional depths.

Worth Living

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But the album wraps up nicely through “Love Song,” which slowly sheds the despair in favor of a blossoming happiness that remains quiet and subtle. Its tones are uplifting; not quite at the level of “Tiny Palm” perhaps, but its brightness is heartening, especially when it comes after two very gloomy tracks. To close, though this album is far from being the be-all-end-all of anime piano music, the tracks are competently arranged and highlight some of the more memorable moments in Clannad and Tomoyo After. It’s definitely recommended listening if you seek to enjoy the Clannad soundtrack through a different instrumental lens.

Rating: Good

zzeroparticle

Anime Instrumentality's Founder and Editor-in-Chief. As you can probably guess, I'm a big anime music junkie with a special love for composers who've put out some beautiful melodies to accompany some of my favorite anime series. I tend to gravitate towards music in the classical style with Joe Hisaishi and Yoko Kanno being a few of my favorite composers, but I've come to appreciate jazz and rock as anime music has widened my tastes.

21 thoughts on “CLANNAD / Tomoyo After Piano Arrange Album “Piano no Mori” – Review

  • December 15, 2010 at 8:58 pm
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    More Clannad goodness? Oh, I must get my hands on this one as well! Especially considering it’s piano music; the piano is my favourite instrument next to the violin. It’s so pretty.

    Reply
  • December 16, 2010 at 12:25 am
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    Key soundtracks seem to lend themselves really well to piano arrangements. I haven’t heard this one, but the Kanon piano arrangement album is one of the most listened to in my playlist. Unrelated aside: “Piano no Mori” is also the name of a Madhouse anime film which was pretty good, but hardly anyone has heard of it.

    Reply
  • December 16, 2010 at 9:53 pm
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    @Arianna Sterling
    Yup, the piano definitely wins me over on all counts because of its versatility in both genres and expressions. Doing jazz to violin would be just a little tough. And yeah, this impetus towards Clannad was a temporary thing. It’s how it is at year’s end :p

    @Sorrow-kun
    The Air/Kanon Refeel arrange album, right? I remember being blown away by how good it was, and I think that was the point that indicated how well Maeda and Orito’s music can go when it’s done to piano. I think that of the few anime piano albums that exist, only the ARIA ones get more playtime on my media player.

    Reply
  • December 18, 2010 at 8:22 pm
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    The album sounds like it would be great to pop into a Stereo, set on a low volume while sitting quietly on a comfy chair allowing the music to envelope you as you relax or read. Nothing too virtuosic or impressive, but sometimes piano arrangements are done best with little to no change to the original melody. Makes good for mood-music.

    Reply
    • December 21, 2010 at 12:10 am
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      @Rhythmroo
      Yeah, it’s definitely good heartfelt stuff to just quietly relax to even with the occasional bout where the melancholia sets in during the later melodies. I still wish there’s an anime piano arrange album someplace that makes for good focused-listens as well as relaxing fare. So far, most seem tilted towards the mood front rather than the melodically interesting stuff. Makes you wonder why when VGM is filled to the brim with higher-quality arrangements.

      @Yi
      Now I’ll have to see if I can find a piano album that has the kind of music I’m looking for. Oh well.

      But yes, “To the Same Heights” is a really heartwarming track for me. Even more so when it takes the form of Clannad After Story’s OP theme.

      Reply
  • December 20, 2010 at 3:02 am
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    I have a soft spot for piano music, so the simplicity didn’t bother me much. To the Same Heights is nice.

    Reply
  • December 21, 2010 at 6:37 pm
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    @zzeroparticle
    When you say focused-listens, I assume you mean melodically expressive, exciting with fancy ornaments and dynamics, right? The reason why is a focused-listen for me is sitting down and analyzing the reason of choice why a composer/arranger chose to use certain instruments at different points in the music, looking for familiar chord passages that will show up later, any good/bad modulation, and so on.

    But yeah, I totally would like something a bit more ear-catching when arrangements for anime albums happen. While I know Clannad was a very emotional anime, there were definitely exciting tracks in there, or at least tracks that could have been amped for piano performance. Of course, it solely is up to the arranger and their mood. We are at their mercy, haha.

    Note: Haha, I think I just found my next post of discussion… Planes of Listening. I love it.

    Reply
    • December 22, 2010 at 1:41 am
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      @Rhythmroo
      Yeah, something where I can focus on the music and be totally enamored at the creativity rather than doing something else at the same time and perking my ears up once or twice whenever I hear something unusual. Also I should check up on Ryo Mizutsuki’s other works. He did arrange the album, and while he does capture the melody well, the creativity isn’t quite where I want it to be. I suppose Little Busters music should make for a good comparison to see how close his compositional style goes.

      Also, are you talking about Copland there? (I googled it up out of curiosity…)

      Reply
  • December 22, 2010 at 7:55 am
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    @zzeroparticle
    Yes, I am speaking of Copland with Planes of Listening. I’ve been meaning to write about that topic because I mentioned it in a post way back around May/June. I was actually going through his book, “What to Listen for in Music” the other night and just really sponged in more information about the three different planes. But yeah…

    I just think it’s an excellent topic that would be entertaining to bring up, to check to see which plane each individual finds themselves locked into more, whether it being: 1) The Sensual Plane, 2) The Expressive Plane, or 3) The Sheerly Musical Plane. Unconsciously we listen through all three planes at once, but one usually prevails to which we will focus in on (Or not in the case of the first plane). I’ll go more in detail on my next post, in case anyone on here is curious to what exactly these planes are.

    Reply
    • December 24, 2010 at 1:09 am
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      @Rhythmroo
      That should make for a good read. And by that, I mean your discussion on that topic (were you gonna write that in blog post form?). It also seems like the Copland thing is worth giving a read too. I might be able to get a better tab for how my music preferences fly.

      But yeah, I’ll just keep an eye on my feedreader for your article. Should make for some mighty fine reading!

      Reply
  • December 23, 2010 at 12:53 am
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    I reckon Maeda composes his music on the piano first, then splits it up among instruments and synth for most of his songs. I guess it’s just because they all sound really awesome on piano anyway, lol.

    Reply
    • December 24, 2010 at 1:24 am
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      @Khu
      It wouldn’t surprise me if that were true. A lot of composers start off on the piano before they start putting all the instruments together. Also, in Maeda’s case, it does help that he works primarily with synth, so I’d assume that the transition isn’t too difficult.

      Reply
  • December 24, 2010 at 9:40 am
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    @zzeroparticle
    Depends, if it reaches past 800 words then it’s going to be uploaded as a PDF with a short summary in the post. Less than 800 words and I’ll just post it all in one shot on the blog. I do recommend the book, enjoyed a great deal of it.

    Reply
  • December 26, 2010 at 9:34 am
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    Hey there Zero,

    I just happened to come across this great site when searching up this soundtrack. May I ask if you happen to know where I can buy this soundtrack, preferably along with the score book?

    Reply
  • December 26, 2010 at 9:35 am
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    Sorry mate, I wrote in wrong page. I wanted to ask about the CLANNAD ~AFTER STORY~ TOKI WO KIZAMU UTA / TORCH -PIANO ARRANGE DISC-

    Reply
    • December 27, 2010 at 12:00 am
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      @Animax99
      If you has asked me this a few months back, I would have suggested taking a look at Himeyashop. But as it is with the site shutdown, you can try melonbooks.co.jp or toranoana.jp. Both sites don’t provide much in the way of English translations for their goods, so you might have to run your query through a translator.

      It always sucks when places like Play-Asia, yesasia, or CDJapan don’t have them. Makes the searches that much harder.

      Reply
      • December 30, 2011 at 11:35 pm
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        This album has certainly become rather difficult to find. I was fortunate enough to come across one (new) on eBay a few hours ago, so that would seem a good starting point if none of the usual places have it. :3

      • December 31, 2011 at 6:00 pm
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        @Haru-tan
        Nice! I’ve been leery of eBay because of the prevalence of bootlegged discs that seem to be the majority of auctions. Make sure the catalog number in the auction matches the one listed in this review and you’ll be fine.

  • December 27, 2010 at 1:19 am
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    @zzeroparticle
    I absolutely agree. Playasia, Yesasia and CDJapan are the mainstream. It’s like a massive hunt when they’re not around.

    Thanks zero

    Reply
  • January 14, 2011 at 11:51 pm
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    Is it possible to get my hands on the official sheets?

    Reply
    • January 17, 2011 at 12:37 am
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      @Larry
      I don’t actually know whether there are actual piano sheets for this. I haven’t looked though so you might be able to have some luck if you search around long enough… not sure where you’d find it though. =P

      Reply

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