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Record Box

Heart-rending sounds

Music for trombone and orchestra
by Toru Takemitsu
with KEITH BRAMICH


BIS    CD-1078

Toru Takemitsu: How slow the Wind. (p) 2001 BIS Records AB

 

'The most important thing in Japanese music is space, not sound.' -- the words of Toru Takemitsu (1930-1996), Japan's best known composer. Largely self-taught, he became influenced by twentieth century European composers -- Debussy, Messiaen and Webern come especially to mind -- and he used mostly Western forces. The music is unmistakeable -- always gentle and subtle -- inspired by (or seeking) rain, wind, trees, islands, song ... Floating in time-space and connecting opposites such as East and West, life and death, music and silence, tradition and innovation, he summons some of the most heart-rending sounds imaginable [listen -- track 5, 9:43-10:48].

Tadaaki Otaka and the Kioi Sinfonietta Tokyo give convincing performances here of a selection of orchestral works. They date from the final decades of Takemitsu's life, with the exception of Requiem for strings (1957), music written in the knowledge of the closeness of death -- the early work with which he first became known in the West.

Trombonist Christian Lindberg joins the group for the most recent work on the disc -- Fantasma/Cantos II (1994) -- a piece demonstrating not only the humour which the composer used as a device in his later works, but also his music's lyrical beauty [listen -- track 3, 2:55-4:07].

 

Copyright © 5 December 2001 Keith Bramich, London, UK

 

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Record Box is Music & Vision's regular Wednesday series of shorter CD reviews