Sunday, November 01, 2009

Takemitsu, Japan's zensation

One of my favourite composers of the 20th century: Japan's Toru Takemitsu (1930-1996). He excelled in all genres he tackled, orchestral music, movie soundtracks, and chamber music, in a highly personal style which can perhaps be described as a blend of Debussy, Messiaen and traditional Japanese music. The word "shimmering" seems made for his tonal layers. Naxos also have a great disc of his orchestral music, but in the end I went for this flute dominated chamber music selection. A great cross-section of Takemitsu's output, presenting eight compositions from 1971 until 1995, including the essential Toward the Sea I, for alto flute & guitar and Rain Spell, for flute, clarinet, harp, piano & vibraphone. Excellent play by all contributors, first and foremost flautist Robert Aitken, with crisp recording. Warmly recommended.