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LigAlien - Works by Mari Takano

Alien / Nabb / Sugihara / Sco / Manson
Release Date: 12/13/2011 
Label:  Bis   Catalog #: 1453  
Composer:  Mari Takano
Performer:  Masahito SugiharaNathan NabbWinston ChoiMari Kimura,   ... 
Conductor:  Anne Manson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swedish Chamber Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Length: 1 Hours 16 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

TAKANO LIGALIENFlute concerto. 1,10,11 LIgAlien I. 3,4,9 LIgAlien II. 2,5,8 LIgAlien III. 5,7 LIgAlien IV. 3,4,9 Full Moon. 6 Jungibility 9 1 Sharon Bezaly (fl); Read more class="SUPER12">2 Shoko Ikeda (ob); 3 Nathan Nabb (sop sax); 4 Masahito Sugihara (tenor sax); 5 Kioko Yasuda (vn); 6 Mari Kimura (vn); 7 Kazuko Nambara (hp); 8 Miki Maruta (koto); 9 Winston Choi (pn); 10 Anne Manson, cond; 11 Swedish CO BIS CD1453 (75:47)

Much of this delightful and intriguing collection of chamber music written within the last decade by Japanese composer Mari Takano is a tribute to her teacher, the late György Ligeti. Ligeti is a composer who, during his lifetime, was known primarily by reputation as a severe abstractionist, and by one very famous piece of music included in the landmark film 2001: A Space Odyssey . Since his death in 2006, his music has been performed with much greater frequency, and a much broader appreciation of his multifaceted artistry has emerged, including his highly sophisticated wit.

At its best, Takano’s homage neatly reflects the rich source of her inspiration. In LigAlien I , for soprano and tenor saxophones and piano, she finds a lovely balance of textures with bubbly rhythms and refreshing splashes of jazzy syncopation. Jungibility is so-called as a reference to the sound of the jungle, which in early 20th-century urban vernacular refers to jazz, especially the work of the earliest Ellington bands. This music rumbles along in a mostly playful way before exploding into a furious fireworks of sparkling notes.

Takano is a meticulous technician, and in LigAlien II , for oboe, violin, and koto, every single note contributes to the fabric of the piece. But here a certain academic stiffness constrains the emotional appeal of the music. Fortunately, such tendencies are the exception rather than the norm in her music. Even in Full Moon , scored for the potentially arid combination of violin and electronics, a vivid sense of imagination and theatrical flair make this music almost hypnotically compelling. Violinist Mari Kimura, who also supplies most of the sampled material for the computer-generated sounds, deserves special credit for her subtle yet dazzling playing.

The excellent flute concerto serves as a good amalgam of Takano’s style. It shows off her high level of craft, reveals her fascination with complex rhythmic interplay (including an obvious love for jazz), and frequently displays an appealing puckishness. Much of the narrative thrust of the music is driven by interesting and even surprising harmonic patterns. Sharon Bezaly brings it all to life with focused energy and a sensual sense for the timbre of her instrument.

In all, this is a fine portrait of one of our more talented and rewarding young composers. The performers, including several of Takano’s fellow graduates of Tokyo’s famed Toho Gakuen College of Music, are all at a very high level of polish and agility, and BIS provides its usual exemplary production values.

FANFARE: Peter Burwasser
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Works on This Recording

LigAlien I by Mari Takano
Performer:  Masahito Sugihara (Tenor Saxophone), Nathan Nabb (Soprano Saxophone), Winston Choi (Piano)
Period: 20th/21st Century 
Written: 2003 
Jungibility by Mari Takano
Performer:  Winston Choi (Piano)
Full Moon by Mari Takano
Performer:  Mari Kimura (Violin)
Concerto for Flute by Mari Takano
Performer:  Sharon Bezaly (Flute)
Conductor:  Anne Manson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swedish Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
LigAlien II by Mari Takano
Performer:  Miki Maruta (Koto)
Period: 20th/21st Century 
Written: 2003 
LigAlien III by Mari Takano
Performer:  Kioko Yasuda (Violin), Kazuko Nambara (Harp)
Period: 20th/21st Century 
Written: 2007 
LigAlien IV by Mari Takano
Performer:  Masahito Sugihara (Tenor Saxophone), Nathan Nabb (Soprano Saxophone), Winston Choi (Piano)
Period: 20th/21st Century 
Written: 2010 

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