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Echo 20/21 Takemitsu: A Flock Descends Into The Pentagonal Garden

Release Date: 02/08/2005 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 4775381   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Toru Takemitsu
Performer:  Ida KavafianPeter SerkinRichard StoltzmanFred Sherry,   ... 
Conductor:  Seiji OzawaHiroshi Wakasugi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony OrchestraTashi
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 0 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

A highly desirable trio from one of the 20th century’s great colorists.

These are bountiful times for Takemitsu’s admirers. For those with bottomless pockets or unlimited overdraft facilities, endless shelf-space and an infinite amount of time and stamina, the Shogakukan label is issuing a complete edition: the last tranche consisted of two volumes of film scores, comprising 21 CDs. For everyone else these DG reissues should hit the spot. Between them they provide a pretty representative overview of Takemitsu’s work and feature a stellar gathering of performers who are among the finest Takemitsu interpreters.

Quotation of Dream (now issued as part of the Gramophone Awards collection) was recorded in
Read more December 1996 and March 1997, shortly after the composer’s death. It showcases late-period works from 1985 (Dream/Window) to 1993 (Archipelago S), an attractive and cohesive sequence, bracketed by two antiphonal brass fanfares, put together by Oliver Knussen. That last decade of Takemitsu’s life revealed more clearly than ever his fundamental Romanticism but he always avoided the overripe, self-obsessed excesses to which the Romantics were susceptible. Most of the late works eschewed the hard-edged purity of the compositions that made his reputation but they were certainly not soft-centred. Knussen, the Sinfonietta and the celebrity soloists do full justice to the gorgeous textures and colours while keeping the stark beauty of the structures in sharp focus.

A Flock Descends… and Garden Rain are nicely packaged from the 20th Century Classics series. The earliest recordings (Stanza I, Sacrifice, Ring and Valeria) were made in September 1969 but the earliest compositions date back further, to 1958-60 (Le son calligraphié). Each album takes us through to the mid-1970s, documenting the considerable development in Takemitsu’s style, yet demonstrating equally vividly that the essential inspirations for his music – gardens, the elements, dreams, the cycles of the natural world, Impressionism – never really changed. Some early works carry evidence of the influence of the Darmstadt circle in their surgical examinations of timbre (eg Valeria) or in the licence granted performers to choose the order in which to play the movements (Ring). Even to the end, I always felt that the legacy of Takemitsu’s early electronic experiments was discernible in the way he made mysterious sounds blossom out of nowhere, drifting in and out of the listener’s field of perception. It’s as if the music is always there, just waiting for us to tune in.

These are classic performances of riveting works by one of the most mesmerising composers of the 20th century.

-- Barry Witherden, Gramophone [8/2005, reviewing DG 4775382, 453495 and 4775381]
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Works on This Recording

Quatrain by Toru Takemitsu
Performer:  Ida Kavafian (Violin), Peter Serkin (Piano), Richard Stoltzman (Clarinet),
Fred Sherry (Cello)
Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Tashi
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1975; Japan 
A Flock Descends into the Pentagonal Garden by Toru Takemitsu
Performer:  Fred Sherry (Cello), Peter Serkin (Piano), Richard Stoltzman (Clarinet),
Ida Kavafian (Violin)
Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Tashi
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1977; Japan 
Sacrifice by Toru Takemitsu
Performer:  Mitsuhiko Hamada (Lute), Keiko Abe (Vibraphone), Keiko Abe (Antique Cymbal),
Ryu Noguchi (Alto Flute)
Conductor:  Hiroshi Wakasugi
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1962; Japan 
Ring by Toru Takemitsu
Performer:  Mitsuhiko Hamada (Lute), Ryu Noguchi (Flute), Harumi Ibe (Terz Guitar)
Conductor:  Hiroshi Wakasugi
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1961; Japan 
Valeria by Toru Takemitsu
Performer:  Ryu Noguchi (Piccolo), Yuji Takahashi (Electric Organ), Saburo Ueki (Violin),
Yoshio Hattori (Cello), Takeshi Koizumi (Piccolo), Harumi Ibe (Guitar)
Conductor:  Hiroshi Wakasugi
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1965/1969; Japan 
Stanza no 1 by Toru Takemitsu
Performer:  Yonako Nagano (Mezzo Soprano), Harumi Ibe (Guitar), Mari Nagasako (Harp),
Yuji Takahashi (Piano), Yuji Takahashi (Celesta), Keiko Abe (Vibraphone)
Conductor:  Hiroshi Wakasugi
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1969; Japan 

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