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Classical Net Review - Takemitsu - Quotation of Dream, etc.

5/18/10 6:54 AM

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Quotation of Dream

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Quotation of Dream
How Slow the Wind
Twill by Twilight
Archipelago S
Dream/Window
Day Signal
Night Signal
Paul Crossley, Peter Serkin, pianos
London Sinfonietta/Oliver Knussen
Deutsche Grammophon 453495-2 DDD 71:03

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If you have not yet had the pleasure of encountering the music of the Tru Takemitsu (19301996), this recent CD, part of Deutsche Grammophon's new 20/21 series, is an excellent place to
start. It contains seven pieces from the last part of the Japanese composer's career, ranging from
Dream/Window (1985), a representation of the city of Kyoto, to the supremely haunting
Archipelago S. (1993).
These seven pieces present Takemitsu as a sort of latter day Debussy, or, in any event, as a
musical impressionist extraordinaire. Luminous timbres, hazy outlines, rapturous emotions, and
nevertheless precise calculations are what these dreams are made of. The Japanese garden is a
frequently evoked metaphor again, an art form whose artlessness is great art indeed. In
Quotation of Dream, never before recorded, the composer folds fragments of Debussy's La Mer
so seamlessly into the larger structure that the effect is transcendental, and not at all
outrageous. It's a fascinating look at the relationship between an object and the object's context.
Or, to use Takemitsu's metaphor again, there are gardens in which the landscape outside of the
garden's borders must be taken into consideration when appraising the total artistic effect.
The mysteriously christened Twill by Twilight is a tribute to Morton Feldman, the American
composer whose metaphysical outlook and frugality with notes made him spiritual kin to
Takemitsu. Although their music only infrequently sounds similar, one feels that they were
rowing toward similar aesthetic goals.
Superficially, the pieces on this disc tend to blur into each other, even though Takemitsu has
scored them rather differently. This music initially may present itself as one long sigh. However,
attentive listening (perhaps supplemented by Knussen's highly articulate annotations) reveals the
keys that unlock the unique personalities of each individual work. It is best, then, not to listen to
this disc straight through until one has spent concentrated time with each of its components.

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Knussen, one of Takemitsu's favorite musicians, is a superb conductor for this repertoire, and the
musicians of the London Sinfonietta respond sensitively. Crossley and Serkin play important roles
in Quotation of Dream, and they do so with the concentration of Zen masters. The engineering
provides warm yet detailed sound. As with other 20/21 releases, Deutsche Grammophon's
packaging moves away from the traditional jewel box in favor of an attractive fold-out format.
Not to be missed.

http://www.classical.net/music/recs/reviews/d/dgg53495a.php

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Classical Net Review - Takemitsu - Quotation of Dream, etc.

What's New for


May/June 2010?

5/18/10 6:54 AM

Copyright 1999, Raymond Tuttle

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