Tōru Takemitsu – Distance de fée (1951)

“Distance de fée” created in 1951, one of the best pieces of Takemitsu’s early period. The spirit of Debussy and Messiaen are fully felt in this work of approximately 7 and 1/2 minutes duration. Messiaen’s octatonic scale is used in the tonal language. The opening lyrical theme is repeated several times, and finds a new pathway upon each return – this is a version of variation as well as rondo form, two of Takemitsu’s favorite compositional procedures. This piece, like many others by Takemitsu, was inspired by poetry, in this case, a poem of the same title by Shuzo Takiguchi (1903-1979). This work describes, with lightly mythological imagery, an elusive, transparent creature living in “air’s labyrinth … it lives in the spring breeze That barely resembled the balance of a small bird” source

Arisa Fujita – Violin / Megumi Fujita – Piano

From the album Between Tides and Other Chamber Music with compositions by Toru Takemitsu, with Fujita Piano Trio, released in 2001.

Another excellent recording with unknown performers:

toru takemitsu

 

Gustavo Dudamel conducts Bruckner; Webern; Takemitsu

There was one other piece on the program, Toru Takemitsu’s Requiem for strings, which was added because the L.A. Phil will also play this concert in Costa Mesa as part of the Philharmonic Society of Orange County’s JapanOC festival.

The Requiem is the Japanese composer’s first notable work, written in 1957 as Takemitsu was recovering from tuberculosis. Like Webern and Bruckner, Takemitsu wrote music that insists on stopping and smelling the roses. But in the French-influenced early Takemitsu the perfume is everything.

The Philharmonic strings did not fully convey the impression of weightlessness that Takemitsu might have liked, but the textures were lush and Dudamel centered in on the Requiem’s meditative beauty.

Read the full review in the Los Angeles Times here.

Festival will celebrate Japanese and Japanese American arts

A variety of Japanese and Japanese American arts — including Butoh and jazz, as well as  anime — will be celebrated during “JapanOC,” a seven-month festival presented by Carnegie Hall, the Philharmonic Society of Orange County and the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

Programs will feature traditional and contemporary music, dance, theater, film and visual art. Among the highlights will be tributes to composer Toru Takemitsu and sculptor-designer Isamu Noguchi by artists including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Martha Graham Dance Company and the Tokyo String Quartet.

Music offerings include:

  • Guitarist Kazumi Watanabe playing selections from Takemitsu’s avant-garde works on Dec. 19 at OCPAC’s Samueli Theater.
  • Gustavo Dudamel leading the L.A. Philharmonic in a program of Takemitsu’s “Requiem for Strings” and works by Webern and Bruckner on March 5 at OCPAC’s Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall.
  • The Tokyo String Quartet performing Takemitsu’s “A Way a Lone” and other works on April 19 at the Samueli Theater.

Read the full article in The Los Angeles Times here.