This collection of pieces by Takemitsu comes in Deutsche Grammaphon's "Echo 20/21" series of reissues of contemporary music. It's the first international release on CD, we should rejoice that these historical performances of music from several eras of Takemitsu's work are finally available once more.
Two works are fairly early. The earliest material here is "Le Son calligraphie" (1958/60), three pieces for strings written while Takemitsu was still looking to Messiaen and Webern for inspiration. Their soundworld is quite reminiscent of the "Requiem" for strings dating from the same era, Takemitsu's first big hit. The work is performed by an ensemble of Japanese players conducted by Hiroshi Wakasugi. "Hika | Elegy" for violin and piano (1966), performed here by Ida Kavafian and Peter Serkin, takes much of its musical material from the third movement of Takemitsu's early piano piece "Uninterrupted rests". That movement was titled "A song of love", and this duet is certainly one of the most passionate violin and piano pairings in modern repertoire.
Several works here date from the height of Takemitsu's modernist period around the turn of the 70s. In "Eucalypts I & II" (1970) the first piece is for flute, oboe, harp, and strings, while the second is for flute, oboe, and harp. The music is defined by the seeming separate activities of the performers, but unlike the Western contrast of sonata-allegreo form, Takemitsu seeks to show all parts organically growing from the same origin in spite of their independent existence. Jurg Wittenbacher conducts the Basel Ensemble, and the soloists here appear in several works from the same period.Read more ›