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Takemitsu: Quotation of Dream (20/21 Series)

10 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 9, 1999
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Editorial Reviews

Sometimes, even while you are listening, it can be very difficult to understand how Takemitsu created such exquisitely beautiful music using so much dissonance. As the brief Day Signal opens the disc, for example, you're more likely to think of the glory of sunrise than of the discords. And Quotation of Dream, which quotes freely from Debussy's La Mer, is nearly as beautiful as its source. Rather than waste time figuring out how Takemitsu's spacing of notes and imaginative scoring influences our perceptions, it's much more rewarding just to relax and let the music wash over you. Knussen, who leads amazing performances here, has programmed the disc for a continuous listening experience, although the novice should probably listen only to a couple of pieces at one sitting. --Leslie Gerber

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
  1. Takemitsu: Day Signal (1987) - Signals from Heaven I - Antiphonal Fanfare for two brass groupsLondon Sinfonietta and Oliver Knussen 2:02$0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. Takemitsu: Quotation of Dream (1991) - Say sea, take me! - for two pianos and orchestraLondon Sinfonietta and Oliver Knussen and Paul Crossley and Peter Serkin16:15Album Only
  3. Takemitsu: How Slow the Wind (1991) for chamber orchestraLondon Sinfonietta and Oliver Knussen10:46Album Only
  4. Takemitsu: Twill by Twilight (1988) - In Memory of Morton Feldman - for large orchestraLondon Sinfonietta and Oliver Knussen12:43Album Only
  5. Takemitsu: Archipelago S. (1993) for 21 playersLondon Sinfonietta and Oliver Knussen12:06Album Only
  6. Takemitsu: Dream/Window (1985) for orchestraLondon Sinfonietta and Oliver Knussen13:45Album Only
  7. Takemitsu: Night Signal (1987) - Signals from Heaven II - Antiphonal Fanfare for two brass groupsLondon Sinfonietta and Oliver Knussen 3:24$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Performer: Paul Crossley, Peter Serkin
  • Orchestra: London Sinfonietta
  • Conductor: Oliver Knussen
  • Composer: Toru Takemitsu
  • Audio CD (February 9, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B00000I0L6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #142,494 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Julian Grant on September 6, 2000
Format: Audio CD
If you are hyper-active and respond only to marching bands then this is emphatically not for you. I'm mystified, having heard this CD half a dozen times why the lush, semi-static sound world common to all of these pieces doesn't cloy, but it doesn't. Not only do they indeed have variety, helped by an amazing ear for orchestral colour and nuance, but the atmosphere engendered is so strong it invites careful listening: one is drawn in to discover ever more subtle changes: textural, thematic, and more rarely, rhythmic. Dissonance is mentioned in the Amazon review; one's perception of dissonance changes here with such a cushioned sound-world, ones ear is tickled by such aural spice, never battered by it. Takemitsu's language, while his own, is deeply eclectic - from the conscious quotes from Debussy's 'La Mer' in 'Quotation of Dream', to extensive echoes of Messiaen, Scriabin and occasionally Ravel. Performances are exemplary and the recording quality classic - the perspectives even cope with the spatially designed ensemble piece 'Archipelago S' with antiphonal ensembles divided by brass and two solo clarinets behind the audience. And I've never heard such beautiful brass pieces in my life , two 'Signals from Heaven' that act as bookends to this compelling anthology. This is powerfully atmospheric, immediate music that will haunt you. Bravos all round.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By kamus on April 7, 2002
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
These pieces from Takemitsu's maturity represent the pinnacle of achievement for this gifted composer. Without regard to trends and fashion in contemporary music has has created his own sound universe. A peaceful, yet oddly non-somnolent, serenity informs virtually every bar of these wonderful pieces. The music is beautiful, lush and imaginative at every turn and despite strong ties to the French impressionists it is creative and unique and infused with Takemitsu's personal stamp and his nature-mystical aesthetic. The sound and the performances are first rate and Oliver Knussen must be congratulated on doing such a fine job in bringing these excellent pieces to life. If you love Takemitsu, you will love this CD. If you are new to Takemitsu, this is a wonderful introduction to one of the 20th century's finest composers.
Recommended without reservation.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Rick Darby on February 9, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Toru Takemitsu was one of the late 20th century's most individual composers whose scores use primarily the traditional instruments of western classical music. Perhaps in part because he wrote film scores in addition to concert pieces, his art is highly communicative and un-academic. It has the double merit of being about as far as you can get both from gnarly, dissonant modernism and from pretty-pretty New Age ear candy.
Quotation of Dream includes seven pieces from the last decade of Takemitsu's life (he died in 1996), including the premiere recording of the title piece. The disc begins and ends with fanfares that, while perhaps effective as aural bookends, are to my ears undistinguished. The music that lies in between, however, is extraordinarily compelling.
Takemitsu's style in these works is generally meditative, with frequent slow, quiet passages, strings predominating. But there are dramatic incidents and color as well: flaring brass, rising like a mountainous island from a tropical sea; raindrops of chimes; drawn-out woodwind lines weaving sinuously through swirls of massed violins. The music sometimes pivots around silent pauses, like the empty spaces in Zen painting. In Quotation of Dream, twin pianos (played by Paul Crossley and Peter Serkin, respectively) dominate the foreground with gentle cascades of notes while orchestral clouds form in the background.
The musical language is often reminiscent of Debussy and Ravel; in mood (though not in technique) it can resemble the slowest and most mysterious moments in music of the second Viennese school (Schoenberg, Berg, Webern et al.). The subtlety and elusiveness probably owe something to the composer's Japanese heritage. But this is no cut-and-paste job; the overall impression is startlingly original.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Culver TOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 11, 2004
Format: Audio CD
QUOTATION OF DREAM is the first of Deutsche Grammophon's several collections of pieces by late Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu, who thankfully has been getting ever-more attention since his untimely death in 1996. Takemitsu was a mainly self-taught composer, and because of this there seems to be little that connects him to his serialism- or minimalism-inspired colleagues. Nevertheless, Takemitsu's own path is fascinating, exploring Japanese and Western compositional principles in isolation and in combination and striving to transcend them both. These pieces, several of them related by shared thematic materials. are lovingly performed by the London Sinfonietta conducted by Oliver Knussen, who was a friend and admirer of Takemitsu.

The disc is framed by two antiphonal fanfares written in 1987, "Day Signal" and "Night Signal", together called "Signals from Heaven". They are closely related, both using dissonance to suggest the changing of the skies, but with one inverted from the other to suggest an opposite tone.

A quip of Takemitsu was "I am self-taught, but I consider Debussy my teacher." The first major work here, "Quotation of Dream - Say sea, take me!" (1991), is a tribute to Debussy using quotations from his "La Mer" as if the composer was trying to recreate the piece he had just woken up from dreaming. The title also refers to its use of some material from "Dream/Window", an earlier composition present on this disc. "Quotation of Dream" is a lovely tribute to the composer's greatest inspiration, but the majority of the work comes only from Takemitsu.
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