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Toru Takemitsu: CANTOS - Fantasma/Cantos / Water-Ways / Waves / Quatrain II

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Audio CD, August 16, 1994
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1. Fantasma/Cantos - Richard Stoltzman/BBC Welsh Sym Orch
2. Water-Ways - Peter Serkin/Richard Stoltzman/Ida Kavafian/Fred Sherry/Barbara Allen/Nancy Allen/David Frost...
3. Waves - Richard Stoltzman/Robert Routch/Ronald Borror/Richard Chamberlain/David Frost
4. Quatrain II - Peter Serkin/Richard Stoltzman/Ida Kavafian/Fred Sherry

Product Details

  • Performer: Ida Kavafian, Peter Serkin, Fred Sherry, Richard Stoltzman, Barbara Allen, et al.
  • Orchestra: BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Tadaaki Otaka
  • Composer: Toru Takemitsu
  • Audio CD (August 16, 1994)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: RCA
  • ASIN: B000003FOP
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #273,149 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on July 18, 2007
I'm not sure I would have done any better with my adolescent music lessons if I'd selected the high profile violin, piano, or guitar, but I certainly could not have done worse than with my lowly clarinet choice. I can count on one hand the interesting pieces of classical music written with the clarinet as the featured soloist, and the most famous uses are in 'highbrow' American Jazz compositions, the most famous being the opening to Gershwin's 'Rapsody in Blue'. So, I bought this particular album not for any interest in composer Takemitsu, or even in Clarient virtuoso Stoltzman, but simply in the fact that it featured my beloved licorice stick as a solo instrument.
Much of these cantos would be what a friend of mine describes as sci-fi music, but since they feature the clarinet, they also take on a very 'film noir' air about them. If you, like me, are starved for interesting clarinet music, this album is definitely for you. And, if, also like me, you simply like out of the way musical styles, this one is also a winner on that score.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Culver TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 23, 2011
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Among Toru Takemitsu's major supporters were the members of the Tashi quartet: violinist Ida Kavafian, pianist Peter Serkin, cellist Fred Sherry and clarinetist Richard Stolzman. This RCA disc from 1994 combines some recordings from the 1970s with the world-premiere recording of Takemitsu's late clarinet concerto. Note that a DG reissue complements this disc with other Tashi performances of Takemitsu, essential for fans of the composer and these four musicians.

The earliest work here is "Waves" for clarinet, 2 trombones, horn and bass drum (1976), which still show traces of Takemitsu's modernist middle period. Foreboding rumbles on the bass drum evoke the ocean tides, with the other instruments playing slow melodies which arise from that foundation. There's a great air of cosmic mystery and drama around "Waves".

The remaining works are pretty representative of Takemitsu's last two decades, when he wrote work after work of pretty but isolated gestures, each moment containing exquisite Debussyean detail but not really going in any particular direction. "Quatrain II" is one such piece, lovely but not too unmemorable. In "Fantasma/Cantos" for clarinet and orchestra (1991), the clarinet is only the most prominent strand in a lush orchestral texture. In the liner notes, Stolzman claims that the piece is a summation of 20th century clarinet techniques, but the instrument generally doesn't call attention to itself -- one must concentrate to perceive "Fantasma/Cantos" as concertante.

"Water-ways" (1978), however, is unusually goal-directed for late Takemitsu.
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