• Orchestral Works

I listened yesterday to some amazing music by Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu. For me this is music unlike others: Instead of linear progress of the sound, this seems more circular or cylindrical, in that the composer emphasizes a spirit of return to ideas played earlier in the piece. I particularly enjoyed his “Dream Window”.

On this CD, we get the following selections:


  • Requiem for string orchestra
  • November Steps for biwa, shakuhachi & orchestra
  • Far Calls, Coming, tar! for violin & orchestra
  • Visions for orchestra
  • Gémeaux or Oboe, Trombone, Two Orchestras & Two Conductors

Masashi Honma (oboe), Christian Lindberg (trombone)

  • Dream/Window
  • Spirit Garden

Performed by the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Hiroshi Wakasugi, and Ryusuke Numajiri

Because of his great interest in his own cultural and historical background, Takemitsu uses Japanese traditional instruments, for example the shakuhachi, a bamboo flute, which features heavily in ‘November Steps’. Indeed, this poetic music is a real blend of Eastern and Western ingredients, and it is interesting that he uses Western instruments in unusual and unexpected combinations.

These recordings have not been available in the West for quite some time and are supported by some excellent sleeve notes, written by the composer.

“Gemeaux” (1971-1986) is one of Takemitsu’s major works. It is written for two orchestras with two conductors, and with solo trombone at one orchestra and solo oboe at the other. As half of it was written during Takemitsu’s “modernist period” of the turn of the ’70s, we find a host of extended techniques, and at one point the soloists even speak through the mouthpieces of their instruments.

“Dream/Window” (1985) and “Spirit Garden” (1994) are among the most varied of Takemitsu’s late works.

Here is Toru Takemitsu’s Dream/Window (1984)




Tags: Toru Takemitsu, Dream/Window, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, Hiroshi Wakasugi, Ryusuke Numajiri

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *