Takemitsu: A Flock Descends Into Pentagonal / Spirit Garden / Dreamtime Reviews

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Takemitsu: A Flock Descends Into Pentagonal / Spirit Garden / Dreamtime Reviews

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Takemitsu: A Flock Descends Into Pentagonal / Spirit Garden / Dreamtime

Takemitsu: A Flock Descends Into Pentagonal / Spirit Garden / Dreamtime

Now regarded as one of the most important composers of the second half of the twentieth century, Toru Takemitsu was the first Japanese composer to gain international status. The works on this disc cover Takemitsu’ career from the early Solitude Sonore toExotic without seeming alien, soothing without being dull, and harmonically rich, the music of Toru Takemitsu has the feel of Debussy, with some sonorities of Messiaen for good measure. The dreamy quality and artful colors Takemitsu gets from an

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6 Comments

Erik Homenick

June 10, 2016 at 10:39 am
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
Mysteries, dreams and challenges., July 29, 2006
By 
Erik Homenick (San Diego, California) –
(REAL NAME)
  

This review is from: Takemitsu: A Flock Descends Into Pentagonal / Spirit Garden / Dreamtime (Audio CD)
I must admit upfront, I do not usually care much for abstract, avant-garde, atonal music. Thus, the works of Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu have always posed something of a challenge for me. I am a big fan of Japanese composers, but Takemitsu’s art has always eluded and frustrated me. So, I was a bit reluctant when I purchased this latest release in Naxos’ JAPANESE CLASSICS series, but, strangely enough, I may be on the road to appreciating Takemitsu-sensei after all.

Written just before his death in 1996, Takemitsu’s SPIRIT GARDEN opens the disc. This work is full of the mystery and suspense this composer is known for, and this piece is actually quite evocative. Using 12-note-row techniques, SPIRIT GARDEN comes to life with orchestral colors that seem to wax and wane, as if projected through a prism. While certainly not melodic in a traditional sense, the music here is quite engrossing and, while listening, I am somehow reminded of a traditional Japanese garden, but filled with ghosts and shrouded in fog.

The earliest work on this disc was written in 1958 and has the title SOLITUDE SONORE. Much like SPIRIT GARDEN, this is a colorful work, but lacks traditional melody. This is a slightly darker work in its texture, but actually sounds a lot like SPIRIT GARDEN.

Takemitsu composed several films scores during his career, and the next three tracks are excerpts from those. MUSIC OF TRAINING AND REST from JOSE TORRES has a jazzy, somewhat light-hearted feel. FUNERAL MUSIC from BLACK RAIN is darker in mood, and the WALTZ from FACE OF ANOTHER is sardonically sinister.

DREAMTIME is partially based on the “Dreamtime” creation myths of the Australian aboriginals. Again, this is atonal, abstract music that truly flows and “sounds” like a dream.

A FLOCK DESCENDS INTO THE PENTAGONAL GARDEN, Takemitsu’s most performed work, rounds off this recording. In this composition, more of the composer’s trademark “floating sounds” can be heard, interspersed with moments of pure silence as well as dramatic crescendos from the brass and strings. Once more, this is music of mood and color, not of melody.

There is no debating that Takemitsu was a very creative man, but his musical artistry in not easily accessible. One cannot enjoy this music in the same way one enjoys a Strauss waltz or a Rossini overture. Takemitsu requires a commitment from the listener; that is to say, one must really LISTEN to get anything out of the music.

While I personally do not enjoy Takemitsu’s style as much as other composers, his music does have a fascinating uniqueness that is often profound, if a little demanding. This is not a recording I will listen to often, but when I do, I suspect I will be in the right mood and willing to surrender to the composer’s challenging yet vivid sounds.

The conductor Marin Alsop and her Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra certainly understand this music well and perform it with the utmost reverence and determination. I cannot imagine that these easy pieces to perform convincingly, but Alsop and company do so quite successfully. The sound, as is usually the case with Naxos, is stellar.

Recommended for those with a little patience and who are willing to try something well out of the ordinary.

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Christopher Culver

June 10, 2016 at 11:25 am
18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars
The blandness of the late orchestral Takemitsu is countered by a couple of intriguing works, January 20, 2007
By 
Christopher Culver (Cluj-Napoca, Romania or Helsinki, Finland) –

This review is from: Takemitsu: A Flock Descends Into Pentagonal / Spirit Garden / Dreamtime (Audio CD)
This Naxos disc is the second to feature a programme consisting entirely of works by the Japanese composer (1930-1996). While the first release concentrated on late chamber works, this one presents mainly late orchestral works, performed by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra conducted by Marin Alsop. Unfortunately, as Takemitsu’s late orchestral works are generally stale and repetitive, with the exception of a mere handful, I can’t rate this so highly.

“Solitude Sonore” (1958) is the earliest piece here, from Takemitsu’s first period. Its sweeping strings are reminiscent of the “Requiem” of the same era, the composer’s first big hit. However, it adds several impressive innovations, such as the use of bells, and occasionally sinister dissonances on low brass.

“A Flock Descends into the Pentagonal Garden” (1977) is a single-movement work that may be seen as the first piece of the “late Takemitsu”, where he entirely leaves behind the avant-garde style of the late ’60s and early ’70s, embarking on that “sea of tonality” that was to last for the rest of his life. Like “Quatrain”, it too is based around a single number, in this case five. Takemitsu says that he dreamed of a flock of white birds entered a pentagonal garden lead by one black bird, and this inspired him to create one of the most strictly serialised pieces of his career. It begins with a pentatonic scale, as if only the black keys of the piano were used, and eventually the seven “white notes” join it.

As for whether the piece is enjoyable without doting on its formal scheme, I’m uncertain. The problem is not that it sounds rigorous and mathematical–Takemitsu was a master of writing twelve-tone works that sound gentle and calm–but rather that it doesn’t differentiate itself much from other works. Takemitsu’s late pieces tend to all sound the same, and even those who have championed his music, such as Oliver Knussen, admit that they all seem cut from the same general roll. While some late works such as “Dream/Window” and the percussion concerto “From me flows what you call Time” stand out as sure masterpieces, “A Flock Descends…” has little to recommend it outside of some occasional use of aggressive percussion, a violence generally absent from later work.

“Dreamtime” (1981) continues this trend, and is representative of the dull aesthetic Takemitsu settled into. There are subtle variations in rhythm here–the work was originally written for staged choreography, and while it may work with the visual element, it’s entirely unexciting on its own.

“Spirit Garden” (1994), one of Takemitsu’s last works, is one of many which allude to gardens in their titles. Here the title hints at the organic derivation of all music from a series of twelve-tone chords. There is again the late Takemitsu’s interest in timbres, but look! there’s even some drama, and the use of faster tempos. It’s not enough to make this a must-hear piece, but it does pull the disc up to three stars.

The cycle “Three Film Scores for String Orchestra” (1994/95) consists of a scene each from Takemitsu’s music for “Jose Torres” (1959), “Black Rain” (1989), and “Face of Another” (1966). The first two are fairly unexciting string landscapes, but the third is a waltz, and it is interesting to see how Takemitsu dealt with this classical-era form, for Maurice Jarre-like simplicity is subtely cut across with rogue strings.

The liner notes here are fairly substantial for a Naxos disc, but still all . Fans of the composer would do well to seek out Peter Burt’s THE MUSIC OF TORU TAKEMITSU (Cambridge University Press, paperback 2006).

For neophytes: even though this is a budget recording, don’t let this be your introduction to Takemitsu. The other Naxos disc, with chamber works, serves well, but for fans of substantial modern repertoire, the Deutsche Grammophon discs QUOTATION OF DREAM and GARDEN RAIN are better. Come to this only if you are a collector of his works.

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J. McCarthy

June 10, 2016 at 12:06 pm
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
A Musical and Moving Dream, March 12, 2007
By 
J. McCarthy
(REAL NAME)
  

Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: Takemitsu: A Flock Descends Into Pentagonal / Spirit Garden / Dreamtime (Audio CD)
The music on this CD is even more breathtaking than I had anticipated.

I highly recommend it to anyone who likes classical music, and particularly appreciates music that is not easily classifiable. This is music that is often discordant, and the silences are as important as the musical refrains.

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D. T.

June 10, 2016 at 12:16 pm
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Fantastic! I’m currently using mine to store all of …, February 5, 2015
By 
D. T.

This review is from: Busy Life Premium Trunk Organizer – Great Cargo Storage Container for Car Truck or SUV – Best Car Organizer for all Cargo – Sturdy Construction and Collapsable Design – Enhance Your Travel Experience Today (Automotive)
Fantastic! I’m currently using mine to store all of my emergency road supplies and also to help carry in the groceries. My building has the world’s slowest elevator and it sure beats the heck out of cutting my fingers on plastic bags!

I definitely recommend this organizer for anyone with a minivan or SUV. I’ve put as much as 30 pounds in and the sides and bottom are VERY solid!

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Naomi Wade

June 10, 2016 at 12:53 pm
30 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Perfect solution for groceries, toys or emergency items, July 12, 2015
By 
Naomi Wade (Louisiana) –

This review is from: Busy Life Premium Trunk Organizer – Great Cargo Storage Container for Car Truck or SUV – Best Car Organizer for all Cargo – Sturdy Construction and Collapsable Design – Enhance Your Travel Experience Today (Automotive)
I have been dying to try one of these organizers out since I have a van, 4 boys and always on the go. There is always something rolling around in the back and when you stop it sounds like that something might explode or break a windshield at times so I finally purchased the Premium Trunk Organizer. I can’t believe I have waited so long to buy one because it immediately helped me out.

The organizer comes ready to go. It stores flat with clips that keep it together and you just unclip them to open the organizer up. There is a piece that is removable on the inside that attaches with Velcro and can make another slot to store items if needed. The organizer itself is very large and black in color with white accents. There are 2 large compartments and a smaller one if needed to make 3. On both of the longer sides of the organizer there are 4 mesh netting pockets to allow for smaller items. There are handles located on both ends to make it easy to carry.

Very lightweight and easy to clean. Wipes clean with a wet cloth.
Flexible so does not tear easily and stands up on its own. Has reinforced bars on the bottom and can hold up to 65 lbs.

I was able to use the trunk organizer for the 4th of July when we had a BBQ at a local park. There was enough room to fit all of my paper products and snacks plus a few extras like towels. It was loaded full and I was still able to carry the organizer with ease. Plus, when I unloaded everything I was able to fold it up to its storage size to gain extra space while not in use.

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qwe

June 10, 2016 at 12:57 pm
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
Wonderful trunk organizer, September 1, 2015
By 
qwe (Seattle, WA United States) –

Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: Busy Life Premium Trunk Organizer – Great Cargo Storage Container for Car Truck or SUV – Best Car Organizer for all Cargo – Sturdy Construction and Collapsable Design – Enhance Your Travel Experience Today (Automotive)
As an on-call IT support agent, I always need storage space in my car – I use this organizer in the backseat of my car to separate things such as groceries, computer parts, and miscellaneous supplies such as cords, etc.

This organizer keeps everything I put in it nice and tidy as well as keeps the items I need separated from getting mixed in with other things so that it doesn’t become a disorganized mess that I have to rummage through later.

The only thing that I’m a bit disappointed about, with this organizer, is that it doesn’t have a second “floor panel” that I can use to keep the second compartment in a sturdy shape ( I’ve already used the one included floor panel to make the first compartment a sturdy shape).

Overall, I really like this organizer and would definitely recommend it for people who need organized storage space in their car.

UPDATE – 9/12/15: The company sent me a replacement floor panel within seven days of me writing my original review, now that’s what I call quality service.

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