Toru Takemitsu’s work is reverie in sound. His pieces invite us to drop our things and step through his window into a world of musical frolicking and astonishment. Takemitsu was not bound to the conventions of composing and even bedazzled and impressed such notable of his contemporary composers as Olivier Messiaen. This collection is no exception. “Legacy for the Future (Mirai Eno Isan),” was the name of a Japanese miniseries for which Takemitsu was commissioned to compose the music. This was a first of its kind for Japanese television as it was the premiere miniseries made in Japan. “Why civilizations flourished and declined,” was the topic of the series and upon listening, having Takemitsu express these mysteries quickly becomes clear.
Each time I listen, it takes me to some fantastical setting that harkens to a timeless sense of awe and obscurity. As if traveling by boat, I find myself passing by remote landscapes known only by those of that era and the distant past lives once more in my mind’s eye. In this particular collection, Takemitsu subtly infuses the likes of old and new instrumentation as both electronic synthesizers and the ancient instruments of Gagaku can be heard on occasion throughout. Gagaku is ancient Japanese court music that was at its prime in the 7th – 11th centuries. It’s like nothing else on this Earth and somehow Takemitsu’s work displays an essence of the Japanese sound in his own work that remains true to these primeval elements of this island country.
If you are in need of juxtaposing your present with an unknowable past, or future, I invite you to pause your day and swim through Toru Takemitu’s river of unknowable time. It may relieve you of questions and unveil the true clockwork of time.
“Legacy of the Future”
Manzairaku, Bugaku (Gagaku) – part 2 of 3
The beautiful artwork and liner notes of this collection.