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For Away -- Toru Takemitsu #2743608
06/11/18 09:10 AM
06/11/18 09:10 AM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 2,008
T
Tim Adrianson Offline OP
2000 Post Club Member
Tim Adrianson  Offline OP
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T

Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 2,008
Toru Takemitsu -- For Away

Toru Takemitsu was one of the first Japanese composers to attain international renown. Paulus's debt to Debussy is I would say implied in the nature of the Suite, but Takemitsu explicitly declared his indebtedness to Debussy as a primary influence. The piece "For Away" was written in 1973 in Tokyo. Regarding the title, Takemitsu himself explains it:

"To be sure, the title 'For Away' is a strange one. While it is a personal gift of mine to [pianist] Roger Woodward, it is at the same time my extolment and offering to the Galaxy of Life -- a galaxy that is not the sole domain of mankind."

To my ear, the piece gravitates throughout to the whole-tone scale -- one of Debussy's signature accomplishments. I would say that the structure is A - B - C - B - A. The "A" section starts with simple tritones, but eventually extends to the outer ranges of the keyboard. The "B" sections are varied permutations around a single tone, although that tone shifts as the section is developed. The "C" section is a gradual upward ascent to an ecstatic Messiaen-like declamation, before "descending'" back to B and A, completing the cycle.

It took me a long time to "get the juice" of this piece, but I have grown to love and respect it -- it's just very beautiful to me, in all ways. Any and all feedback is welcome.

Re: For Away -- Toru Takemitsu [Re: Tim Adrianson] #2743613
06/11/18 10:19 AM
06/11/18 10:19 AM
Joined: Dec 2013
Posts: 360
Switzerland
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Tony007 Offline
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Tony007  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2013
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Switzerland
Hi Tim Adrianson!

I don't know this music, I didn't have any score on my lap while listening, I just enjoyed diving into a mysterious world of sounds!

As far as I can judge about it, you do an excellent job and have found the right way how to approach Takemitsu's universe.... It's not easy at all to keep a certain tension when there is no constant development of the themes and motives, but you were able to do so!

Re: For Away -- Toru Takemitsu [Re: Tim Adrianson] #2743762
06/11/18 10:12 PM
06/11/18 10:12 PM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 9,022
Phoenix, Arizona
Carey Offline
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Carey  Offline
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Joined: May 2005
Posts: 9,022
Phoenix, Arizona
It is beautiful - and you play it quite convincingly.

How is the piece notated? Are there bar lines, pedal and dynamic markings? I'd love to see the score. smile


Mason and Hamlin BB - 91640
Kawai K-500 Upright
Kawai CA-65 Digital
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo
Re: For Away -- Toru Takemitsu [Re: Carey] #2743891
06/12/18 12:16 PM
06/12/18 12:16 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 2,008
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Tim Adrianson Offline OP
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Tim Adrianson  Offline OP
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Joined: Aug 2010
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Hi, Carey, Felix -- thanks for listening!

Carey, I checked YouTube, and there is a Japanese posting which provides a scrolling score with the music. The pianist is Roger Woodward himself. Bluntly put, his performance is what I consider THE definitive recording of this piece -- by contrast, I didn't care too much for Peter Serkin's approach. And if you bring that one up, you'll see that Takemitsu's directives are quite precise in every way -- in fact, he specifically indicated that three pedals would be needed, and tells you exactly when and how long they are to be used. In a sense, he's channeling later Debussy, who also was unusually precise and detailed in his directives for his solo piano music.

Re: For Away -- Toru Takemitsu [Re: Tim Adrianson] #2744006
06/12/18 09:17 PM
06/12/18 09:17 PM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 9,022
Phoenix, Arizona
Carey Offline
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Carey  Offline
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Joined: May 2005
Posts: 9,022
Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted by Tim Adrianson

Carey, I checked YouTube, and there is a Japanese posting which provides a scrolling score with the music. The pianist is Roger Woodward himself. Bluntly put, his performance is what I consider THE definitive recording of this piece -- by contrast, I didn't care too much for Peter Serkin's approach. And if you bring that one up, you'll see that Takemitsu's directives are quite precise in every way -- in fact, he specifically indicated that three pedals would be needed, and tells you exactly when and how long they are to be used. In a sense, he's channeling later Debussy, who also was unusually precise and detailed in his directives for his solo piano music.

Thanks for the tip. Found the Japanese video!! Fascinating !!! Woodward is amazing. Kudos to you for your diligence in learning and recording the piece.. thumb


Mason and Hamlin BB - 91640
Kawai K-500 Upright
Kawai CA-65 Digital
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo
Re: For Away -- Toru Takemitsu [Re: Tim Adrianson] #2744012
06/12/18 09:52 PM
06/12/18 09:52 PM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 9,022
Phoenix, Arizona
Carey Offline
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Carey  Offline
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Joined: May 2005
Posts: 9,022
Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted by Tim Adrianson
... by contrast, I didn't care too much for Peter Serkin's approach.


Tim - Funny you should mention Serkin. One of my most vivid concert going experiences was back in 1970 when I heard Serkin and Benny Goodman in a benefit concert in NYC.

Together they played the two Brahms clarinet sonatas Opus 120, and in the middle of the program Serkin performed what seemed like an interminable number of short pieces by John Cage. Amazingly, I just found the review for that same concert on line. Haven't read it in 48 years.
____________________________________________________

New York Times
Piano, Clarinet Blend in Benefit
Donald Henahan - May 7, 1970

They made an incongruous pair last night at Alice Tully Hall, each in flight from his past but coming together momentarily like conjoining stars. Benny Goodman, gray and distinguished‐looking in black tie and dinner jacket, could have been mistaken for—what did they used to call it, again?—a longhair? And Peter Serkin, scion of the Serkins, in long, white maharishi tunic and shoulder‐length tresses, could have been taken for—what do they call it?—a hippie?

The two unconventional artists, alike in their desire to break out of their assigned life styles, collaborated in a program of Brahms and John Cage, as a benefit for the Manhattan School of Music. As it developed, it was the Cage, a selection of his “Sonatas and Interludes” for prepared piano, that made the evening most worthwhile. Mr. Serkin, bypassing the temptation to play these solo pieces only for their undeniable piquancy, made serious sense of their toy‐piano, cimbalon, music‐box sounds.

The pianist's effort to freeze time with these repetitive, jingling, jangling little works succeeded for this listener, but many in the benefit audience plainly were unprepared to take so much prepared piano in one gulp, and began to fidget after about a dozen selections. Their loss.

With Mr. Goodman, the pianist teamed up on the Brahms Sonatas Nos. 1 and 2 (Op. 120), works sometimes heard with viola in place of the clarinet. Mr. Goodman's performances were suave of tone, and ingratiating for their lack of heaviness and pomp. But these virtues were overbalanced too often by slurred and sugary phrasing, intrusive dynamic subtleties, and a surprising (considering the source) lack of rhythmic energy.
_______________________________________________________

What the reviewer failed to report was that Serkin was reading the Cage pieces from a large score laid flat on the piano desk. Between each selection he'd take time to flip through the score - as if trying to decide which piece to play next. This went on about 15 times. The audience started losing it around the 10th, and would start clapping softly as each piece ended hoping that Serkin would get the message. But no - he just glared at them, continued to flip the pages, and play the next piece. Certainly not a good way to win folks over to contemporary music !!!! ha

As for Goodman, the clarinet he was playing that evening was donated to the Smithsonian, and is now on loan to the Musical Instrument Museum here in Phoenix where I volunteer.


Mason and Hamlin BB - 91640
Kawai K-500 Upright
Kawai CA-65 Digital
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo
Re: For Away -- Toru Takemitsu [Re: Carey] #2744225
06/13/18 07:06 PM
06/13/18 07:06 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 2,008
T
Tim Adrianson Offline OP
2000 Post Club Member
Tim Adrianson  Offline OP
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Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 2,008
Hi, Carey -- Peter Serkin was here in Madison WI 4 or 5 years back for a solo recital. The first half were contemporary pieces of Oliver Knussen, Charles Wuorinen, and the Takemitsu piece above; the second half were the Diabelli Variations of Beethoven. Yes, he did have a reputation for a personality as thorny as the music he programmed -- he apparently did not suffer fools gladly! Personally, I like the Cage Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano very much; in those days, Cage was doing what I consider legitimate composition, as opposed to his later efforts deconstructing the very principles of that craft.

Re: For Away -- Toru Takemitsu [Re: Tim Adrianson] #2744256
06/13/18 09:11 PM
06/13/18 09:11 PM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 9,022
Phoenix, Arizona
Carey Offline
9000 Post Club Member
Carey  Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2005
Posts: 9,022
Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted by Tim Adrianson
Hi, Carey -- Peter Serkin was here in Madison WI 4 or 5 years back for a solo recital. The first half were contemporary pieces of Oliver Knussen, Charles Wuorinen, and the Takemitsu piece above; the second half were the Diabelli Variations of Beethoven. Yes, he did have a reputation for a personality as thorny as the music he programmed -- he apparently did not suffer fools gladly!
Quite true !! I had the opportunity to speak briefly with him when he (as a member of the Tashi Quartet along with Clarinetist Richard Stoltzman) gave a concert in Lincoln Nebraska in 1976. I told him how much I'd enjoyed his (1973) recording of Messaien's "Visions of the Amen" and then made the mistake of mentioning that I had recently performed that same work in Lincoln with another pianist. He just stared at me. So I mumbled something polite and walked away. Perhaps Serkin was surprised that someone in Nebraska had even heard of the Messaien. ha
Quote
Personally, I like the Cage Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano very much; in those days, Cage was doing what I consider legitimate composition, as opposed to his later efforts deconstructing the very principles of that craft.
The Cage pieces Serkin performed in the NY recital were indeed legitimate compositions, and he played them extremely well. However, it was difficult for the general audience drawn to the benefit recital primarily by the star power of Benny Goodman to listen to so many of them in one sitting. smile

Last edited by Carey; 06/13/18 09:19 PM.

Mason and Hamlin BB - 91640
Kawai K-500 Upright
Kawai CA-65 Digital
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo

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