Search ACA


At a Glance

Online 30'
Past 24h

Toru Takemitsu - Between Tides


A useful survey of Takemitsu’s delicately‚ distinctly perfumed music‚ satisfyingly played

Between Tides is one of the last pieces that Toru Takemitsu (1930–1996) based on water imagery, an important feature of his music throughout his career. Rhythmically undulating phrases suggest the movement of tides and lend an improvisatory and narrative feel to the work. The harmonic language of the composition seems to draw from a stunning blend of influences, including neo-Romantic tertian harmonies and more complex sonorities reminiscent of Duke Ellington or French composer Olivier Messiaen, two prime influences on Takemitsu's music.

Toru_Takemitsu_09 Toru_Takemitsu_01

This disc takes a chronological path from one of Takemitsu’s earliest compositions‚ the Romance for piano (1948­49)‚ to Between Tides‚ a substantial work for piano trio (1993). The Fujita sisters‚ whose début CD this appears to be‚ have been given a very good recording – sonorous‚ and effectively balancing the three disparate instruments‚ with no hint of artificiality. Occasionally I wondered whether the players might not be responding too cautiously to the music’s constraints‚ emphasising its ‘timelessness’ rather than attempting to sustain its tensions and intensify its expressiveness‚ at least in the longer pieces. But it’s arguable that highlighting local understatement‚ while not downgrading the occasional moments of drama‚ goes to the heart of Takemitsu’s distinctive compositional style.

The chronological sequence makes it easy to trace the composer’s progress from his early French models (there’s even a hint of Fauré in Distance de fée) to the more genuinely contemp­orary world of Hika‚ a short piece for cello and piano from 1966. The greater density of Takemitsu’s mature harmonic language pays particular dividends in another cello/piano work‚ Orion (1984)‚ and also in Litany for piano (1989)‚ though this is a reworking of a much earlier score. Litany’s sense of a solemn yet openly emotional ceremony is carried over into the most recent work included‚ Between the Tides‚ in which the eternal motion of the sea is evoked through contrasts between surging eloquence and calming restraint. I wouldn’t claim that Megumi Fujita’s performances of the solo piano pieces are superior to those of Noriko Ogawa or Peter Serkin on their all­Takemitsu solo discs‚ but they are very satisfying‚ and the particular mix of ensemble and solo pieces on this new ASV release helps to make it a valuable and recommendable issue.


Record and Artist Details

Composer or Director: Toru Takemitsu
Label: ASV
Magazine Review Date: 10/2001
Media Format: CD or Download
Media Runtime: 72
Catalogue Number: CD DCA 1120

Review at


Discogs release: Toru Takemitsu, Fujita Piano Trio - Between Tides And Other Chamber Music

(C) ACA - All Rights Reserved
powered by zoglair
page generated in 107ms (20 queries, 70ms)