Friday, January 01, 2010

New year, new music, not so new recording


Toru Takemitsu's music is currently in the lacuna that obscures a composer's reputation for the two decades following their death, after which usually comes a major reappraisal. Given the current neglect of Takemitsu's oeuvre it is not surprising that his solo piano music is not heard very often often, despite Takemitsu being the posthumous recipient of the 1996 Glenn Gould Prize. (The previous recipient was Oscar Peterson). In the sleeve notes for the CD seen above pianist Paul Crossley says:
Toru Takemitsu's music for solo piano is some of the most distinctive, distinguished and best of the second half of the 20th century, and consistently represents him at his finest. That is, already saying a lot for his is a quite extraordinary and original oeuvre, a music that, above all, breathes differently.
Paul Crossley's account of Takemitsu's complete works for solo piano was recorded in 1999 for the GMN label and has now been reissued at mid-price (I paid £9.99) on the British CRD label. It is wonderful music winningly played by Paul Crossley and atmospherically captured by producer David Mottley, whose many other credits include Lutoslawski for EMI and Esa-Pekka Salonen for Sony.

This CD should be in every contemporary music collection. But why is its provenance as a reissue so well hidden? There is no recording date on the sleeve, although venue, producer and engineer are credited. CRD give 2009 for both production and copyright dates and there is no mention that the recording is licensed. The evocative sleeve photo of Crossley and Takemitsu together in Japan is correctly dated as 1990; CRD's new graphics for this reissue could date from then as well.

Nice present, shame about the wrapping. Piano music from another contemporary icon (literally) here.

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