Japanese Classics - Takemitsu: Piano Music / Fukuma

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TAKEMITSU Romance. Lento in due movimenti. Uninterupted Rest. Piano Distance. For Away. Les yeus clos. Les yeux clos II. Rain Tree Sketch. Rain Tree Sketch...


TAKEMITSU Romance. Lento in due movimenti. Uninterupted Rest. Piano Distance. For Away. Les yeus clos. Les yeux clos II. Rain Tree Sketch. Rain Tree Sketch II. Piano Pieces for Children. Litany Kotaro Fukuma (pn) NAXOS 8.570261 (63:57)


Kotaro Fukuma (b. 1982) received high praise from Susan Kagan in Fanfare 29:2 for a program of Robert Schumann’s works; she called his technique “dazzling” and opined that his version of the Fantasiestücke “leaves nothing to be desired.” The piano music of Toru Takemitsu would seem to require a total reconsideration of touch and temperament, but Fukuma rises to the challenge. He’s certainly capable of phrasing with delicacy, as the opening of Les yeux clos II reveals, with the addition of a biting modernity to the gestures of Piano Distance and a sharp, pointed attack in Uninterrupted Rest . Even so, he continually highlights the lyrical nature of the music, not by emphasizing its flowing qualities, as does Kumi Ogano (Philips—see Fanfare 16:3), or its contemplative breadth, per Roger Woodward (Etcetera), but through a thoughtful balance of dramatic detail and atmospheric resonance. And though his Litany may lack the warmth and sensitivity of that of Peter Serkin (RCA—see Fanfare 20:3), it reinforces Takemitsu’s connection with Debussy.


Another advantage to this disc is its completeness—which is not to say it is complete. Fukuma omits realizations of Takemitsu’s two graphic scores, Corona and Crossing , as does everyone else except for Woodward, who’s recorded them twice (Etcetera and Explore). But Fukuma does include several previously overlooked or rejected pieces—a pair of charming, songlike, albeit ordinary miniatures for children; Lento in due movimenti , the unedited original version of Litany ; and, most interestingly, a Romance from 1949, the composer’s earliest surviving piano work, which combines Japanese modes, elements of Impressionism, and a brusque urgency unheard in his later music. Given the fact that both the Serkin and Woodward discs are not presently available, Fukuma deserves strong consideration for both the quality of his playing and the opportunity to hear these rare pieces.


FANFARE: Art Lange


Product Description:


  • Release Date: September 25, 2007


  • UPC: 747313026173


  • Catalog Number: 8570261


  • Label: Naxos


  • Number of Discs: 1


  • Composer: Toru Takemitsu


  • Performer: Kotaro Fukuma