Takemitsu’s career, like that of many a twentieth-century composer, took the form of an outward journey and an eventual homecoming. What’s notable is that along the way he rediscovered his identity as a Japanese artist, having initially rejected tradition out of disgust with the hyper-nationalism of imperial Japan. Above all, he prized the concept of ma--the "powerful silence," as he defined it, which is set in relief by a single, equally powerful sound. Most of his mature works begin with a tone materializing from silence, and end with a dematerialization toward silence again.
29 January 2007
Powerful Silence, Powerful Sound
Alex Ross on Toru Takemitsu: