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Toru Takemitsu - "Signals from Heaven"

Our November 4th concert will feature Toru Takemitu's Signals from Heaven. The piece consists of two antiphonal fanfares for brass instruments in two groups, the overall instrumentation being 4 hns, 5 tpts (1 picc.), 4 tbns, 1 tba.

Toru Takemitsu, (1930 – 1996) was a Japanese composer and writer on aesthetics and music theory. Among many of his attributes as a composer, was his orchestration and ability to create varying timbral colors. Throughout his career his influences included jazz, popular music, avant garde procedures and traditional Japanese music. He also identified many composers that he drew influence from, including Claude Debussy, Olivier Messiaen, Anton Webern, Edgard Varèse, and Arnold Schoenberg.

Of these it can be argued that Messiaen was of a more important influence, as during the early- middle part of his career Takemitsu began to rely heavily upon nature and color as his aesthetic developed, much like Messiaen. John Cage acknowledges: "I can well imagine Toru Takemitsu traveling through Japan, not to capture different aspects of the moon, but let’s say to experience the wind whistling through different trees, and returning to the city with a gift. This gift consists of the transformation of nature into art." and of Messiaen, Takemitsu stated, "truly, he was my spiritual mentor ... Among the many things I learned from his music, the concept and experience of color and the form of time will be unforgettable."

Here are recordings of Takemitsu's Day Signal and Night Signal.

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