Toru Takemitsu
Fallen Leaf Press, Berkeley, CA, 1995, English
Nonfiction, General
ISBN: 9780914913313

Although internationally recognized as a major 20th-century composer, Toru Takemitsu as an author is relatively unknown except to Japanese-speaking readers. Since 1960, he has written numerous essays and commentaries, most of which have been published in Japan. Confronting Silence is the first collection of his writings to be translated into English. For this volume, he has selected writings covering a wide range of subjects: art and artists, movies, his contemporaries, nature in all of its manifestations (a favorite topic), and, of course, music—traditional and contemporary, Eastern and Western, folk music, and his own compositions and approach to composing. Takemitsu’s desire to express thoughts in prose as well as music, not typical of Japanese composers until recently, is more frequently associated with 19th-century European composers. With little interest in program music, Takemitsu does not believe that words explain the essence of music. Words are important in his own compositional technique, however, and his interest in writing is certainly more than casual. Words stimulate his imagination and give rise literally to images that in turn activate his sensibilities in his search for sound, the real essence of music.

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Sou Fujimoto

The sketch of my concept for “musical notes without staves” (which I explore in my book Primitive Future) comes from Takemitsu’s work.


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