Up now on Néojaponisme: Caleb Deupree's "Sound and Vision: Takemitsu's Corona", a leisurely tour of one of Takemitsu Tōru's most interesting but least obtainable scores. I've been a fan of Caleb's writing since discovering his blog and was delighted to get him on board for this.

[...] Takemitsu created ring graphics on separate sheets for five Studies: Articulation, Conversation, Expression, Intonation, and Vibration. In each graphic, there is a narrow band for the circle, and each one has its own distinctive ornamentation both inside and outside the circle. Each sheet is printed in different colors and is cut from the middle of one edge to the center of the circle, so that the sheets can be overlaid to create unique configurations for each performance. And each sheet has its own performance instructions (ironically, except Conversation, which has no instructions or annotations whatsoever) which direct the pianist to perform inside the piano and on the keyboard. The score for Corona for Pianists has been displayed in museums and is a high point of Takemitsu’s aleatoric music.

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J. Grybowski:

Interesting you should bring him up. The chorus I'm in is doing three pieces by him in a concert next weekend.


Really! Which pieces?

J. Grybowski:

Let's see...

First, there's 「翼」、then 「○と△の歌」(a song purely devoted to things circular and triangular... but not too complex musically), then 「死んだ男の残したものは」, which is also pretty straightforwardly minor. The first piece alone is a bit more involved in the harmonic structure, but I've forgotten most of the music theory I took in college, and can't really explain it. It, er... sounds major, but includes a lot of notes in the chords that don't jibe with major.

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