Flutist Eberhard Blum has made few solo recordings; that he should make an album entirely comprised of the works of Japanese composers is quite remarkable. Many of the works here are transcriptions for flute from shakuhachi. Among the composers whose works are performed are Toru Takemitsu, Takehito Shimazu, Toshio Hosokawa, Yoritsune Matsudaira, Yoriaki Matsudaira, and Makoto Shinohara -- not in that order. In fact, Blum's approach is completely chronological, beginning with the Matsudairas and moving all the way down to Hosokawa's work, which was discovered at a later date. Also notable about Mr. Blum's presentation -- besides his flawless tonalities and techniques -- is how he uses music that was originally influenced by gagaku court music and moves it through the era in which it was composed into the modern epoch without altering so much as a timbral space. There is intent in this music -- composed in a way that was meant to endure -- and Blum's wonderfully warm, rich, and sonorous readings bring that notion forward and perhaps even project it further. Most notable are the works by Takemitsu for their lilting, forlorn melodies and the deep monastic sonorities and chant-like cadences of Yoriaki Matsudaira.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek