Jôji Yuasa: Works for Flute

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The uncompromising musical language of the Western avant-garde in the third quarter of the twentieth century found common ground on a number of occasions with the traditional musics of East Asia, where timbre might easily be a structural element susceptible to systematic treatment. This disc presents music by a Japanese composer, Joji Yuasa, who came of age participating in experimental music societies in his homeland at the height of the influence of Webern and his successors. The opening Reigaku was written as an homage to Korean composer Isang Yun. There are thus several forms of interaction between East Asian and Western traditions on display in this collection of sparse music for one or two flutes (or, in the case of Interpenetration II, two percussionists). The music is nevertheless of the abstract sort, composed generally without reference to a tonal center or other reference point easily identifiable to the general listener, and the booklet notes, in Japanese and English, are of help only intermittently -- it is hard to divine the sense of passages such as "I am convinced that Mr. Yun knew that the ritualistic activity proved what human being is, different from the other creature. This piece implies above meaning." Despite its Asian orientatino, the music is really for devotees of the Webern/Boulez phase of European composition -- although those versed in the music of those composers will find a distinctive take on their techniques here, and the introduction of a Japanese composer not widely known in the West is welcome.

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