Toru Takemitsu

Riverrun for Piano and Orchestra (1984)/Waterways (1977)/Rain Coming

  • AllMusic Rating
    6
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Pointillistic, colorful tone poems for various instrumental ensembles with many new orchestral techniques. Composed in 1982, "Rain Coming" for chamber orchestra, commissioned by the London Sinfonietta, is part of the composer's Rain series "works that pass through various metamorphoses aiming at the sea of tonality, just like water which circulates in the universe" (Takemitsu). The whole piece grows out of the opening phrase on the alto flute with a musical sense and logic that is unique to the composer. The sounds are highly evocative of the sense of rain about to fall -- flutterings like the gentle breeze picking up, gentle bell sounds with high harmonics on the strings like that heightened sense of ozone in the air, or tiny drops just beginning to patter against harder surfaces. A romantic tone poem with a haiku-like spareness, a unique creation of a composer with the sensibility to make something poetic out of the advanced European tonal systems, rather than the usual agonised drama. For musicians, Takemitsu's use of constantly changing time signatures (for example, 13/32 to 4.5/8 to 2/8 to 2.5/8 on just one page of the score) to create orchestral gestures free from a constant pulse (the piece is also marked "rubato" throughout) is especially fascinating.