Takemitsu: Litany; Piano Distance; Uninterrupted Rest; For Away; Rain Tree Sketches; Les yeux clos I & II

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COMPOSERS: Takemitsu
LABELS: RCA Victor Red Seal
WORKS: Litany; Piano Distance; Uninterrupted Rest; For Away; Rain Tree Sketches; Les yeux clos I & II
PERFORMER: Peter Serkin (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 09026 68595 2 ADD/DDD
Complete is complete, and Peter Serkin’s chronological survey of Takemitsu’s piano music exactly duplicates the BIS disc by Noriko Ogawa that I wrote about here in January. Serkin’s performances are a mixture of old and new, some of them recorded (in analogue) in the late Seventies and Eighties, others over the last three years, though his penetrating, crystalline tone is instantly recognisable whatever the vintage. His association with Takemitsu was a long-standing one, and his performances have a warmth and urgency that set them apart from Ogawa’s rather cooler, more restrained treatment, though both pianists are utterly sensitive to the music’s subtle nuances of colour and texture. Writing for the piano was never central to Takemitsu’s output; the early, rather Bergian pieces apart, they offer sidelights on his musical world, and either Serkin or Ogawa would provide a perfectly reliable guide. Andrew Clements

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