Saturday, November 26, 2016

Film Music of Toru Takemitsu - 7 CD Box Set - 武満徹映画音楽 - Various artists, Orchestras and Ensembles - Victor Entertainment Japan, 2006

These are probably the rarest Takemitsu recordings around. Toru Takemitsu composed music for at least 70 films (I have read that it's actually around 90 but I haven't researched this) and the music can be exceptionally wide-ranging: traditional Japanese soloists and ensembles, Western classical tradition, avant-garde and everything in between (jazzy lounge and space age music, anyone?) I feel that some of his best film scores are those which have his delicate Debussian touches combined with traditional Asian music and soloists. The employment of the koto, biwa and shakuhachi is particularly effective. I cannot think of any other composers who have explored so many genres within their film score discography. This boxed set is such a precious gem collection and an immense pleasure for any Takemitsu fan. A comprehensive boxed survey of the great Takemitsu's film music would be an ambitious undertaking to say the very least - and I'd guess that it would take the world record for the only recorded collection that would be physically impossible to lift in one go ;)    And yes, I know about the "complete" Bach recordings I came close to buying them once..

One film composition that I am especially fond of (unfortunately it's not included in this collection) is Takemitsu's delicate and ethereal score to Kihachiro Kawamoto's "House of Flame", which is a wondrous stop-motion animation work by the brilliant filmmaker and animator Kihachiro Kawamoto. Kawamoto uses three-dimensional puppets and flat paper figures in combination with various background effects, such as drawn animation and multi-plane layering and the effect is stunning. I urge anyone interested to get the dvd "The Exquisite Short Films of Kihachiro Kawamoto" which for me is magical viewing and one of my favorite animation dvds. 

I checked youtube to see if Takemitsu's score for House of Flame has been shared as a performance however it is the short film (19 mins) itself by Kawamoto that is posted. Unfortunately the video as uploaded here has Russian subtitles which will make it impossible to follow the story for most audiences. The "original" has English subtitles and thus one would have to save the file and hope to locate a .srt subtitle file on the 'net someplace. If you don't mind the titles, needless to say the score and visuals make up for it. The audio quality is ok. If you care to check it out:

Disc 7 is unnumbered

The actual boxed set:

Disc(s)/Tracks info (almost all of the texts in this set are in Japanese):

Disc one: Directed by Masaki Kobayashi

1-1 Kwaidan/Ghost Stories
1-2 Harakiri
1-3 Glowing Autumn
1-4 The Inheritance
1-5 Hymn to a Tired Man
1-6 The Fossil

Dusc 2: Directed by Masahiro Shinoda

2-1 The Petrified Forest
2-2 Silence
2-3 With Beauty & Sorrow
2-4 The Assassin
2-5 Samurai Spy
2-6 Ballad of Orin
2-7 Clouds at Sunset

Disc 3: Directed by Nagisa Oshima/Susumu Hani

3-1 Empire of Passion
3-2 The Man Who Left His Will on Film
3-3 Dear Summer Sister
3-4 The Ceremony
3-5 Bad Boys
3-6 A Full Life

Disc 4: Directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara

4-1 The Face of Another
4-2 Summer Soliders
4-3 Pitfall
4-4 Shiroi asa
4-5 Woman in the Dunes
4-6 Jose Torres
4-7 The Ruined Map
4-8 Rikyu

Disc 5: Directed by Akira Kurosawa, Toichiro Narushima, Shiro Toyoda, Mikio Naruse, Shohei Imamura

5-1 Dodesukaden
5-2 Time Within Memory
5-3 Illusion of Blood
5-4 Scattered Clouds
5-5 Black Rain

Disc 6: Directed by Kon Ichikawa, Noboru Nakamura, Hideo Onchi

6-1 Kyoto
6-2 Alone on the Pacific
6-3 Twin Sisters of Kyoto
6-4 Nijuissai no chichi
6-5 The Kii River
6-6 Once a Rainy Day
6-7 The Call of Flesh
6-8 Wonderful Bad Woman
6-9 Shiawase

Disc 7: Bonus Disc

7-1 Beast Alley (Eizo Sugawa)
7-2 Saigo no shinpan (Hiromichi Horikawa)
7-3 Sabita en (Masahisa Sadanaga)
7-4 Under the Blossoming Cherry Trees (Masahiro Shinoda)
7-5 to 7-17 Conversation with Toru Takemitsu  -Entirely in Japanese :(

Booklet notes (majority is in Japanese):

Enjoy everyone!!


Anonymous said...

Wow, nice! I love Takemitsu's music - such a gorgeous melding of European and Asian elements. Thanks very much for this, I know I'm going to enjoy it.

Edward said...


nhac giaohuong said...

Very nice ! You're my HERO

Scraps said...


Johannes R. Becher said...

One of your still as of 2016 unopened gems, I guess :D

Pia said...

Amazing, thank you!!

La Danse de Puck said...

Amazingly wonderful to find this here.... !!! I've always been a fan of his Film Music especially. As I write to you, I see below works by Theodorakis: one of my beloved rebels from my youth... Heard him here live in Buenos Aires with Maria Farantouri back in 1972 or 71.... He came two years running... LOVE YOUUUU!!!

Tzadik said...

-Again THANK YOU to everyone who has left comments over the last few weeks - I am just short on time and only just had time to answer 3 comments. I WILL reply to everyone soon! Your input is why I bother and continuously know that sharing the love is appreciated!

Anon, Pia, Johannes, my dear Scraps, nhac, Edward....thank you all! To be redundant I will be back for individual replies soon..

-Quickly...La Danse de Puck... thank you :-)


Anonymous said...


ScottJ said...

I have been looking for this set for YEARS. I don't even know how to thank you enough! Happy holidays!

Tzadik said...

Hello Scott! How to thank me......well you did it perfectly by taking a moment to comment! It's so damn rewarding and exciting when one finally gets their hands (or just ears) on music that that's been but a yearning for ages. This is a great set imo!



Tzadik said...

Anon thank you for your appreciation. Yes, Takemitsu does for me, everything right. Happy you agree. East meets West and with a certain elegance that is all the composer's own..


Tzadik said...

Enjoy it all Edward! Thx for your comment


Tzadik said...

Hello dear friend nhac! Nice to hear from you :) -What is that picture you use for your google ID from? Is it a Vietnamese sci-fi film? Or.......I have NO idea what ;)


Tzadik said...

Hooray it's Scraps! I hope you are feeling decent - that body of yours giving you a bit of a break (as opposed to breaking you down!) from all of the pains..

Talk soon I hope,


Tzadik said...

Ha, no Johannes, it's a gem indeed but not an unopened one; I haven't owned a scanner in years so all of the photos of the box I was lucky enough to find online! Have you given a good listen to the set? What do you think? (I'm imagining that you will be saying 'uneven' - and with explanation I hope ;)


Tzadik said...

Thank you Pia for commenting! I know it's amazing on this end :)

-Stay warm


Tzadik said...

Hey La Danse de Puck! I think you once asked me if I had any Theodorakis? I have several others but wow is there a lot I wish I could get/find!! I'm hoping this disc is new to you? I assume it is.. What did you think of "Raven"? I find it to be absolutely breath-taking.

-Would be really cool if you had a recording somehow from that 1970s concert. I won't keep my hopes up it is rather unlikely!

Oh, I happen to love you too ;D


Tzadik said...

Anon #2 enjoy it!


YiannisK said...

I don't know how to thank you for this treasure.
It is unbelievable.

Tzadik said...

YiannisK my friend, you just did, and more than satisfactorily :-) I am grateful to receive your comment - friendly communication and thoughts by visitors here, real admirers of great music - that's what makes me feel that it's indeed worth it. I have said it a million times - I only wish I could work on the blog everyday!
Reality makes that difficult. Personally I think that reality and Tzadik could use some time apart ;)



Vor Inghem said...

Thank you brother, you really made my day! I'd been searching for this compilation for ages and thought I'd never find it anywhere. Thank you for the time and effort you put in sharing this wonderful body of sounds that is Takemitsu's music. All the best to you and your loved ones.

zzzuppp said...

Tzadik, House of Flame is now online with English subtitles, here -
It is ravishingly beautiful, and so is Toru's music of course. And also all Toru's soundtracks ARE on CD in the huge Complete Takemitsu series of 5 boxes produced a few years ago by Shogagkukan (Boxes 3 and 4 have the S/Ts). You can still pick up the individual boxes online - eBay etc. Not cheap, but hey...

I have all these Victor CDs separately but not the box or all the notes, so that's really useful to me. Where did you find your copy? I'm going to Japan next week, trip of a lifetime so I'll be hunting round the Tokyo record shops for this.


Gracias. Una verdadera Joya.
Felicitaciones. Excelente Blog.
Un saludo, desde Colombia.