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Toru TAKEMITSU (1930-1996)
Complete Works for Solo Piano
For away (1973) [6:43]
Litany – in Memory of Michael Vyner (1950/89) [10:09]
Piano Pieces for Children (1979) [2:46]
Uninterrupted Rests (1952-1959) [7:27]
Rain Tree Sketch I (1982) [4:22]
Les yeux clos II (1989) [7:48]
Piano Distance (1961) [4:24]
Romance (1949) [4:42]
Rain Tree Sketch II (1992) [3:57]
Les yeux clos I
(1979) [6:53]
Paul CROSSLEY (b.1944)
A vision of Takemitsu
(1999) [7:17]
Paul Crossley (piano)
rec. 1990? St John's Smith Square, London
CRD 3526 [66:35]

Yorkshire-born pianist Paul Crossley was taken under the wing of Olivier Messiaen and Yvonne Loriod and studied with them in Paris. It comes as no surprise that he developed a name for championing Messiaen but among many others he also found high repute as a brilliant advocate of Tippett, Maw and George Benjamin. He was artistic director of the London Sinfonietta (1988-1994). The CRD catalogue lists various of his recorded projects: the complete piano music of Ravel (CRD3383 / 3384) and Fauré (CRD5006), all four Tippett piano sonatas (CRD3430) - the last two of which were written specifically for Crossley - and single disc anthologies for Liszt (CRD3408), Scriabin (CRD3524) and Grieg (CRD3525).

Takemitsu's music as presented here is liquid, poised, airy, slow paced and not arterially clogged. Takemitsu's dissonances in Uninterrupted Rests have poise and rarely grimace although there are harshnesses in the central piece, Quietly. Of the Children's Pieces, Breeze saunters by, uncomplicated and Clouds drifts along in an almost Delian shimmer. The icy Rain Tree Sketch paves the way for increasingly Messiaen-like and remote, slow-breathing textures as in both the original Les yeux clos and in Les yeux clos II. Rain Tree Sketch II was written 'In memoriam Olivier Messiaen' and the style-similarities are evident. The disjunct progress of Piano Distance from 1961 reminds us how far Takemitsu had travelled. In fact the later music is strangely closer to his thoughtful 1949 Romance. Crossley's own A Vision of Takemitsu takes on the manner and sound of the Japanese composer's piano music of the 1980s and 1990s. At 2:40 and 6:20 Crossley introduces an evanescent Delian dazzle; something Takemitsu would not have found in his vocabulary. It can be heard as extension of the innate grandeur of Litany.

The contents of this disc might be familiar to some collectors. The same recordings were issued on a single GMN disc in 2002.

There another Takemitsu piano solo collection from Roger Woodward on ABC Classics and from Izumi Tateno (with whom Crossley once shared second prize at France's Royan Festival) on Warner Apex.

A generous collection in substance and duration. Paul Crossley is well recorded by Geoff Miles and Crossley himself delivers the rewarding but not abstruse liner essay.

Rob Barnett



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