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Work of the Week – Toru Takemitsu: Rain Coming

Toru Takemitsu’s evocative work, Rain Coming captures the atmosphere of the moment just before rain has started to fall. The work, which has been widely performed in Europe and the US, will receive its Chinese premiere in Hong Kong on 22 June with Hong Kong Sinfonietta and conductor Ryusuke Numajiri.

Despite minimal orchestration, Takemitsu’s masterful use of every instrument conjures a highly varied sound that seems to be greater than the sum of its parts. The work is a collage of styles and ideas working together as an expressive whole.

Toru Takemitsu: Rain Coming –  Part of the cycle Waterscape

Takemitsu had a special ability for imaging nature through music. His music draws on the legacy of impressionism found earlier in the twentieth century and pursues its aesthetic ideals through the lens of modernity. Rain and images of water were a frequent point of departure and coalescence for Takemitsu; Rain Coming is a part of the composer’s larger Waterscape cycle alongside Garden Rain, Rain Tree, and Rain Spell.

On its way to the sea of tonality, the piece undertakes metamorphoses, much like the circulation of water in the universe. – Toru Takemitsu on Rain Coming

Following the performance in Hong Kong, Rain Coming, will be performed in Aldeburgh on 11 July. At the BBC Proms on 8 August, audiences in London will be able to hear Takemitsu’s Twill by Twilight performed by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and conductor, Tadaaki Otaka. While also this month, the Ardeo Quartet perform A Way a Lone at Aldeburgh Festival on 20 June, and on 23, Takemitsu’s Twill by Twilight will be performed by the American Modern Orchestra in Saratoga Springs, New York.