Vienna Duo Play Toward the Sea by Takemitsu

Vienna Duo with Desislava Dobreva (flute) and Bozhana Pavlova (guitar) play The Night from Toward the Sea (海へ, Umi e) by Japanese composer Tōru Takemitsu (1930-1996). The work is divided into three sections: The Night, Moby-Dick, and Cape Cod. This comes via their new YouTube channel (go subscribe). I’ve heard this beautiful work tons of times but I only just learned that it was commissioned by Greenpeace for the Save the Whales campaign. I featured the Vienna Duo a few weeks ago playing Tedesco Sonatina so it’s great to see another video and such a great work by the amazing Takemitsu. Exciting new duo, well played and nicely recorded. Looking forward to more. Some info on the work by Daniel Foley via this Naxos.

Takemitsu’s fascination with the subject of water in all its manifestations has been a continuing theme in his works, dating back to the beginning of his career with his 1963 electronic work, Water Music. Takemitsu composed three versions of Toward the Sea, the first for flute and guitar, then for harp and string orchestra and finally for flute and harp. The first movement of the score was unveiled by Robert Aitken and the eminent Cuban guitarist Leo Brouwer in Toronto in 1981. The thematic seeds of the work are sewn from a pod of three tones carved from the word, SEA: E-flat-(Es in German notation)-E-A. The first movement, The Night, with its sustained flute tones set against the delicate murmurings of the guitar, evokes the rustling of leaves swept by an off-shore breeze. The manuscript of the score was included in the 1983 art book Whales: A Celebration, by G. Gatenby.

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