aec.tza8058.2 8/19/08 New
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ID: aec.tza8058.2


    Watermill Tzadik Records

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Review Text Japanese-American composer Teiji Ito was largely known for his dramatic music -- incidental music for theater, film scores, and dance -- and Watermill, a 1971 collaboration with choreographer Jerome Robbins for the New York City Ballet, is considered one of his most important compositions. Ito incorporates instruments and musical traditions from a variety of non-Western cultures, including Japanese, Chinese, Tibetan, African, and Native American, as well as prerecorded sounds. The scenario essentially follows the cycle of the seasons, but the contrasts of the piece are subtle, using timbral, textural, and gestural shifts, rather than extreme changes in dynamics or tempo, and the whole work has a mood of hushed contemplation and mystery. Ito was a master at sustaining a tone of reverent awe while creating an ever-evolving sound world that never becomes monotonous. Flutes from various cultures provide the most prominent musical material, and their combinations create gorgeous, otherworldly timbres. The music develops organically, always focused but never hurried. While it always holds the listener's attention with its compositional ingenuity, its infinitely varied serenity would also make it a fine aid to meditation. The piece disappeared from the repertory of the City Ballet after the composer's death, but the music was reconstructed by the composer's brother, Genji, and it's the new version that's recorded here, with an ensemble led by Steve Gorn, and including one of the members of the original ensemble, as well as the composer's daughter. It's a lovely and sensitive performance, in which it's clear that the six musicians are closely attuned to each other in the subtlety and flexibility of their interplay. Tzadik's sound is warm and present.~Stephen Eddins

Track Listing

CD: 1

  1. 1. Prelude / Introduction - 15:45
  2. 2. Spring - 4:36
  3. 3. Running - 3:29
  4. 4. Summer - 13:19
  5. 5. Nightmare - 4:51
  6. 6. Autumn - 7:40
  7. 7. Winter / Epilogue - 8:08

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