Cover image for The music of Tōru Takemitsu
The music of Tōru Takemitsu
Burt, Peter, 1955-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Cambridge University Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
xi, 294 pages : illustrations ; 26 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML410.T134 B87 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



This book is the first complete study in English of the work of the best-known Japanese composer of the twentieth century. It is also the first book in this language to offer an in-depth analysis of his music. T^D-oru Takemitsu's works are increasingly popular with Western audiences and Peter Burt attempts for the first time to shed light on the hitherto rather secretive world of his working methods, as well as place him in context as heir to the rich tradition of Japanese composition in the twentieth century.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Burt has written the first comprehensive English-language study of the life and music of recently deceased Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu (1930-96). Compared with the ambiguity and "mysteriousness" of short treatments of the composer and of published statements by the composer himself, Burt's work is a model of modernistic clarity; it is limited in scope and chronological in organization; its parts are clearly articulated, and its language is translucent. Although at first Burt seems to be an uncritical apologist (he wrote his doctoral dissertation on Takemitsu), he gains a more balanced and critical stance as the book proceeds--especially in the final chapter ("Swimming in the Ocean that Has No West or East"), in which he discusses and sometimes agrees with certain criticisms leveled by the critics against Takemitsu's music. Because Takemitsu aimed to achieve a complete synthesis of East and West in his music, Burt begins with an exceptionally useful chapter entitled "Pre-history: How Western Music Came to Japan." Contrasting Takemitsu's achievements with the failings of earlier composers' attempts to merge two cultures, Burt rationalizes the composer's disinterest in musical structure and tonal hierarchy as an outgrowth of Japanese aesthetics. Burt concludes with a complete works list and a select bibliography. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. T. E. Miller Kent State University

Table of Contents

Notes on conventions
1 Pre-history: how Western music came to Japan
2 Music and 'pre-music': Takemitsu's early years
3 Experimental workshop: the years of Jikken Kobo
4 The Requiem and its reception
5 Projections onto a Western mirror
6 'Cage shock' and after
7 Projections onto an Eastern mirror
8 Modernist apogee: the early 1970s
9 Descent into the pentagonal garden
10 Towards the sea of tonality: the works of the 1980s
11 Beyond the far calls: the final years
12 Swimming in the ocean that has no West or East
List of Takemitsu's work