Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2010 June 14 • Monday

The 117th Soundtrack of the Week is Toru Takemitsu's music for Kawaita hana (Pale Flower). Takemitsu is one of my favorite composers and way overdue for a Soundtrack of the Week.

Takemitsu's name is the second from the bottom. The last name is Yuji Takahashi, a pianist and composer who apparently collaborated with Takemitsu on the score.

The music for Pale Flower is included in the third of five box sets that make up the Complete Takemitsu Edition, presumably everything Takemitsu ever did. The CDs are accompanied by beautiful hardcover books that I should really try to translate into English someday.

Part of the reason it's taken so long to have a Takemitsu score here is that I have to dig the music out of this box.

Takemitsu never over-composed for any film, as far as I know, and there are only 14 minutes of music for Pale Flower. The first cue is for deranged, rattling percussion—tap dancing, Latin percussion, castanets, etc.—with wailing horn blasts that slide down in pitch, suggesting the Doppler effect.

The second cue has more of the same unsettling percussion with long tones from wind instruments. The third cue, a little over a minute long, has sparse percussion with sharp horn attacks. Eventually several horns play at once in a dizzy, free jazz orchestra sort of way.