Tone Poem Tuesday

Somewhere in my online life, I saw someone recently mention Japanese composer Takashi Yoshimatsu. I don’t remember who or where, though! This is what happens when you scroll too quickly: some things make enough dent that you remember them, but try and give credit, and…nothing. So if you’re the one who clued me in, thank you!

Takashi Yoshimatsu is a Japanese composer, still living, who was born in 1953. I’ve only heard a very small portion of his work, so I’m not really comfortable describing his style, but from what little I’ve read, Yoshimatsu composes in a neo-Romantic style, preferring lyricism and harmony over modernism, atonalism, or avant-gardism. The present work is meditative and evocative, almost impressionistic in nature; its structure reminds me somewhat of Alexander Scriabin, though without that Russian giant’s wild leaps of color and range.

Ode to Birds and Raibow apparently memorializes the composer’s sister, who died in 1994. He does not call it a “requiem”, but rather an “ode to a soul at play” (credit). The work is full of complex chords and deft orchestral writing, with snatches of melody constantly coming and going, almost the way birdsong is always just there but never sounds really complete in our ears. The work is by turns gentle and passionate, but the overall emotional tone is one of warmth.

Takashi Yoshimatsu has a large body of work for exploration, and I look forward to digging into it more. Here is Ode to Birds and Rainbow.

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