From me flows what you call time

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Toru Takemitsu

General Info

Publisher: Schott Music
Duration: 00:31:00
ISBN: 978-4-8906-6448-1


1. Introduction
2. Entrance of the Soloists
3. A Breath of Air
4. Premonition
5. Plateau
6. Curved Horizon
7. The Wind Blows
8. Premonition
9. Mirage
10. Waving Wind Horse
11. The Promised Land
12. Life's Joys and Sorrows
13. A Prayer



Player 1: Glockenspiel & Vibraphone & Steel Drum & Crotales
Player 2: 7 Pakistan Noah bells & 5 Thai gongs & Crotalphone & 2 Japanese temple bowls on pedal Timpani & 6 Chinese winter gongs & a pair of Crotales & Angklung & Arabic Drum & Wind Chimes
Player 3: Crotales & 5 Almglocken & Log Drums & 5 Tom-toms & Angklung & 2 Snare Drums & Wind Chimes
Player 4: Crotales & Glockenspiel & Marimba & 3 Tam-tam & 3 Suspended Cymbals & 3 Chinese Cymbals
Player 5: Crotales & Glockenspiel & Marimba & Angklung & 2 Japanese temple bowls on pedal Timpani



3 Flutes: 2nd and 3rd doubling Piccolo & 3 doubling Alto Flute
3 Oboes : 2nd doubling oboe d'amore & 3rd doubling English Horn
4 Clarinets: 2nd doubling Soprano Clarinet & 3rd doubling Bass Clarinet & 4th doubling Contrabass Clarinet
3 Bassoons: 3rd doubling Contrabassoon


4 French Horn
3 Trumpet
3 Trombone


14 Violin 1
12 Violin 2
10 Viola
8 Cello
6 Double Bass
2 Harp

Program Notes

Commissioned by Carnegie Hall for the Boston Symphony Orchestra and its music director Seiji Ozawa, From me flows what you call Time is a perfect example of Takemitsu's particular blend of East and West. Performed on the occasion of Carnegie Hall's centenary, the work is meant to spiritually reflect the century of music that has "flowed" through the venue. Takemitsu took the evocative title from a poem "Clear Blue Water" by his friend, Japanese poet Makoto Ooka.

Central to this work are the individual performers of the Toronto-based percussion ensemble Nexus, who performed the premiere. For Takemitsu, each of the five members was made to represent an aspect of the Tibetan Buddhist principle of "Wind Horse," an image conjured from the notion of the enlightened human being "riding" Nature. At the premiere performance on October 19, 1990, five colored ribbons, representing the five natural phenomena of water (blue), fire (red), earth (yellow), wind (green), and sky (white) linked the performers to bells placed about the theater. This effect, as well as the huge array of world percussion (including Japanese temple bowls placed cleverly on top of timpani drums, Indonesian wooden angklungs, and Pakistani Noah bells, to name a few) infuse the work with deep solemnity and an atmosphere of ritual.

A solo flute intones a delicate phrase whose initial 5-note motive becomes an idée fixe as it is passed between instruments throughout the work. This opening phrase, named in the score "A Breath of Air," turns out to be an invocation, inviting the soloists to enter the hall. Once the players have reached their positions, tremolo cellos and basses emote a "Premonition." A chorus of Caribbean steel drums bring a brief "Plateau," and a repeating marimba figure gives way to a section curiously titled "Curved Horizon." "The Wind Blows" sets harps into wispy glissandos and an active, quasi-Arabic solo cello theme portrays a momentary desert "Mirage."

As the piece proceeds, there are several opportunities for the percussionists to improvise around a loosely grouped series of notes. One of these extended improvisations, featuring hollowed-out log drums, gives way to an expansive statement portentously titled "The Promised Land." The seldom-heard oboe d'amore (imported from the Baroque era) leads us into "Life's Joys and Sorrows," in which desperately Romantic gestures disappear into thin air as quickly as they arrived. Another improvisatory section featuring a Turkish darabukkah drum and tom-toms leads to a simple "Prayer" for the closing moments of the work whose sound takes on an unexpectedly three-dimensional perspective.

Recent Performance

Works for Percussion by this Composer

CassiopeiaMultiple Percussion; Orchestra
From me flows what you call timePercussion Quintet; Orchestra
Gitimalya – Orchestra; Marimba
Munari by Munari – Multiple Percussion
Munari by Munari (Duo)Percussion Duo
Rain TreePercussion Trio
SacrificeVibraphone; Flute; Lute
Seasons (Ensemble)Percussion (12); With Tape
Seasons (Solo) – Multiple Percussion; With Tape