There are three compositions by Takemitsu on the subject of the Rain Tree. Rain Tree Sketch (1982) and Rain Tree Sketch II (1992, in memoriam Olivier Messiaen) are among Takemitsu's most often performed piano works. The origin of the Rain Tree Sketches can be traced back to Takemitsu's percussion trio Rain Tree (1981).
Rain Tree is used as a metaphor of water circulating in the cosmos, and Takemitsu employed Messiaen's modes of limited transposition in order to construct the pitch collections evocative of cosmic imagery. Takemitsu's goal as an artist was to expand the possibilities of music, and to express himself through creation of a universal language. The title was suggested by a passage from the novel Atama no ii, Ame no Ki by Kenzaburo Oe: "It has been named the 'rain tree' for its abundant foliage continues to let fall rain drops collected from last night's shower until well after the following midday. Its hundreds of thousands of tiny leaves - finger-like - store up moisture while other trees dry up at once. What an ingenious tree, isn't it?" - (Source, www.vicfirth.com)
Toru Takemitsu during an interview (1993):
"My music is like a garden, and I am the gardener. Listening to my my music can be compared to walking through a garden and experiencing the changes in light, pattern, and texture. I do not like to emphasize too much with my music. Someone once criticized my music as getting to be very old fashioned. Maybe I am old, but I am looking back to the past with nostalgia. Composers are sometimes afraid to use tonality, but we can use anything from the tonal to the atonal -- this is our treasure. I can say that because I am Japanese!"
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Works for Percussion by this Composer
Cassiopeia – Multiple Percussion; Orchestra
From me flows what you call time – Percussion Quintet; Orchestra
Gitimalya – Orchestra; Marimba
Munari by Munari – Multiple Percussion
Munari by Munari (Duo) – Percussion Duo
Rain Tree – Percussion Trio
Sacrifice – Vibraphone; Flute; Lute
Seasons (Ensemble) – Percussion (12+); With Tape
Seasons (Solo) – Multiple Percussion; With Tape