Takemitsu: Orion

Program Note

Tōru Takemitsu (1930-1996) 
Orion (1984)

Takemitsu’s Orion, his only composition for cello and piano, comes from his orchestral work Orion and Pleiades, characteristically based on number symbolism – the three stars of Orion’s belt.

Takemitsu was a largely self-taught Japanese composer whose language is born out of a synthesis of varied styles and influences ranging from traditional Japanese music to Western classical and avant-garde music.  He came to international attention when Igor Stravinsky hailed his Requiem for Strings (1957) as a masterpiece, gaining recognition as Japan’s leading composer during his lifetime.  Takemitsu began composing as a teenager after serving as a conscript in the Japanese military at the end of World War II. Later in his life he recalled, "I began [writing] music attracted to music itself as one human being. Being in music I found my raison d'être as a man. After the war, music was the only thing. Choosing to be in music clarified my identity."