Toru Takemitsu is widely regarded as the greatest Japanese composer of the 20th century. After the appearance of Folios in 1974 he was acknowledged as a formidable master of writing for the guitar, bringing to the instrument a sensibility and imaginative flair which have seldom been equalled. In the Woods was his final composition. Shin-ichi Fukada and Leo Brouwer were both close friends of Takemitsu, and this programme includes Brouwer’s two heartfelt homages in his memory.
German guitarist Franz Halász displays a fine sense of tone and pacing in this revealing overview of Takemitsu's solo guitar music. Takemitsu wrote for the concert stage in an original avant-garde idiom, created over 100 film soundtracks, and produced arrangements of Japanese folk tunes and Western popular music. This range, except for the soundtracks, is represented here. The title tracks are from the concert work All in Twilight – Four pieces for guitar (1987), inspired by Paul Klee's painting of the same name. Here Halász's beautiful touch is shown in contrasting and subtle timbres on the composer's rich, jazz-like harmonies, sometimes brooding, sometimes in quickly flowing passages like those of the third movement. Next, the first six of "12 Songs" introduces some technically challenging, but aesthetically straightforward arrangements – Sammy Fain's classic Secret Love, four tunes by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and George Gershwin's Summertime in which Takemitsu spectacularly manages to reduce the best orchestral parts to the limits of the guitar and to improvise in a free-flowing manner.