Still the Sea pays homage to the Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu. Its title refers to his piece Toward the Sea for alto flute and guitar, and is a triple play on the word “still”: firstly, there’s Takemitsu’s continuing influence; secondly, his musical style hallmarked by a sense of gentleness as opposed to goal-oriented movement; and thirdly, the silencing of his voice after his death from cancer in 1996. Much of Takemitsu’s late music exploits his three-note SEA motive – Es-E-A (Es being E flat in German).
The three movements of Still the Sea are loosely based on what Takemitsu stated as his prime influences: Debussy, Nature and Duke Ellington. The Black River exploits impressionist harmonies and cascading rhythms; Silent Pool is the most direct homage to Takemitsu’s own writing style; and Fire Water explodes with jazz-inflected energy.
commissioned by ChromaDuo and first performed at the Baltimore Classical Guitar Society, Maryland, 28th March 2010
recorded by ChromaDuo on Hidden Waters, NAXOS 8.572757 © 2012