SAPPORO – For the lucky few who attended a live performance on June 27, 1982 by the Sapporo Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Hiroyuki Iwaki, this now legendary occasion is available on compact disc.
Of course, the CD that will be released on July 7 is aimed at a wider audience, but for those who were there that night, the CD is bound to be a precious item.
The concert heralded the world premieres of three works by Toru Takemitsu (1930-1996), widely regarded as one of the most influential composers of the 20th century.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of Takemitsu’s death and is also the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Sapporo-based orchestra.
The CD will be released by Deutsche Grammophon, one of the world’s most famous classical music labels. This will be the German company’s first release of a live SSO performance.
The concert was held at the old Sapporo Civic Hall with Iwaki (1932-2006) wielding the conductor’s baton. The music director had a close friendship with Takemitsu.
The recording was broadcast nationwide in September of that year to celebrate the opening of FM Hokkaido Broadcasting Co. An audio cassette of the recording kept at the radio station was discovered in 2016.
The double CD includes three works, “A Way A Lone II” (for string orchestra), “Toward the Sea” (for alto flute, harp and string orchestra) and “Dreamtime” (for orchestra).
The combination of various instruments and playing methods, known as the “Takemitsu Tone”, produces a rich and beautiful sound.
Between the second and third track is a 50-minute lecture by Takemitsu, during which he answers questions from the audience.
Passionate about the introduction of modern music, Iwaki has often performed pieces by Takemitsu for regular SSO concerts and on other occasions.
In an interview published in the 1982 concert brochure, the composer said: “Tokyo orchestras have a less passionate vibe than SSO. It has much more advanced techniques than you might expect.
In 1985, Takemitsu chose the Sapporo Orchestra to record the soundtrack for Akira Kurosawa’s film “Ran”.
“My father often said that composing music was a lonely job,” said Takemitsu’s daughter, Maki, who works as a music producer. “I think that was all the more reason for him to find great joy in creating new music with Hiroyuki Iwaki and the SSO members he trusted.”
The album will sell for 3,850 yen ($ 35), tax included. It will also be available on music streaming services.