“Takemitsu’s music is essentially sensuous and evocative; one might almost count him a Japanese Debussy.” The Penguin Guide
“…A Flock Descends… playing is warmly refined and Alsop's more relaxed tempos allow this dreamlike piece… a little more room to drift in its hallucinatory reverie. The same applies, with perhaps even greater advantage to the music, in Dreamtime…” BBC Music Magazine, August 2006 *****
“Discs of Toru Takemitsu's orchestral music have been numerous these past two decades but this Naxos release has the advantage of providing a chronological overview. What comes through, above all, is the consistency of his musical development during that time. The sound world of Solitude sonore (1958) might evoke an Asiatic Messiaen, yet the translucent sonorities and suspended – never merely static – sense of motion denote an already personal voice.
Moving to A Flock Descends into the PentagonalGarden (1977) is to reach the point where all the elements of Takemitsu's mature idiom are in place: the music unfolding as waves of diaphonous textures in which melodies and harmonies are ceaselessly changing. Less sensuous in manner, Dreamtime (1981) is possibly the finer piece – its interplay of motifs effortlessly evoking an atmosphere remote yet ethereal. From the output of the composer's last decade, Spirit Garden (1994) stands out for its clarity and subtlety of thought – a 'concerto for orchestra' that is emphatically no display piece.
The Bournemouth orchestra are on fine form in what is probably their finest collaboration yet with Marin Alsop. She also includes three pieces for strings drawn from film scores – of which 'Funeral Music' has a baleful intensity rare in Takemitsu's concert music. First rate sound, not too close in perspective, and detailed notes from Andrew Burn complete a worthwhile introduction to this singular composer.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010