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Toru Takemitsu, who died earlier this year at age 66, was arguably Japan's most versatile modernist composer. Largely self-taught, he claimed to have been influenced by Schoenberg, Messiaen, and the musique concrete movement. During the decade after World War II, Takemitsu was part of the avant-garde of painters and composers in Tokyo who looked to the West for inspiration. He organized experimental workshops and scored, as he did throughout his career, the movies of leading directors, including Kurosawa and Kobayashi. Despite his European leanings, Takemitsu wrote music rooted in a Japanese aesthetic: he was concerned with economy of expression, played around with nonlinear progression of time, and, like Ligeti, emphasized timbre as a crucial compositional element. His work is not often performed outside Japan--this free chamber concert by Cube showcasing Asian-born composers helps redress that. On the program are his Masque, Pour Deux Flutes, a sprightly flute duet, and Itinerant, a tribute to his friend Isamu Noguchi, the distinguished sculptor, which blends the tone colors of shakuhachi playing and the angular lines of Western flute music. Pieces by two of Takemitsu's contemporaries are also featured: Minoru Miki's Time for Marimba is a study in complex rhythms; Obsession by Makoto Shinohara is a sort of Japanese take on a Messiaenian exchange between oboe and piano. Other composers whose work is on the bill include the gifted, locally based Fengshi Yang and Thailand's Surat Kemaleelakul. Fittingly, the concert ends with Sounds of Haiku, an improv homage to Takemitsu by Cube members--flutists Caroline Pittman and Janice Misurell-Mitchell, oboist Patricia Morehead, pianist Philip Morehead, and percussionist Dane Richeson--with Don Malone and harpist Joy Yu Hoffman. Saturday, 2 PM, auditorium, Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State; 747-4811.



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