Video Pick of the Week: Ronny Wiesaur Plays Toru Takemitsu’s ‘In the Woods— Wainscot Pond’

Toru Takemitsu
Toru Takemitsu

February 20, 2021 marks the 25th anniversary of the passing of one of the most prolific and adventurous composers of the 20th century, Toru Takemitsu (1930–1996). Takemitsu wrote hundreds of works in so many different styles—everything from modern orchestral to electronic to traditional Japanese. His influences ranged from Bach to Debussy to John Cage. He also, as it happens, wrote a dozen or so pieces for solo guitar (three of them a set for Julian Bream) and arranged another 13 more for the instrument (including tunes by The Beatles, the Gershwins, and even “Over the Rainbow”). Through the years, his guitar works have become an indelible part of the classical guitar repertoire.

To honor Takemitsu’s memory, we are presenting an impressionistic work called In the Woods—Wainscot Pond, which was inspired by a painting by the successful German-American painter Cornelia Foss (b. 1931; she was married to the late composer and fellow German exile in America Lukas Foss). Wainscot Pond —part of Takemitsu’s In the Woods trilogy—is played here by the wonderful German guitarist Ronny Wiesaur, whose Chants of the Sea album, made under the Corium Project moniker, earned a rave review from yours truly. Wiesaur’s most recent album, from 2020, is called All Yours; here’s a Spotify link to that. —Blair Jackson