Archive for November, 2009|Monthly archive page

Yashaga-Ike (Demon Pond) (2001)

In Text on November 30, 2009 at 10:42 am

I composed ‘Yashaga-Ike’ for a soprano, baritone, mixed chorus and orchestra in 2001. Based on the Play by Kyoka Izumi, its origin is the traditional fairy-tale of Yashagaike, the Dragon Princess.

Plot: Japan in 1933. A school teacher Gakuen Yamasawa journeys to a drought-stricken village in search of a missing friend, Akira Hagiwara. He asks for food from the beautiful Yuri and she asks of him a story in payment. When he speaks about his friend, he realizes that his friend is her husband.

Akira has accepted a job as the keeper of the village bell – if the bell is not struck thrice daily the Dragon God imprisoned within the nearby Demon Pond will escape causing the pond to overflow and flood the village. Akira thinks this is superstition nonsense but has stayed because of Yuri.

Meanwhile inside the Pond, the Dragon God’s current embodiment, the Princess Shirayuki, has received a marriage invitation from the prince of another pond and desires to leave so she can marry, but cannot because of the magic of the bell.

Her chance comes when the villagers decide to sacrifice someone to stop the drought and choose Yuri.

The excerpts from the performance [16:27] mp3

The Orchestral Song Composition Competition

In Past Events on November 1, 2009 at 10:53 am

This competition was held to commemorate the opening of the Ishikawa Prefectural Ongakudo Concert Hall in 2001,
sponsored by the Ishikawa Prefectural Government.

Its aim was to solicit works for solo singer/s and orchestra based on works by Muro Saisei, Tokuda Shusei and Izumi Kyoka,
three of the greatest figures in early twentieth-century Japanese literature,
each of whom was closely connected with Ishikawa Prefecture.

Works should be scored for the basic instrumentation of Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa,
and there should be no more than two solo singers,
but recitation or a chorus may be used in a supplementary capacity.

Basic Instrumentation of Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa:
1st violins (8) 2nd violins (6) Violas (4) Cellos (4) Double basses (2) Flutes (2) Oboes (2) Clarinets (2) Bassoons (2)
Horns (2) Trumpets (2) Timpani (1) Percussion (1) Total: 38 players


A total of 49 candidates from the following 4 countries participated in the competition: Austria, Italy, Japan, USA.

Prize for the most outstanding work: 1,000,000 yen and certificate of commendation (1 work)
Tatsuya Kurachi (Japan)– ‘Shoukei-Ijou’
Prize for outstanding work: 300,000 yen and certificate of commendation (2 works)
Mikayo Hojo (Japan)– ‘5 Songs’ / Satoru Ikeda (Japan)– ‘Yashaga-Ike’
Prize for work of merit: 100,000 yen and certificate of commendation (1 work)
Yoshiyuki Hiroki (Japan)– ‘Gassyo’

Performance of works included in the main examination: 3 November 2001 at the Ishikawa Prefectural Ongakudo Concert Hall
Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa conducted by Hiroyuki Iwaki