A novel inspired me to compose this concerto, Shūsaku Endō’s “Shiroi Hito” [White Men].
The hero of the novel, although a French man, joins the Gestapo. He tortures a former seminarian whom he had confronted in the past, driving him to suicide.
This work is a complete rewrite of a piece I wrote in 1986, originally to complete my degree at the Superior School of the University of the Arts of Tokyo. It won 1st prize in The 57th Music Competition of Japan.
This concerto was performed by pianist Sumiko Hioki with the New Japan Philharmonic, and conducted by Hikotaro Yazaki at the Tokyo Metropolitan Hibiya Public Hall on October 12, 1988.
Archive for the ‘Program Notes’ Category
I produced these pieces for a change of pace during the five years between my senior year in Shizuoka University in 1982 and the end of my stay at the Graduate School of the Tokyo University of the Arts in 1986.
The pieces are named “Sources of Avant-Garde.” They’re simple samples of sequential music that I recorded with several instruments playing simultaneously. The goal was not to compose completed pieces but, rather, to feature the raw sound of the synthesizer.
For most of the pieces, first, I created the rhythm section with the use of a rhythmbox.
Then, I played from the heart while listening to the rhythm.
I recently took the opportunity to convert the recordings into MP3 format, and reorganized the 25 audio files—including previously unpublished pieces—into seven medleys.
1) Crows Flew to Me [7:15] mp3 ♫Just a moment
2) Shamisen-Marimba-Koto [6:28] mp3 ♫Just a moment
3) Dropping [5:43] mp3 ♫Just a moment
4) Haste-ism [3:39] mp3 ♫Just a moment
5) Miaou [4:05] mp3 ♫Just a moment
6) Animé-Shakuhachi [4:25] mp3 ♫Just a moment
7) Möbius Strip [7:06] mp3 ♫Just a moment
Une nuit j’ai fait un merveilleux rêve: j’entendais le son éparpillé d’un orchestre de chambre qui jouait différents mouvements sautillants. La musique tournait et tournait, les sonorités des cuivres en particulier fusaient parmi les autres comme des feux d’artifice s’élançant dans un ciel nocturne. Je me sentis immergé dans la majesté des cieux semés d’innombrables étoiles brillant comme des diamants, et cette vision m’inspira profondément.
En cherchant le titre de ma pièce, j’ai trouvé quelques sens figurés de “feu d’artifice”, comme par exemple, grandeur d’esprit, passion, représentation passionnée, etc. En réalisant que telles étaient en somme mes ambitions quant à cette pièce, je lui ai donné sans hésiter le titre de Fireworks.
L’œuvre est écrite pour quatuor à cordes, deux quintettes à vent (bois et cuivres), piano, accordéon et percussion. En épuisant les particularités de chaque instrument, j’ai essayé de dépeindre non seulement les images d’un feu d’artifice, mais aussi celles d’un ciel parsemé d’étoiles et de l’obscurité de la nuit tout autour, en suivant l’évolution de mon émotion musicale. J’ai utilisé plusieurs techniques: dodécaphonisme, canon, modes, bruit de souffle, etc.
Les deux mois (novembre – décembre 2003) que j’ai employés à composer cette pièce ont été une période vraiment réjouissante; je me sentais dans un merveilleux rêve.
Analyzing a picture taken by a gigantic astronomical telescope, far beyond a twinkling star, man can recognize not only the past shape, but also the original shape of the star.
The faraway light is the past light. The further it is past, the more it darkens.
The twinkling light is the evolved shape that is closer to the present.
I transposed this principle to the sound.
The simple initial motive which was exposed pianissimo complicates itself little by little increasing its quantity.
It was during spring vacation after my first year of Shizuoka University when I discovered Sweelinck’s music.
As I was working as a temporary manual laborer for about forty days in order to buy a multi-track recorder for synthesizer, I’ve heard the music on the radio FM that I have been listening to for waking every morning.
At the beginning of those days I went out working under rigid routine rules, the music showed me out purely and warmly.
Then thirty years later last year, I gave a task one of my pupils of composition class to make six canons and I also composed them for an example.
In these works there might have been an influence of Sweelinck.
After the catastrophe consequent on huge earthquake, the extensive tsunami waves and the explosion at a nuclear plant have simultaneously occurred in nearby regions, these simple canons which had not been intended to give any expression seem rather suitable to express regret.
In an ideal world, unaccompanied works are found soaring above the ground where no one could tread without support, it is an inimitable isolation.
Whenever listening to Bach’s for violin or cello suites, I can’t help but form such an image in my mind.
The isolation also brings an absolute freedom for there is nothing to restrain a person.
‘Diferencias’– This work begins with stillness, then oscillates between violent shakes and more stillness, developing and varying its figure as it progresses.
In conclusion, at the summit of perpetual motion, an improvisation that lasts no longer than one minute is played.
I like to compose unusual instrumentations.
The other day, a colleague pianist gave me the task to arrange one of the famous nocturne of Chopin (Op.9-2 E-flat major) for piano 6 hands of professional pianists.
In the past, I have composed a piece for piano right hand, it has been one of my main works, but this time, 6 hands!
As if that was gymnastics in a crowded train.
In general, most contemporary compositions are too difficult to enjoy.
But in the case of an arrangement, I expect that I would be able to entertain the audience with contemporary composition technique, transforming musical figure by using from one hand to six hands of three pianists…like an arabesque.
Novels are not dissertations. They should be structures consisting of dreams, delusions and speculations in all its aspects. If there would be remains of unsuccessful descriptions which chill readers as “How ridiculous!”, that’s that.—
This is a quotation from the late Mr. Yutaka Haniya, who was the author of unfinished spectacular Death Spirits (Shirei). And also these words coincide with my conception of composition. Composition is, all things considered, a musical trick. It must be fun with musical spirits.
What mirage could be born of veiled tones of a viola encountering with brilliant tones of a piano like a keyboard percussion?
One day, I found out a law of classical music.
That is, most of them have attractive parts which are not only mere parts but also portend or preview an entire work.
In my work “Orchestral Offering”, contrasting ideas encounter and evolve into larger waves, going together, antagonizing, melting, developing their energy and tensions.
Flute is an instrument which produces no harmonic overtone.
For that purpose I attempted to build a huge sound-sculpture which varies its shape and color dynamically, applying only sine waves produced by the flute orchestra.
The beginning of this work represents the spiral of chaos, followed by a modal theme and variations based on a twelve-tone system.
The intermezzo consists of Japanese instruments’ idioms; e.g. shakuhachi, ryuteki.
Then an amorphous whirlwind opens the second half.
Duration: 10 min.
2 Piccolos I / 2 Piccolos II / 2 Piccolos III / 2 Piccolos IV
14 Flutes I / 14 Flutes II / 12 Flutes III / 12 Flutes IV / 12 Flutes V / 12 Flutes VI
8 Alto Flutes in G I / 8 Alto Flutes in G II / 8 Alto Flutes in G III / 7 Alto Flutes in G IV
8 Bass Flutes in C I / 7 Bass Flutes in C II
2 Bass Flutes in F I / 1 Bass Flute in F II
5 Contrabass Flutes I / 4 Contrabass Flutes II / 1 Double Contrabass Flute* (optional)