Yoru no Hibiki (night sounds) (1989)

Basic Information
Japanese 夜の響き(ナハトクランク)
German Nachtklang (Yoru no Hibiki)
Opus 082
Year 1989
Category Solo
Duration 6 min.
Instruments vn
Score information
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Description by the Composer

«My music has two poles, the sound of "Western music" as it has developed in the twentieth century and the sound of traditional Japanese music. These, in their interrelationship, might seem to give rise to a "multipolarity" which seeks to bring forth a new dimension in sound. However, when I compose I do not make a special effort to achieve a "balance" between these two elements within a work. This is because I feel that, on a fundamental level, these two different sound elements refuse to exist together harmoniously within a single work. Therefore, although my works are multipolar, I try to derive new sound dimensions by swaying toward one pole or the other through the medium of each work.

«The main structure of "Night Sound for Solo Violin" is dependant on the sonic techniques of twentieth century Western music, and its sounds tend toward night, that is, the West. Yet please listen carefully. In the depths of this work can be heard the flowing of sounds that intimate the coming of morning, that is, the East.

«This work was commissioned by the Fourth International Japanese Music Contest as the assigned work for the second round for the violin section, and it was therefore first performed on November 26-27, 1989 by twenty-two different artists. The winner of the first prize for the "Performance of a Work by a Japanese" was Akiko Suwanai.»

Maki Ishii (transl. C. Drake)


«It is often said that "multipolarity" can be discerned in my music. My compositions certainly do have two poles: the essence of the sound of so-called 20th century Western music, and the essence of the music or ancient Japan, ceremonial court music (gagaku), for example. I am attempting to express a new world of sound by mixing these elements.

«However, I definitely do not want to achieve a balance between these two "elements" in my compositions. This is because I feel that these heterogeneous musical elements repudiate 'balance' when they coexist in the same composition. Accordingly, despite the fact that my work is multipolar, it always swings back and forth from pole to pole.

«I have some compositions based on the traditional instruments of gagaku and others containing the voice of Shōmyō performed by Buddhist monks. No matter how far I go in introducing Western methods into the structure of these compositions, they are still the works of "reverberation of morning (oriental)".

«The composition "Nachtklang", a violin solo, does have, as the tide indicates, a structure heavily influenced by mid-20th century Western musical techniques. However, I would like you to listen to it very carefully. In that composition, I expect you will hear the flow of sounds which will cause you to anticipate the coming of "morning".»

Maki Ishii