Percussion Concerto – South - Fire - Summer (1992)

Basic Information
Japanese 打楽器協奏曲 ー南・火・夏ー
German Süden - Feuer - Sommer, Schlagzeugkonzert
Opus 095
Year 1992
Category Orchestra/Concerto
Duration 15 min.
Instruments Perc, Orch
Score information
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About this Work

«Percussion instruments assume widely differing characteristics depending on how they are played.

«In this concerto I have striven after the enormous diversity which is a feature of percussion instruments and especially of the marimba; making transcendental technical demands of the performer, I have pursued areas such as the unique sound world of percussion instruments and the idea of acoustic accumulation, the dynamism of the marimba, and rhythmic transformation in the writing for the drums. I have then pitted the solo percussion part against the orchestra to give expression to a new world of sound.

«The concept of physical direction has borne a close relationship with musical order in Japanese traditional music. A musical treatise known as the Kangen Ongi, dating from the Kamakura Period (1185-1333) goes into this question in detail. South, fire, and summer – the three elements which constitute the subtitle of this work – and the traditional Japanese scale of ōshiki-chō on which the acoustic material of my work is based are treated in the Kangen Ongi as metonyms for the direction of south. Furthermore, E flat, D, E, F, and B – the constituent pitches of a motif which plays an important role in the work – are taken from German pitch names which appear in the German and English forms of the subtitle, i.e. süd, feuer, sommer – south, fire, summer.

«This percussion concerto thus employs a combination of western motif-based compositional technique and eastern directional concepts, and it is through this combination that I have attempted to provide the work with its internal acoustic shading. I have striven after a new and unified sense of musical order and harmony through the incorporation of elements and formal techniques associated with the music of both East and West.»

Maki Ishii