Haruka nari, Sō-Gū (1993)

Basic Information
Japanese 遥かなり、遭遇
German Entflohene Zeit, Sō-Gū
Opus 099
Year 1993
Category Chamber
Duration 15 min.
Instruments shaku, koto
Score information

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About this Work

«It was during the summer of 1970 that I first composed a work for shakuhachi and piano. This may well have been the first work ever composed for this duo featuring two of the most representative musical instruments from the Eastern and Western traditions. I still vividly remember working on this piece and feeling bewildered by the utterly heterogeneous qualities of these two instruments. The solution which I eventually found to the problems posed by this combination of instruments was to compose two separate solo pieces, one for each instrument. In order to achieve the greatest possible sense of overall unity, I attempted to bring the two instruments together by introducing Western-style leaps in pitch into the shakuhachi piece and elements from Japanese traditional music into the piano piece. The idea was then for these two solo pieces to be performed simultaneously. The title of this work was the blatant Sō-Gū I (Encounter 1).

«In response to a commission from Nanae Yoshimura and Kifu Mitsuhashi, I have now composed another duo incorporating the shakuhachi, this time employing the 20-string koto in place of the piano. As I worked on the piece, I became aware of how radically my perceptual and intellectual approach to Japanese traditional instruments has changed over the last two decades; those days some twenty or so years ago now seem light years away. The attitudes of performers of traditional instruments, the reactions of audiences and my own compositional stance seem to have changed drastically over these years. At risk of being misunderstood, I might say that awareness of 'East' and 'West' on the compositional level has faded and that I have become aware of other horizons.

«To conclude, I might mention that at the core of this work is an application of Saussurian anagram theory. I was introduced to this theory by the linguist Keizaburō Maruyama and employ it here as a tribute to this close friend who died in September 1993.»

Maki Ishii