Composed for shamisen and shakuhachi, Shadows of the Moon (2008) will be performed in Houston and Honolulu as part of the Pro Musica Nipponia's US tour.
PRO MUSICA NIPPONIA / 日本音楽集団
Hiromu Motonaga, shakuhachi
Hiroshi Hozumi, shamisen
Keiko Hisamoto, koto
Friday, February 26, 2016, 7:30 P.M.
Asia Society Texas Center (Houston, Texas)
Sunday, March 6, 2016, 4:00 P.M.
University of Hawaii Orvis Auditorium (Honolulu, Hawai’i)
ABOUT THE PRO MUSICA NIPPONIA
With its long history at the forefront of Hōgaku (Japanese music), and its unique ability to perform both traditional and contemporary music for Japanese instruments, Pro Musica Nipponia is the very face of Japanese music in the modern world. Consisting of more than 50 performers and composers, the group offers audiences world-class performances of music ranging from traditional masterpieces to new compositions by Japanese and non-Japanese composers that show how Japanese instruments are a vibrant medium for contemporary music in today’s global society. Since its founding in 1964, Pro Musica Nipponia has embarked on over 180 concerts abroad in an effort to globalize Japanese instruments, and remains a leading force in the Hōgaku world. In addition to being one of Japan’s most prominent and esteemed performing ensembles, Pro Musica Nipponia regularly engages in educational activities that introduce Japanese music and culture to wide-ranging audiences. Through the medium of music, they seek to promote intercultural understanding and strengthen relationships between Japan and the world. http://www.promusica.or.jp/english/
Among my works for traditional Japanese instruments, Shadows of the Moon may be one of the darkest. The poetic title echoes the darkness and distant character of the music. The composition begins pensively with a lyrical duet between the shamisen and shakuhachi, followed by an expressive shakuhachi solo accompanied sparsely by the shamisen. A lively moto perpetuo section follows, with the shamisen accompaniment based on material from the opening. This section winds down into an extended lyrical section, with melodic material divided evenly between the two instruments. After arriving at what seems like a final cadence, momentum slowly builds up again and erupts into a frantic, driving section. Just as a violent ending seems imminent, the piece grinds to a halt and ends with a calm reflection on the lyrical ideas spaced throughout the work. Inspiration for this piece came from imagining the rotations of the moon, as different areas are slowly plunged into darkness and re-emerge into light.