nedjelja, 24. veljače 2013.

Somei Satoh - Margaret Leng Tan plays Litania (1986)

Izvrstan spoj japanskih zvučnih boja, romantičarske klasike 19. stoljeća i eksperimentalne elektronike.


Download Litania here.
Somei Satoh

It is indeed ironic that "Litania", which appears early in Satoh's oeuvre, emerges as one of his most strikingly original and radical works. "Litania" is the first in a series of compositions for piano, all of which explore the reverberative qualities of the instrument thorough a single facet of pianism, namely tremolo technique. The ensuing drones are subjected to a subtle time lag through a digital delay process. This creates a sonic interference resulting in an extremely rich harmonic texture, which is further intensified by the overlaying of second or third piano. (All but one of these works call for more than one piano.) Satoh admits that he was not at all conscious of composing "works for the piano" per se. The instrument, with its extensive sonic capabilities, merely became the vehicle through which he could generate the necessary sonorities integral to his artisic statement.
In "Litania", the colossal massed formations that arise out of Satoh's homophonic, single-minded approach to the keyboard create bands of sound which invite comparison to the Polish avant-garde composer Krzysztof Penderecki's "Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima" for fifty-two stringed instruments (1960). The penchant for sonic violence in keeping with the emotional climate of "Litania" is not without parallel associations with Penderecki's statement. The mood of "Litania" is, moreover, pervaded by that undercurrent of angst often associated with Butoh, the avant-garde, dance-theater aesthetic sometimes referred to as "dance of the dark soul" that emerged, infused with German Expressionist influences, from post-war Japan in the 1960s. It is purely coincidental, yet fittingly appropriate, that this first American recording of Somei Satoh's "Litania" should take place on August 6th, 1985, the fortieth anniverary of the bombing of Hiroshima.
--Margaret Leng Tan

Somei Satoh
Mandara Trilogy

Mandalas are sacred pictures that can lead viewers to a state of "Satori" through intense and concentrated viewing of them. It semed to be that "listening" was as cognitively viable as "seeing". Bloody human heads and skulls on the loins, copulating, and stomping on horrendous devils ... looking at those extraordinary and ferocious gods with their outraged faces twisted with anger, through the silence of the mandala, I couldn't help but feeling tremendous waves of furor and blasting roars. I felt the heaving engulfing waves steadily pushing forward, and body piercing arrows of lightning radiating from the mandalas.
--Somei Satoh

Somei Satoh
Mantra/Stabat Mater

[These] two beautiful vocal pieces by Japanese composer Satoh ... manage a minimalist elegance without sacrificing drama.

"Mantra" was composed in 1986 at the Japan Broadcasting Corporation's Electronic Music Studio at their request. The only instrument employed is my own voice, which was layered repeatedly during recording. The surprising outcome is a pleasant variety of sounds and melodies surfacing through veils of overtone, falling on the listener's ears like a gentle spring shower.
"Stabat Mater" was composed at the request of the Arts at St. Ann's in New York, between January and February 1987. Reading the Latin text of "Stabat Mater" for the first time, I was immediately struck by a vivid image of the pitifully emaciated body of a young African child dead from starvation, and the hollow, vacant eyes of the mother looking on helplessly. It seemed to me there could be no deeper or more painful grief than that of a mother who has lost a child. I saw no difference between this sorrow and that which Mary experiences at the foot of the cross. I was reading of universal grief, of children lost to war, starvation, illness and sudden accident. "Stabat Mater," then, is dedicated to women everywhere who have suffered such loss.
--Somei Satoh

It is certainly interesting to discover this aspect of new Japanese music, especially via performances as sensitve, well prepared and well recorded as these. --Gramophone

Somei Satoh
Sun Moon

My living room just isn't good enough for this music. I need a bare wood floor, no furniture and a view of a mountain.
--The Wire

SANYOU and KOUGETSU [from Sun Moon] are a pair, like the sun and the moon. In KOUGETSU I tried to express the clearness of the moon at night; in SANYOU, the purity of the early morning air.
The Chinese character getsu means moon. In Chinese, similarly, the verb 'to chip' is pronounced ketsu. They are connected by the fact that the phases of the moon represent a 'chipping' away of its face. In Japanese, however, the word for moon is tsuki, which has the same sound as the word for obsession. We can thus understand how the ancient Japanese felt about the moon. Even today we can feel the mysterious beauty of the full moon in the clear sky.

Somei Satoh
Toward the Night

Various Artists
Somei Satoh is a composer of the post-war generation whose hauntingly evocative musical language is a curious fusion of Japanese timbral sensibilities with 19th century Romanticism and electronic technology. He has been deeply influenced by Shintoism, the writings of the Zen Buddhist scholar DT Suzuki, his Japanese cultural heritage as well as the multimedia art forms of the sixties. Satoh's elegant and passionate style convincingly integrates these diverse elements into an inimitably individual approach to contemporary Japanese music. Like Toshiro Mayazumi an Toru Takemitsu, the most well-known of contemporary Japanese composers outside Japan today, Satoh has succeeded in reshaping his native musical resources in synthesis with Western forms and instrumental sonorities. His work cannot, however, be considered within the mainstream of contemporary Japanese art music, for he writes in an unreservedly non- international style, remarkably free from any constraints of academism. This may be attributed to the fact that being primarily self-taught, he has never been subjected to a formal musical education. Satoh has on occasion, been referred to as a composer of gendai hogaku (contemporary traditional music). Much as Satoh is reluctant to be so classified, this assessment of his writing has some validity if one views him as reworking the traditional Japanese musical aesthetic in a broader, abstract context infusing it with a new vitality.
Minimalism, that Eastern-derived Western phenomenon born of the sixties, has much in common with the hypnotic, regular pulsations of rock. "Litania" and "Incarnation II", among others of Satoh's compositions which rely primarily on the prolongation of a single unit of sound, draw upon this repetitive element. In Satoh's case, however, the repetitions are perceived more as vibrations because of the rapidity of the individual beats in conjunction with an extremely slow overall pulse. This creates the sensation of being in a rhythmic limbo, caught in a framework of suspended time which is typically Japanese. This experience can be summed up in the Japanese word 'ma' which may be defined as the natural distance between two or more events existing in a continuity. In contrast to the West's perception of time and space as separate entities, in Japanese thinking both time and space are measured in terms of intervals. It is the coincidental conceptualization of these elements which is perhaps the main feature distinguishing Japan's artistic expression from that of the West. In Satoh's own words,
My music is limited to certain elements of sound and there are many calm repetitions. There is also much prolongation of a single sound. I think silence and the prolongation of sound is the same thing in terms of space. The only difference is that there is either the presence or absence of sound. More important is whether the space is "living" or not. Our [Japanese] sense of time and space is different from that of the West. For example, in the Shinto religion, there is the term 'imanaka' which is not just the present moment which lies between the stretch of past eternity and future immortality, but also the manifestation of the moment of all time which is multi-layered and multi-dimensional...I would like it if the listener could abandon all previous conceptions of time and experience a new sense of time presented in this music as if eternal time can be lived in a single moment.
Margaret Leng Tan, pianist
(from the liner notes to Litania)
The music of Japanese pianist and composer Somei Satoh (1947) is, first and foremost, a spiritual experience. Second, it resembles the repetitive techniques developed in the 1960s by American minimalists. A typical composition of his early stage is Litania (1973) for pianos, soprano, percussion, violin, documented on Litania (New Albion, 1988). Mantra/ Stabat Mater (New Albion, 1988) contains two pieces for vocals and electronics: Mantra (1986) and Stabat Mater (1987).
Toward the Night (New Albion, 1993) contains Homa (1988), Ruika (1990) and Toward the Night for string ensemble and soprano. By this time, Satoh had greatly expanded his structures and introduced a stronger melodic element into his music.
Sun Moon (New Albion, 1994) contains three works for shakuhachi and koto: Kaze No Kyoku (Wind) (1979), Kougetsu (Moon) (1990), Sanyo (Sun) (1991).
Mandara Trilogy (New Albion, 1998) collects three three works for voice and electronics: Mandara (1982), Mantra (1986) and Tantra (1990).
Other compositions include: Toki No Mon/ A Gate Into Infinity (1988), Miserere (1990), Kisetsu (1999) for large orchestra. -

Nema komentara:

Objavi komentar