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Shiki to Unkai

Information

Shiki to Unkai (2013)

​​日本語:四季と雲海

for Soprano Saxophone and Cello

Commissioned by A-En Project

ca. 7 min.

​Revised edition for Soprano Saxophone and Bass Clarinet available (2019)

Program Note

四季と雲海 (read Shiki tō Unkai), which translates to "The Four Seasons and a Sea of Clouds", was composed in 2013, and was premiered in December that year in Nogata Kumin Hall by Asagi Ito and Masateru Nishikata. June 22nd, 2013 is the day that Mt. Fuji was inscribed on UNESCO’s prestigious World Heritage list, not as a “natural” site, but as a “cultural” designation under the official title “Mt. Fuji: Object of Worship, Wellspring of Art”. Mt. Fuji has been depicted in works of art, and is known for its religious significance in Japan. People outside of Japan might have heard of Katsushika Hokusai and/or Utamaro Hiroshige - Ukiyo-e artists who depicted Mt. Fuji from many locations in their woodblock prints and paintings. Because of Fuji’s size and beauty from afar, most artworks depicting the mountain are from locations far from the base of Mt. Fuji. Japan’s symbol is no doubt Mt. Fuji, but what people perceive from “Fuji” is the Fuji seen from the Edo scenery, Fuji seen from Tōkaidō, and Fuji seen from Kōshū Kaidō. Therefore, as a person who climbed to the Summit of Mt. Fuji in all four seasons, I have decided to express Mt. Fuji in my composition, not from afar, but from the peak. This work is divided into four sections in response to the four seasons, and each explores the Shiki tō Unkai, or the Four Seasons and the Sea of Clouds, seen from the Summit of Mt. Fuji; reassuring its mightiness, expressed by the Cello, with the delicate elegance of the Sea of Clouds, expressed by the Soprano Saxophone. It was a rigorous task to express the Japanese aesthetics using Western instruments – unintended, pitch-less sound produced by blowing into an instrument, or by sliding the bow on the strings, is considered unnecessary noise in the Western classical values, whereas in Japan, they are considered part of the music. Also, instruments in lower registers, as well as a continuous sound, are not treasured in traditional Japanese music. Although ironic, I have chosen the lowest tone in cello (C2) to act as basso continuo, or a continuous bass, to merge the aesthetics and philosophy or Western and Japanese artistic values, and to reveal the properties of this liminal spot through a my own experience.This work is dedicated to Mt. Fuji; recognized as a World Heritage Site by the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO.

Performance Note

Pitch Extension Attachment

Insert the pitch extension attachment into the mouth of the soprano saxophone on (Insert cylindrical pipe to lower sound).

The Pitch Extension Attachment can be created from one paper cup about 8cm in height and with a rim of diameter 7cm and a circumference of 20cm. First, cut open the bottom (diameter 5cm, circumference 17cm). Next, flip the cup so the rim with a wider circumference is on the bottom. Stick vinyl tape on the circumference of the new upper half of the cup. This creates a friction between the pitch extension attachment and the saxophone, and prevents it from slipping out of the mouth of the instrument. 

Past Performances

Dec. 23, 2013 (World Premiere)

A-EN Composers Project Third Concert

Nogata Kumin Hall, Tokyo, Japan

World premiere of Shiki tō Unkai II (2013)

Asagi Ito (S.Sax), Masateru Nishikata (Vc.)

June 22, 2016

Chatori Shimizu Portrait Concert 2014

Ryogoku Monten Hall, Tokyo, Japan

Yasumi Tanaka (Sop. Sax), Akira Sato (Vc.)

March 11, 2019 (US Premiere)

Duo Sore Yure feat. Chatori Shimizu

Silvana, New York, NY

Duo Sore Yure (Yui Sakagoshi, Sop. Sax; Ivan Solano,  B. Cl.)

March 15, 2019

Mise-En Place Curatorial Series

Mise-En Place Bushwick, New York, NY

Duo Sore Yure (Yui Sakagoshi, Sop. Sax; Ivan Solano,  B. Cl.)

April 12, 2019

SoreYure - 2019 Japon Tour Tokyo【Monodorama-Hana】

Ryogoku Monten Hall, Ryogoku 1-3-9, 1-1F, Sumida, Tokyo, 130-0026 Japan

Duo Sore Yure (Yui Sakagoshi, Sop. Sax; Ivan Solano,  B. Cl.)

April 13, 2019

SoreYure - 2019 Japon Tour Tokyo【Monodorama-Hana】

Eishinji Temple, Tomioka-shi Nanokaichi 884, Gunma 370-2343 Japan

Duo Sore Yure (Yui Sakagoshi, Sop. Sax; Ivan Solano,  B. Cl.)

Past Exhibitions

July 19-Oct. 13, 2014

Religion and Culture of Mt. Fuji

Susono City Mt. Fuji Museum, Susono, Shizuoka, Japan

Exhibition of video, scores, and documentation of Shiki to Unkai (2013) and Shiki to Unkai II (2014)

Aug. 6 ~ 28, 2016

Finished Goods Warehouse: Columbia MFA Summer Show

Curated by Natalie Bell (The New Museum)

Former Pfizer Factory, 630 Flushing Avenue Brooklyn, New York, NY

Exhibition of scores of Shiki to Unkai (2013), -shikaku- (2013), and Cover Your Ears! (2015)

March 16-May 15, 2019

"I'd Rather Struggle"

Inna Art Space, Building 12, No.139 Liuhe Rd., Huangzhou, China

Exhibition of the scores and performance video of Shiki to Unkai (2013) and Shiki to Unkai II (2014)