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Voices of Nagasaki has been premiered on February 18th, 2001 in NIB Dejima Hall, Nagasaki, by Wil Offermans (flutes; synthesizer) and an ad-hoc vocal workshop ensemble of Nagasaki citizens. Voices of Nagasaki is part of Offermans’ music project Dejima Suite, co-initiated by Kôfuku-ji temple, Nagasaki on the occasion of the 400 years relationship between Holland and Japan. The city of Nagasaki, which is located in the south of Japan, has a long history of intercultural activities. The piece is inspired by the history and reflects the beauty of the city and the surrounding nature. The “random voices” imagine the voices of the past, expressing pleasure, fear, love, and the human life in general.
Obviously, the various flute parts can be doubled, so that the piece can be performed by larger ensembles. The alto flute, bass flute and contra bass flute can be doubled or replaced by C-flutes. The cello part is additional. The conga rhythm can be performed by other small drums like tabla or bongo, without fixed pitch.
The ‘random voices’ (indicated in the score by the dotted lines) are performed by a larger group of people, preferably by the audience. It is advised to have a dedicated conductor, who instructs the audience before and during the performance. This conductor should indicate the start and ending of the various voice styles:
speaking in random, improvised, meaningless words with a whispering voice
laughing with happiness
free expression of disappointment, like [A...] or [O...]
speaking in random, improvised, like an intense discussion, meaningless words with a clear voice
Scored for random voices, Solo C Flute, C Flute, Alto Flute (or cello ad lib), Contrabass Flute, Glockenspiel/Conga.