Four Japanese Folk Songs
Arranged by Robert L. Cathey for flute choir
Published by Falls House Press
Includes score and parts
These four short compositions are authentic expressions of “old” Japan. This arrangement attempts to recreate the sounds of traditional Japanese instruments, particularly the shakuhachi and the koto, as well as the Japanese flutes.
1. “Kuroda Bushi” is an Imayo, or modernized song, from the old songs which were sung among the clans in the district centering in Fukuoka City. This was originally a drinking song, sung by the samurai warriors.
2. “The Girl of Shonai” tells a story of unfulfilled love. The son of a roaming samurai fell in love with the daughter of the richest landowner in the region. Because the rigid caste system would not tolerate such a “mixed” association, the lovers would rendezvous in the steep hills. One day the girl fell to her death from a cliff. The remorseful youth joined his sweetheart in death by committing suicide beneath a cherry tree.
3. “Soran Song (Bushi).” This is a very old song from the island of Hokkaido. It was used while the fishermen were pulling in their nets. The spoken parts were shouted to assist in the rhythm necessary to pull the heavy nets into the boats. It is important to enthusiastically shout the text at the appropreate times.
4. “Kusatsu Bushi” is of comparatively late composition and expresses the characteristics of the hot springs at Kusatsu.