Itsuki-no-Komori-uta is a popular Japanese traditional folk song (literally “The lullaby of Itsuki”). Itsuki is the name of a mountain village in southern Japan (Kumamoto area). This village is well-known for its beautiful nature and its clean river. In old times, when Itsuki was desperately poor, the people had to send their 7-8 year old daughters to the rich families in the city to work as a nursemaid. Living far away from home, these young nursemaids had to look after the babies all day long. When lulling the babies asleep, they started to sing about their own misfortune and distress and created the lullaby Itsuki-no-Komori-uta. Nowadays, Itsuki isn’t so poor any more. Though, recently there is a plan to build a dam with water reservoir near Itsuki. If this dam will be constructed, the village will disappear under the flooding water and only the song will remind us to Itsuki village.
The opening and closing measures are improvisatory for the entire choir. (Explanations of the symbols in those measures are shown in the score and on the reverse side of each part.) The melody in the body of the work is pentatonic. Flutes 3,4,and 5 (alto) require dexterity and control on running 32nd note passages.
Scored for eight-part flute choir (4 flutes in C; 1 alto flute in G; 2 bass flutes in C; 1 contra bass flute in C) also can be performed on other instruments e.g. flutes in C.
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