Publisher: Alry Publications
Instrumentation: Flute and Guitar
A modern American composer, he is also a guitarist and teacher. Originally inspired by the book One Straw Revolution, this suite was written with an American eye-and-ear view of Japan and its culture. It is a loving portrait of the tradition, reverence, appreciation of beauty, gentleness, patience, humility and industry that are all contained in the mosaic that is Japan. The first movement, Fukuoka, was written to pay tribute to this farmer, who is a national folk hero in Japan. It is written in a canonic fashion with traditional-style Japanese melody. Slow and dignified, it suggests the discipline of centuries and calm reverence for life. The opening measures of Lepidoptera suggest the flight of butterflies, multi-colored and eternally fluttering. As the sky fills with movement, the sun is momentarily eclipsed. Finally, exhausted by their journey, the butterflies alight among the fields of buttercups and clover, their wings slowly blinking. Candle Boat Song, the third movement, is based on the great feast and celebration at harvest time to give thanks for successful crops. Custom says that if a lighted candle is placed in a small paper boat, and is sent down the river toward the sea, next year's harvest shall be plentiful. The sun begins to set as many candle boats are gently carried off, creating a beautiful placid image. The final movement, Oriental Boulevard, is a glimpse of modern-day Japan: an energetic, highly technological society which is sharply contrasted to the sensuousness and delicacy of the old ways. The mood is angular and unexpected, jerky and yet in perfect calibration.