Shjo (2013)

afl, slide whistle, perc, pno, guit, vlc with objects and miso soup

Score

Instrumentation: 

Alto flute: Miso soup in Owan, aluminium foil, silk paper

Slide whistle: Miso soup in Owan, aluminium foil, silk paper, small spring drum, megaphone

Percussion: Miso soup in Owan, aluminium foil, white gloves, big styrofoam, 2 caxixi, mortar with pestle, pepper corn, spring drum, bass drum

Grand Piano: Miso soup in Owan, aluminium foil, white gloves, medium styrofoam, Chinese meditation ball, rubber bundle

Guitar: Miso soup in Owan, aluminium foil, white gloves, small styrofoam, glass jar

Cello: Miso soup in Owan, aluminium foil, white gloves, 2 glass jars

Durata: 15 mins

Commission: Curious Chamber Players, project Nordic Darkness and Light

Premiere: Curious Chamber Players, Rei Munakata conductor

May 28th 2013, Republique COPENHAGEN

Program note:

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Compositional idea:

(The following text should NOT be presented to the audience in any form)

“Shjo” (2013) for chamber ensemble is commissioned by and written for Curious Chamber Players Stockholm as a part of project Nordic Darkness and Light. The main concept of the project consists of composer’s experience with geographical extremes of the north and how mute darkness in the winter and/or the midnight sun in the summer influence a composer’s mind and creativity. I have decided to focus on the cold winter of the North, and made a day trip to Kiruna, the most northern city in Sweden.

Around the time the airplane flew over the arctic curve, suddenly the view from the window crystallized. Perhaps it is from the gentleness of the sunlight, the pureness of the air, or the extreme temperature, all of the sudden every line, shapes, and details are so much clearer and crispier. The sound of my first step on the fresh snow of Kiruna also had the incredible sense of clarity. The crunchy squeaking noise is so clear and loud as if the noise has been amplified and the loud speakers are placed just right in front of your ears.

I arrived Kiruna in the winter on February 8th 2013 around 11 in the morning. Until I left Kiruna in the evening, I kept walking around and around the small city. VERY cold. Simply calm, quiet, and cold.

The most striking experience from my visit to Kiruna was the sense of extreme slowness. As there is absolutely NOTHING happening, when you see a person, you start to see someone walking from very far away. And it takes a long time for him/her to walk towards you, near you, and away from you. The whole time you hear the footstep in the snow slowly and gradually magnified and disappearing. The sense of slow motion in the coldness and darkness is related to the sunlight. The sun is never completely up – only from 30 to 40 degrees angle the sun shines us the weak and fragile sunlight, painting the sky and cloud in purple and pink, creating long and dark shadows of trees and buildings. It is so faint as if even the speed of the light in Kiruna is in slow motion.

In the very north of Sweden, it is so cold that people do not talk too much to save warmness and energy inside of the body. Therefore, greeting between two people can be replaced by brief inhaling of air “shjo!”, instead of saying “hello” or “how are you”. 

Listen

(Some parts of Shjo is extremely quiet and delicate. Please use the headphone for more focused listening)

Score

 

©2020 by Rei Munakata.