Mieko Miyazaki & Suizan Lagrost

Japanese Chamber Music

" Who knows how high the pure sound of koto rises, so charming, beautiful, clear and noble that it seems celestial music...(?)" These are the words used by the Japanese writer Higuchi Ichiyo (1872 - 1896) in the story of Koto non ne (The Sound of the koto, 1893) to describe the sound of this traditional and old Japanese stringed instrument that accompanied court music for centuries. Its sound evokes rarefied air and arouses feelings of intense emotion. Far away from western sounds, that of the koto is remarkable for its stirring the listener and its leading them into a dimension of serenity and depth, where the notes primarily echo in their mind. Harmony intertwines and uncoils with pressing rhythms at times, slow and almost suspended rhythms at other times, always surprising the listener with their purity.

Prof Aldo Tollini Universita' Ca' Foscari - Venezia

Japanese traditional music varies greatly depending on its rural or urban origins. Music from the cities is that which is played in theatre productions and chamber music halls. As for shakuhachi music, the sacred music of the komuso outside of temple worship, it belongs to neither of these categories. The most popular and well-known music is that of the theatre, but at the same time, the Japanese government supports those concert halls featuring blind musicians. The latter perform a musical genre called sankyoku which combines three instruments: koto, samisen and shakuhachi. This type of music is unique in that it is performed independently of other contexts (theatre, bordello, etc.), as opposed to other genres.

Mieko Miyazaki