We Lose Things

Machiko Kaneko We Lose Things
is dedicated
to the memory of Machiko Kaneko

We Lose Things

we lose
our courage
our confidence
our sense of humour
our independence
& our loved ones

some people lose their mobility
others, their job
drivers licence
while others are forever losing their glasses

every day, someone loses their battle with illness

sometimes, we lose our sense of time

but, it is through our losses that we discover what it is that we have
& through sharing in another's loss, we avoid losing our sense of perspective

we lose things

some folk lose their home
they lose years running from one cruelty to another
they lose family and community
they lose hope of finding sanctuary
they lose their self worth

let us not lose
our compassion
our empathy
our humanity
let us not lose our grip on reality

rather, let us lose our fear
our ignorance
our self righteousness

and take the time to listen

we lose things

Composed by Anne Norman for power pole bells, shakuhachi and bass, We Lose Things draws inspiration from a number of diverse sources: Several months spent with local music groups in Bali in the 1980's surrounded by gongs and numerous metallophones; work with Peter Neville in Nadoya and Jouissance where Peter showed a clear interest in playing found objects; the gestural nature of shakuhachi honkyoku where each breath constitutes a phrase and world unto itself; and for motivation, the life and recent death of dancer Machiko Kaneko, who got me started creating new works for shakuhachi back in the late 80's. This work was performed and recorded before the Spring Bell stand was created. The bells and plates are performed while kneeling on the floor, placed on carpet.

The tonality of this work is dictated to a great extent by the pitches I happened to find when pilfering caps off old power poles from my local power company. The pitches I collected include a whole tone scale which I have touched on momentarily as a reference to the naive hopes we sometimes cling to, but just as the whole tone scale has no root, so too our fleeting retreats into idyllic notions end us up somewhere else. The last movement gives the wholetone scale a foreign 'root' note, which takes the music into an altogether different direction.

We Lose Things was premiered in November 2000 in Melbourne and was also performed at the memorial service of Machiko Kaneko in March 2001 in Nishinomiya, Japan. This recording was made at Baker Street Studios featuring Peter Neville (power pole caps), Nick Tsiavos (bass) and Anne Norman (shakuhachi) and was commission by Le Tuan Hung of the Australian Asia Foundation, and financed through the generous support of the Music Fund of the Australia Council. Le is on a wonderful quest to commission Australian composers to write works which include Asian instruments. These will eventually be published and released on CD.