Bach in a Kimono

East meets West in a delightful synthesis of Classical Japanese and Western European repertoire performed in new & unique ways. The spirituality of the shakuhachi, JS Bach & the Baroque

Bach in a Kimono


Locatelli - Sonata no.4 for Flute and Basso Continuo

Adagio ~ Allegro ~ Largo ~ Allegro
An Italian born composer, Locateli was a pupil of Corelli & himself a great violinist. He lived for many years in Amsterdam, writing works for violin as well as flute & cello. The practice of this period was to write a continuous bass line over which the keyboard player would extemporize the harmonic accompaniment. TonightÕs performance is from a facsimile of the1732 hand-written score published in Amsterdam.

'Nesting Cranes' (Tsuru no Sugomori) - traditional 'honkyoku'

Nesting Cranes is a distinctive piece from the honkyoku repertoire of the shakuhachi, emerging from the idea of suizen (blowing meditation) used for personal spiritual development to music to be performed for listening enjoyment. Employing several difficult and rarely used techniques - flutter tonguing, multiple trilling, alternative fingering and harmonics, this piece depicts nesting cranes and their environment. This version of Nesting Cranes is of the Watazumi-do lineage.

JS Bach - French Suite in G Major

Allemande ~ Courante ~ Sarabande ~ Gavotte ~ Bouree ~ Loure ~ Gigue
Completed by 1722, each of the suite's short dance movements proves the old saying "brevity is the soul of wit". The essence of each dance style is realised so seemingly easily that these pieces make an excellent study in the dance movements of the time, and were in fact used by Bach for this purpose.

JS Bach - Sarabande from the Sonata for solo flute

This graceful movement from Bach's solo flute sonata is performed on the shakuhachi. The mellow tone of the bamboo more closely resembling the wooden Baroque flute than that of the metallic Boehm system flute, and the head-shaking vibrato of the Japanese flute paralleling the Baroque use of the flattement technique of ornamenting long notes.

'Distant Cry of Deer' (Shika no Tone) - traditional 'honkyoku'

Arguably the most famous of the shakuhachi repertoire, this meditation is written for two players. Performed tonight on harpsichord & shakuhachi, Peter has developed performance techniques to meet the micro-tonal & subtle timbral demands of the music. The original duo is said to depict two deer standing atop separate mountain tops calling to one another. Upon hearing this unconventional arrangement, Japanese dancer, Machiko Kaneko, observed that it felt to her as The Cry of Nature and Humanity's Response.

CPE Bach - Sonata for Flute and Basso Continuo

Allegretto ~ Rondo
C.P.E. Bach stands at a midway point between the Baroque and Classical styles. This flute sonata is written in the galant style, an elegant melodic style. As in the Locatelli sonata, there is no RH part composed for the harpsichordist. The RH is realised according to the figures placed under the LHÕs bass line.

Miyagi Michio - 'Spring Sea' (Haru no Umi)

Composed in 1929 as a duo for shakuhachi and koto (a 13 string zither), it has since been performed all over the world in various arrangements including violin & piano and flute & orchestra. Tonight it is performed on harpsichord & shakuhachi. This work was composed in a style which combines European and traditional Japanese compositional techniques by the leading koto performer & composer of the early 20th century, Miyagi.


A Norman - 'Alone in a Strange Place'

This composition is based on an improvisation played by Anne in 1990 during her first week on a scholarship which had taken her back to Japan for the second time. Alone in a hall overlooking a bamboo forest and a valley of rice paddies below the University, Anne experienced feelings of isolation and distance from loved ones in Australia, and nervous anticipation of her first lesson with the shakuhachi master Tajima Tadashi the following day. This piece was choreographed by dancer Machiko Kaneko in 1998, and tonight's performance is dedicated to her health & wellbeing.

JS Bach - Siciliano and Allegro from the Eb Flute sonata

The ever popular siciliano has been played on many instruments, but the shakuhachiÕs beautiful haunting tones perfectly match this exquisite movement. The allegro is essentially a trio movement, where the RH of the harpsichord part is on equal footing with the flute. The bass line makes up the third part.