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Koto Concerto. Genji: I. Cicada Shell
by Daron Hagen
Daron Hagen is well known as an opera composer, and he brings his operatic sensibilities to Koto Concerto: Genji, of which this track, Koto Concerto. Genji: I. Cicada Shell, is the first movement.

Based on the 11th century Tale of Genji, the eponymous character Genji is the son of a Japanese emperor, relegated to commoner status for political reasons. The complex story of his life unfolds during the course of the novel partly in the recounting of his relationships with women.
The Concerto follows the story of Genji falling in love with a woman without ever having seen her, but rather only after hearing her play the koto from afar for many years.

This piece was Hagen's first venture writing for an instrument from a different musical tradition. He immersed himself in the repertoire and traditions of the koto, and combined what he refers to as the koto's "magisterial past" with his own musical experience, using the life of this instrument to convey new ideas and emotions in the 21st century. The piece is scored for koto with single winds, two French horns, strings and marimba.

By the way, that's Yumi Kurosawa on the 20-string koto.

(By the way again, for those interested, the full concerto performed by the Orchestra of the Swan and featuring Yumi Kurosawa can be seen via the link below.)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qsfKTpTzROY
 
Posted: 19th May 2019
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