Botan Rose & Romanticism
This is the Volume IV of my musical project: Modern Musical Presentation of Japanese Literature and Traditional Japanese Music. I would like to rewiew the theoretical background of this project which I initiated and developed as my musical contribution to the Japanese culture. Until I decided to retire from my scientific project in 1997, I had devoted on the study of the mechanism of the chemical damage of the genetic materials (DNA). In the study, we chemically construct the nucleotide unit from which the essential nucleotide base was eliminated. This artificially prepared nucletide is placed to the specific position of DNA,and the entire molecule of the DNA (We call it DNA with 'abasic site') was introduced to living cells by the Modern DNA Technology founded in the progress of Molecular Biology in our generation to examine the principle of the cellular DNA replication. Please note that the 'the lack of the essential element' was used to elucidate the whole system in this approach. My musical composition took the similar approach. I eliminated the timber from sounds. You can define musical notes by the distance in vertical and horizontal directions. To this, timbers are added later by given musical instruments. I tried to achieve this approach by sight reading poems and novels with absolutely no voice and moving only lips of the mouth. The musical motif is provided by the poems and novels in this process. Diary of A Mirage and Izumishikibu Sonata (Volume I) were composed with this approach. When you master this method, you aquire the abilty to compose music in ordinal way, too. Next important element to attain the independence from the timber's influence is to gain an arrogance or hatred to ignore all existing music. If we have favorite music we may mimic it, unless your talent is outstandig one! During the time I was enjoying these compositions in ' Analytical Sensuousism ( I gave this name to my musical approach)'-that was in my late sixties, an unexpected complication intruded into my strategy. It was the timber of my nerve or brain function which showed up when we do not have solid input of extraneous sounds to our ears. Unfortunately, the Tennis ball of my doubles partner hit my left ear when he served in a match. It was a hard hit which separated the high frequency sounds from the low frequency sounds. This temporary separation was healed completely leaving the ringing of my ears due to the aging. It was the just time when I was composing music for my Koki (the celebration of the seventy years old age) with the loss of memory as the motif. I notice that ear's ringing was added to my composition of this music (Hananusubito in Volume II); I wonder if Beethoven might have used the ringing of his ears in any of his composition. Nonetheless, I acquired reasonable skill to compose Romantic music shown in this Volume. Dealing with the Modern Poems written after Meiji Restoration, my expectation had grown very high to observe an extensive westernization of Japanese culture. However, many things including even the nature of beauty of women in the Romantic literature were found unchanged from Edo Period. Only in the Japanese translation of Western literature we observe the beautiful heroins who give us the impression of 'Roses' which are the Queens or Kings of the Western flowers. Instead, the impression of 'Botan (Tree Peony)' which showed up in the Japanese gardening (originaly imported from China at the uncertainly very long time ago)was still used as the model of the pretty women, even in painting. As flower, the Modern Europian roses are comparable with Botan in Japanese gardens. However, we say 'She is beautiful like Shakuyaku (Peony)when she is standing, while she is beautiful like Botan when she is sitting' in Japan. Roses are favorite flowers in the marriage ceremony in Japan, but not used in good quality Arts. The Title of this Volume (Botan, Rose and Romanticism)indicates that my music with the Analytical Sensuousism recognizes this distinction in the love related music in Japan. Hatsukoi (The First Love)(3:34) by Shimazaki Toson (Meiji Period) shows his memory on the Girl whom he met in the nearby apple farm when he was a young boy: One day she handed him one apple and asked him who made the small trail to the apple farm. It was him, he cofessed. If you take one love poem after Meiji Restoration, this is the one to be chosen! If this is in Shubert's music, she should be a wild Rose. In my music she belongs to Shakuyaku (Shakuyaku differs from Botan, but they often grow together grafted in Japanese gardenning). She may be a Botan if she is standing with her knees when she gave the apple to him. Katakoi (The Love Not Told)(7:02)is by Kitahara Hakushu who represents the Romanticism in Taisho Period. In this poem, he drew a picture of a couple strolling the bank of the canal where a moving tag boat was on the water and the red and golden leaves of Acasia were falling on the bank in the autumn day. The man liked the woman but he could not tell it to her. Due to the chill of the late Autum, her breath was white with background of the falling colorful leaves of Acasia. They were only strolling together on the bank. Can you show this picture with music? Debussy can do perhaps. He may describe even the close look of the clear blue skin of Tuberculous woman, as often seen in Western paintings. However, I did it in my way. First I showed the falling leaves with the introductory short melody. This melody showed up repeatedly in each section namely the bank and the canal water (Tag boat), and finally with her white breath. This is the Japanese painting of traditional Taisho Period. Izu no Odoriko (Dancer of Izu)-(17:31) is the hit story of Nobel Prize winner, Kawabata Yasunari in Taisho/Showa Priod. This novel is the gem of the short love romance of young people. The story focuses on the recovery of the deppressed mentality of the very inteligent youth in his college age ( This youth was Kawabata himself). Many people experience similar emotional recovery. However, the sweet heroin of this story, Kaoru, could not be created as skillful as Kawabata. The character of Kaoru, inturn, enriched the joy experienced of this young man to the level of the highest rank in the romantic literature even in the whole world. The stage was set to the mountaineous resort of hot spring. Kaoru has no high education-she is too young. She only plays hand drum and performs a simple dance. With these restrictions, seriously classical music would rather disrupt the image of the lovely Kaoru; Kawabata himself suggested a similar possibility, in terms of actual look of her face. She belongs to Shakuyaku who rejects criticism. My music starts reading the first page of the novel. He could finally face to Kaoru who was resting in the tea shop on the road side of the top of the hill. This was the first moment of joy in this story. The attack of the jealousy struck him when he heard the sound of the hand drum (Taiko)of Kaoru in night which indicated that Kaoru was performing some where in this small resort. He spent the sleepless night thinking of her!. The melody for her Taiko is also my composition. This melody indicate her character-very attractive but with the full of innocence. She wears kimono and her hair style was traditional Japanese. Kawabata Yasunari loves some sorts of purity. Bathing of Kaoruis the most difficult scene presented with the peak of his talent. Kaoru, the lowteen (14 years old) girl standing on the rock on the other side of the stream from the Kawabata's viewing point looks fresh. She was naked and waving her hand to Kawabata. This extremely refreshing look of her brightened the strain of mental turmoil in the life of his past, and lifted it up to the level of joy. However, Kaoru kept her silence in the next scene when she noticed that Kawata was going to leave her at the end of this trip. Here, Kawabata rather cold bloodedly observe her, showing his quality as the expert novelist and propose nothing to help her! Because she looked so poor, and in pity for her, I decided to compose the title song of this story 'only' for her Tears (Namida)is the conclusive scene of this novel. This tear was Kawabata's. He might have convinced himself that the joyous moments he experienced in this trip would be the permanent happiness and serve him as the life long theme in his activity as novelist. So he cried with his joy! He did not say so, though. Happiness to Kaoru! Please listen to Hananusubito in Volume II for my answer to this conclusion. Okume (Shimazaki Toson)-is one of the best poem in Wakana Shu by Toson. This poem has nine paragraphs progressively developing. The life of the modernized woman in Meiji period was shown with his skill as poet and future novelist. If he kept the spirit of this poem and write novels, he would have gained the world wide recognition as novelist. Unfortunately, he lost the poetic steam when he turned into Naturalism as novelist which looks almost nonsence today! The last sentence of the last paragraph of this poem says 'The thousand strings of the Heroin's dark hairs float on the water!' He does not mean that she is dead, as you might see in Western stories. She is washing her hairs. What Toson indicated was the Meiji Romanticism for the Botan. Komoro Naru (Shimazaki Toson)(9:40)is the most well known poem of all Japanese poems. This poem tells the momentary pause in his ambitious life to establish solid position with good novels. He was sitting on the grassy slope viewing the mountain Asama and the River Chikum on the front of him. The music he unknowingly sensed with this sorts of scenery was probably the Oiwake melody in Komoro, the place he stayed. Reading his poem, I heard an Oiwake which I should call Toson Oiwake with his poem as it's lyric. This is the only melody imaginable with this poem. It is difficult to compose ordinal art song for this poem. Chanson D'Automne of Paul Verlaine is used as the message in the broad cast to French Resistance by British Broad Cast in the World War II. This is his best poem among his Symbolism Poems. In Japan, Ueda Bin, an University Professor in the Meiji Period, translated it into Japanese (Ohiba). I tried but failed to find the original composition for the original French poem; I know that it exists. I myself composed for these two poems as shown in this Volume. You notice both similarity and difference between these two. Because I am capable to read Japanese correctly, I believe that Ohiba is near perfect. In addition, Ochiba has been considered the example of the most successful Japanese translation of the Western poems. To me, French original put emphasis on the Autum wind in Violin, while Japanese translation sound well for the dead leaves (Ochiba) played by Piano. Mon Rev Familier-(5:12)describes the woman who appears in his dream. This poem is filled with the sadness of his life. I wrote short Japanese lyrics for  and . The first paragraph of the French original serve as the lyric for . The woman in his dream is a Rose. My melodies indicate that. Nostalgia (Beggar's Nostalgia)(6:22)is by Muroo Saisei in Taisho/Showa Period. This poem (furusato wa tooku ni arite omoomono) is known by almost all Japanese regardless to their education. I wonder why no body had composed music for this poem untill I did. For hatsukoi of Shimazaki Toson presented in this CD, I can say the same. Toson's Okume is probably new for general public. Chisuji no kami (Thousand Strings of Dark Hairs) is very good title for Okume in order to be a powerfull 'Enka' beater in music business, if sang by a group of serious singers in classic music.