Great Ladies in Heian Period
The series of four CDs with the title of Modern Musical Presentation of Japanese Literature and Traditional Japanese Music is consisted of my compositions from 1997 to present. My music relates to my understanding of both the Japanese culture and the culture of the United States; I actually spent the late forty years of my life in the United States. My views on the currently existing Japanese composers and their music may be limited and may not be consistent with the opinions of the many of the current Japanese. However, I may actually be only one composer to have the serious intention to establish the nationalist music of Japan. In my composition, I depended mainly on the literature, religions, paintings, and landscape etc. Of Japan. In fact,I tried to develope the traditional music of Japan, instead of modern Japanese music.I started with the music for Amaterasu, Great Sun Goddess who was enshrined as the chief god of the all godds in the National Shinto of Japan as early as the First Centuary BC. My composition went through the entire history of Japan until the social turmoil of Japan became so unbearable due to the international wars only a hundred years after Meiji Restoration. My compositions are presented as chamber or small orchestral music with electronically generated sounds of instruments. The inserts of the CDs tell the detail of music in English and the lyrics in Japanese in general (In The Roman Letters ). The shorter versions of the large pieces are available upon request. The Volume I of this series with the title of the Great Ladies in Heian Period contains Kagero Nikki ( Diary of A Mirage ) by Mother of Michitsuna ( the 10th Century ), and the Waka ( Japanese poems ) and the diary of Izumishikibu ( the 11th Century ). The Heian Period was the eariest Period for the establishment of the characteristic Japanese culture after the dominant influence of the Chinese culture in the preceding periods called Asuka-Tenpyo-Nara Period. In the Heian Period, Gagaku, Bukyoku and Gigaku ( Kuregaku )were played for the Emperors and Aristocrats, while Zokukyoku were chiefly enjoyed by non aristocrats of the time. It is not surprising that the sophisticated views on the lives of these intelligent Heian ladies could not be expressed with the under developed traditional music of Heian Period. When I compose music using the literature instead of the traditional music, I am establishing a new authenticity for the music of this historical periods. Kagero Nikki by Mother of Michitsuna was the first diary confessing the inner thoughts in our minds in the literature of Japan; She was actually counted as one of the most important creater of Japanese literature including fictions because her diary appears to have a fiction as well. As one of the wives of the most powerful aristocrat of her time, she recorded the pain and the frustration of her life. Her diary appeared in one generation earier than Tales of Genji by Murasakishikibu, the greatest novel in Heian Period. The author of Kagero Nikki was also counted as one of the three most beautiful women of her time. She was a noted Waka poet and once asked by her male friend to write a bag full of Waka for him so that he can use them when needed. According to her diary, she wanted to commit suicide and also she often escaped to temples insisting that she want to spend her rest of life serving for Buddha there instead of her husband. This Diary ends with the peaceful mind of hers after separation from her husband in the Aristocratic polygamy of the time. With this great achievement, she signed only the Mother of Michitsuna, who was her son-(32:19). Izumishikibu lived very active life with her passion to love or falling in love to men and created the characteristic musical tones in her Waka. Once, Fujiwara Michinaga, the one of the sons of Fujiwara Kaneie who was the husband of the author of Kagero Nikki ( Mother of Michitsuna )called her 'play woman.' However, I believe that she was a sincere woman. Her first Waka which established her reputation as a Waka poet, 'Kurakiyori ( From the Darkness )' asks to the Buddhist priest to guide her to less painful life. Considering the fact that she was only a very young woman (about twenty year old) at the time of writing this Waka, I assume that she projected her life to be honest to her urge in her love or her friendship. The musical tone of this Waka with the Tendai Shomyo in the transition of the Tendai Buddhism to the Jodo school which took place in Heian Period was used as the motif of my Sonata. While The Diary of A Mirage often sounds like a nervously demanding Violin solo, Izumishikibu Sonata sounds vocal-a Sonata with all vocal-(37:50). These characteristics are present in these original literature. Both Mother of Michitsuna and Izumishikibu have their poems (Waka)in the collection selected with the authority of the Emperor. They also appear in the Waka oriented card game called Hyakunin Itsushu with which the selected Waka are memorized by Japanese in every New Year Party. Waka are short poems with only 31 syllables to memorize. It is not difficult to pronounce them reasonably well. You may try to sing famous Japanese poems with my music.