SCHEDULE & CONTENT

EVENT 2 – 5/6 NOVEMBER 2022


Saturday 5 November

Room 1Room 2
9:30Welcome & Tips – Obama Akihito
10:00–11:30 Shin Takasago (Elem)
Christophe Gaston & Sagara Akari
Sokkan (Int/Adv)
Obama Akihito
Break
11:45–13:15Shin Takasago (Elem)
Christophe Gaston & Sagara Akari
Sokkan (Int/Adv)
Obama Akihito
Lunch
14:15–15:15Shin Takasago (Elem & Int/Adv – Joint session)
Christophe Gaston & Sagara Akari
Break
15:30–17:00AGM
Times are in Central European Time (CET)

Sunday 6 November

Room 1Room 2
9:30Welcome & Tips – Véronique Piron
10:00–11:30 Takiochi (Elem)
Cesar Viana
The Music of Fukuda Rando (Int/Adv)
Véronique Piron
Break
11:45–13:15Takiochi (Elem)
Cesar Viana
The Music of Fukuda Rando (Int/Adv)
Véronique Piron
Lunch
14:15–15:45Roundtable discussion
Kiku Day & Gunnar Linder with guests
Anne Prescott & Andrea Giolai
15:45–17:00Get together
Times are in Central European Time (CET)

About the programme

For most of the pieces, two sessions will be held in parallel: Elementary and Intermediate/Advanced. 

The Elementary Sankyoku sessions on the Saturday morning will teach the piece and show participants how to accompany the koto. The teaching is designed for the Intermediate/Advanced participants to join in for the final session in the afternoon. This is a great chance to play in an ensemble.

Shin Takasago (New Takasago) is an example of koto music composed in the Meiji period by Terajima Hanano (1855-1920) based on a Noh play text thanking the gods for conjugal longevity making it a popular piece to play at weddings.  Although this piece is not technically difficult, it contains many subtle ornamentations and movements and these sessions will focus on the interplay between the koto and the shakuhachi.

Sokkan is a major piece from the KSK repertoire. The title is written with the characters of ‘breath’, 息 , and sight, 観 , which calls for the player to contemplate the dynamics of his or her own breath until it appears in the mind’s eye. It therefore demands great focus on breath control and subtle pitch changes, both elements so integral to all shakuhachi playing. This is a very rewarding piece to learn, to practice and to perform. 

Takiochi is a name that refers to several honkyoku transmitted in a number of different shakuhachi schools. As is usual in the honkyoku world, all of them have evolved and have been transformed by various masters over time to incorporate different stylistic elements. Although accessible to beginners, it contains many subtleties and is one of those pieces which brings both the performer and the listener back to the wandering world of contemplation of the komuso monks. This piece evokes the sound and spirit of a cascading waterfall below a temple in which a Zen priest meditated. The performer is called upon to create the atmosphere and spirit of the rushing water and become the waterfall itself. The Ryugenji version of the piece will be taught. This is a very lyrical, refined piece which demands a careful focus on tempo, rhythm, and expression.

‘The Music of Fukuda Rando’ sessions will explore 3 of his compositions. Fukuda Rando (1905–76) was an innovative figure in the modernist movement in Japanese music in the mid-20th century and a composer for NHK. Yokoyama Rampo and his son, Yokoyama Katsuya, were his students and together created all of his shakuhachi pieces. Fukuda Rando’s music is the expression of the heart so that the focus is on melodic development. Many techniques such as finger changes, vibrato and portamento started to be used at that time so that this music moved from the traditional ‘Japanese style’ (nihon-teki) to a ‘musical style’ (ongaku-teki). Although the material for some of these pieces is rooted in a vocal style, such as min’yo, and depict different aspects of the sounds of nature, they bring emblematic shakuhachi techniques to the fore.

  • Kikyo Gensokyoku refers to both the Japanese ‘bellflower’ and a ‘return to one’s hometown’ so creating a sense of nostalgia.
  • Miyama Higurashi depicts the sounds of the cicadas on an autumn’s evening penetrating the remote mountain valleys. 
  • Gekko Roteki was composed as a contemplation of the moon and employs a very wide pitch range from deep, low otsu tones to bright kan ones. Originally a duo with koto, it is also played as a solo piece.

Roundtable Discussion   This will be the first time that an ESS event has held this kind of discussion since the Symposium at the World Shakuhachi Festival in London in 2018 and will be led by two leading authorities, Dr. Kiku Day and Dr.Gunnar Jinmei Linder, with two invited guests whose research focuses on different aspects of Japanese music: Dr. Anne Prescott and Dr. Andrea Giolai.  This special event will be a wide-ranging discussion of the winding roads of the shakuhachi through history to the present day touching on social, cultural, political, and aesthetic dimensions of the development of the shakuhachi. It will, in particular, focus on how the urban and rural musical traditions, such a playing styles and repertoire, developed differently over time and will also examine the influence of the zeitgeist of the Meiji era – modernism and the reinvention of the shakuhachi tradition. This Roundtable is very likely to lead to some fascinating discussion and is a wonderful opportunity ask questions to the panel about so many aspects of the shakuhachi and Japanese music which many of us have for so long wanted answers to, but have never found the right person to provide them. This is that chance! 

AGM   The ESS AGM has to be held each year and is an important meeting to elect officers and discuss the activities and future direction of the ESS so please make sure to attend and make your voice heard. 

Scores, recordings and fingering charts will be available to download by the beginning of October. You will receive an email with the link.