Sange - Malika Kishino International Festival of Contemporary Music Warsaw Autumn

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A Buddhist ceremony in which monks walk around the ceremonial space reciting the Sutra, while scattering petals to bless the spirits of the dead. During the Sange, literally translated from Japanese as the “spreading of petals,” fresh lotus flowers were originally used. ese are now replaced by coloured paper shaped as lotus petals. The combination of solemn recitation, the dance of the petals and, originally, the smell of fresh lotus, created a sight and fragrance that delighted the senses. 

The piece is a homage to my first composition teacher, Yoshihisa Taira, written ten years after his death. Taira’s music was distinguished by careful selection of material and its economical application. “Masterpieces are like a polyhedron,” he used to say, “their appearance changes depending on the angle from which we observe them, and the position of the solid.” In Sange I undertook to create my own polyhedron. Having defined its form, I focused on attaining a third dimension by imagining a solid built out of the sounds of six instruments—my musical core. I also wished to represent the impression of fragrance in the air. I have applied the same instruments and in the same disposition as in Yoshihisa Taira’s Hiérophonie V. I also quote two of his musical ideas: the ostinato of the wooden drum and the use of the voices. I have enriched the sound material produced on traditional instruments by adding an electroacoustic layer, thus creating various sound layers, each with its own trajectory. 

In this way I have attempted to represent the ceremony by musical means, through the stimulation of three human senses. Commissioned by the French Ministry of Culture, the piece was premiered on 5 December 2016 at the Teatro Comunale Città di Venezia by Les Percussions de Strasbourg. 

Malika Kishino