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Interplay of Sound and Silence

Midori's series of blog posts about the pieces that she will perform with pianist Charles Abramovic on March 23 continues today with her thoughts on her countryman Toshio Hosokawa's Vertical Time Study III.


"Music is the place where notes and silence meet."—Toshio Hosokawa

In his early twenties, Hosokawa studied in Berlin for several years with the exiled Korean composer Isang Yun, and the post-war European style remains a major influence of his music, alongside intrinsic Eastern aesthetic principles. Yun, along with Tōru Takemitsu, encouraged the incorporation of Japanese traditions and challenged his protégée to further develop this cultural balance in his compositions.

The Vertical Time Study is a three-part series which challenges the conventions of the performers and the listeners by focusing not on the chronological sequence of sounds, but on examining all the tones and colors of each single note and the gaps between them.

In his own writings on Vertical Time Study III, Hosokawa describes this work in terms of calligraphy; the violin is the brush, while the piano is the canvas background upon which the ink is spread. A defining characteristic of Hosokawa's music is the interplay between sound and silence, and both elements are weighted with equal importance. The silence, to Hosokawa, represents the boundless, infinite possibilities of humanity and the natural world.

© 2008 by Midori, OFFICE GOTO Co. Ltd.

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