Tone Colors of Autumn
by tendo zenji
The Seattle Shakuhachi Study Group has for the last four years held a weekend long Shakuhachi Matsuri with workshops and performances. This year, for the first time, they held a separate performance at the Seattle Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park. This concert was a mix of contemporary and traditional pieces, both solo and in trio. There was also one duo piece with Mitsuki Dazai playing koto. I attending the performance part of the last two Shakuhachi Matsuri and I was particularly looking forward to seeing this expanded performance in a more concert oriented venue.
SAAM has a small hall which they primarily use for lectures that was used for this performance. Its acoustics are perhaps not ideal but since it wasn’t too packed most people could sit close enough that you would hear the musicians directly as opposed to within the space. The concert primarily featured the three shakuhachi players visiting from Japan but also Larry Tyrrell (shakuhachi) and Mitsuki Dazai (koto) both from Oregon.
The first set consisted of:
Tabibito no Uta (composed by Rando Fukuda) performed by Kaoru Kakizaki
Takiochi (traditional) performed by Kazushi Matama
Yumeji MODAN 1 & 3 (composed by Keisuke Doi) performed by Teruo Furuya and Mitsuki Dazai
Mushi Zuki Yo (composed by Rando Fukuda) performed by Larry Tyrrell
The Mountains Remain (composed by Larry Terrell) performed by KSK Trio
My primary interest in shakuhachi is the Zen influenced Honkyoku repertory of which Takiochi was the only example performed in this set. While definitely the highlight of this set, I greatly admired the duet with the koto and found the contemporary Rando solo piece that Larry Tyrrell performed spellbinding. All of the performances were spectacular and I learned a lot watching each of the different performers.
After a short break the second set commenced:
Kikyou Gensou Kyoku (composed by Rando Fukuda) performed by Teruo Furuya
San’An (traditional) performed by Kaoru Kakizaki
Wadatsumi no Iroko no Miya (composed by Rando Fukuda arr. Tomiko Kojiba) performed by KSK Trio
As with the last set, this one contained one piece of Honkyoku which again was absolutely absorbing. I’ve seen Kaoru Kakizaki play Honkyoku at the last two Matsuri and I love his playing. I’d been unfamiliar with Rando Fukuda prior to this concert (though I had heard a few of his pieces here and there) and this was a good introduction to his music. He studied traditional shakuhachi music as well as contemporary western composition. He composed many pieces for television and thus would utilize both modern and traditional styles. I really appreciated getting this introduction to his music and the trio in this set along with the solo piece that Larry played in the last set were really highlights for me of his compositions.