Emergence from Autumn Darkness to Spring
for Jiari-Shakuhachi and Jinashi-Shakuhachi (2015)
duration: 10′ 00″
1 Jiari-Shakuhachi (lacquered), [1.8 shaku length]; plus voice; 1 Jinashi-Shakuhachi (un-lacquered), or soft-toned wooden or unlacquered bamboo shakuhachi [1.8 shaku length]; plus voice and crotales [1 pitch D; sounding two octaves higher than written] with brass mallets, rubber mallets and percussion bow (or double bass bow)
score available from
Emergence from Autumn Darkness, (bars 28-32)—Emerging Breath and Ritual Sound
Performance note: Miyoshi Izumi commissioned Emergence from Autumn Darkness to Spring for performance at the Japan Federation of Composers concert in Tokyo on the 24th February 2016.
Emergence from Autumn Darkness to Spring is emotionally about an emergence from a long darkness into an ecstatic heavenly release, as if autumn had been transfigured into spring. The changing seasons are a metaphor of the burden of a friend’s death and coming to terms with it through music. The music draws on traditional Japanese Noh play’s jo-ha-kyū, using its five-part dan structure to create an intensification of instrumental colour from breath, to ecstatic pitch flourishes, and a quick return to air sounds. Symbolic sounds interlace and emerge in the structure of the music; Christian glossolalia (speaking in tongues) chanting frame the work, whilst Japanese Gagaku court music emerges in tangled, overlapping lines as type of heart cry at the most intense part of the structure—the third dan. The spiritual symbols of heaven and higher dimensions within an arch shaped musical intensification design are about loss and transcendence of the individual, who moves to perhaps a heavenly dimension.
Emergence from Autumn Darkness to Spring is dedicated to my friend and encourager Jack Body.
Mulgoa Nature Reserve in Spring–Alive with reverberant sounds
Emergence from Darkness
for solo harp (2015)
duration: 15′ 00″
Yukiko Hirao (harp), Chamber Music Hall, Aichi University of the Arts, Japan
Performance note: Yukiko Hirao (harp) performed Emergence from Darkness at the East Meets West concert in the Chamber Music Hall, Aichi University of the Arts, Japan on the 17th December 2015.
score available from
Emergence from Darkness, (bars 67-72)—Gagaku colour and Koto Gesture
Emergence from Darkness is structurally and emotionally music that is about an emergence from darkness—the almost inaudible sounds and tensions arising from violent atmospheres into stronger utterances. The dirty ‘blues-like’ sounds that perforate the music come from rapidly changing pedal positions whilst a note is in play to create textural roughness and are complimented by single sliding notes as melodic emphasis devices. These colours span out into an array of colouristic techniques including Korean gayageum flicking techniques and Japanese koto grace-note gestures to energize both single notes and melodic phrases. What emerges in the work, from the opening cluster sounds, is the revealing of Japanese Gagaku-based sonorities and sadly arching melodic phrases, that sit still and aching in the air but ruptured by bluesy fragments. The Yokohama skyline and its sudden juxtaposition of shapes that allow for the flow of peoples through the city inspired the structure of the music. In the music, near silent sounds gradually emerge, reappear and end the work amid denser sections that suddenly emerge in a series of juxtapositions; here the musical flow through time moves into sudden emergences of emotion and cathartic sound as its point.
Akira Kobayashi commissioned Emergence from Darkness (harp) for performance at Aichi University of the Arts as part of a Collaborator residency. Both Aichi University of the Arts and the Australian Commonwealth through the Australia-Japan Foundation, which is part of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, supported the residency.