I composed this piece in 2011 on a commission for the concert "Sonorous Solitude / Hidehiko Watase Solo Flute Recital," produced by image/air_ (Ippei Hosokoshi). The conditions were that the piece should be as long as possible and written for baritone (Homei Kamie) and flauto traverso (Hidehiko Watase), and that I could use any lyrics I liked. Simply put, the flauto traverso is an ancestor of the contemporary flute. First, Watase-san told me about the instrument's characteristics. I was very interested in its special qualities, which are quite different from those of an ordinary flute, and made a point of incorporating these merits in the composition. In particular, I made extensive use of a playing technique that causes the sound to waver slightly in a ripple-like way. (This is possible with a normal flute, too, but I think that with the traverso it produces a more direct, profound feeling.)
As for the lyrics, just when I was thinking of writing a piece with the ocean as its theme—partly because the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami had happened that year—I came across "Andersen's Swan Song," a serial tanka poem written by a young Kenji Miyazawa. This tanka was based on "Twenty-eighth Evening" in Hans Christian Andersen's "A Picture-book without Pictures." In this short story, written from the moon's point of view, a swan that seems to be tired from its journey glides down to a moonlit ocean at night, floats on the surface, and resumes its flight when the sun comes up. In the music I depicted the scene in a general way through long solo parts on flauto traverso and a song performed by the baritone in between. Another important focus was exploring the power of the actual intertwining of sound and words. I also hoped, in composing this piece, that it would create a space that deviates slightly from everyday life and produce a palpable feeling of a place seldom seen, combining repose and anxiety—just like an ocean where a swan would come down to rest.
Sadly, Homei Kamie, who sang in the premiere of this piece, passed away in 2015. This CD is dedicated to his memory. (Masamichi Kinoshita / translation by Cathy Fishman)
The second release on the Ftarri sublabel Ftarri Classical, which specializes in composed pieces in the contemporary classical genre, is a work written by Masamichi Kinoshita. Born in 1969 in Ono City, Fukui Prefecture, Kinoshita is a contemporary classical composer currently based in Tokyo. In addition to composing, he performs improvisation using electric devices, and organizes concerts. Kinoshita has performed a number of times at Ftarri (in Tokyo) and previously released two CDs made up of performances held at Ftarri: "Electric Powered Music Concert" (meenna-877), with Kinoshita, Tomoki Tai, Takumi Ikeda and Takuya Harashima; and Masamichi Kinoshita's "Ftarri's Harmonium" (meenna-873).
In 2011, Masamichi Kinoshita composed the piece "Andersen's Swan Song" (for baritone and flauto traverso)—with lyrics based on Kenji Miyazawa's serial tanka poem of the same name—on a commission for a solo recital by flutist Hidehiko Watase. This CD documents a 41-minute performance of this work by Hidehiko Watase on flauto traverso (an ancestor of the contemporary flute) and baritone Homei Kamie, held at a church in Tokyo in December 2012. Sadly, Homei Kamie passed away in 2015. This CD is dedicated to his memory.