Sayokaze - Nocturnal Breeze - is based on three poems, which are in the waka style of Japanese poetry, written by my best friend, Shizuyo Takeda who is not only a fine pianist living in Paris but also a talented poet. This is the second collaboration after Mutsutama which was the first collaborative work with her and performed in Boston last fall. As we could easily imagine, looking at the title Sayokaze, those three poems in this song cycle are not dramatic of very emotional. I felt, however, that they express things we see in our daily lives and ask us how much we sense and appreciate beauty and power of nature. One thing that I kept in my mind while composing was to let my music connect to those poems as naturally as possible, as if they would merge into one.
"Nibiiro no Tori" for tenor, soprano saxophone, and piano
The Gray Bird - Nibiiro no Tori – is the fourth collaboration with Ms. Le Nestour. She composed this poem after my father passed away, imagining what his message to his loved ones would be. The style of this poem is called chôka, which literally means a long poem and is built with a succession of five - seven syllables (5-7-5-7 ….. 7-7). It was very difficult to read through without being emotional for a long time. Even though my feelings would never change, it was necessary to face reality – meaning that I needed to complete this project, receive my father’s message, and move on. This was my way of saying, “thank you” to him, and he continues to live in my heart.