Exhibition 6: Three Japanese Soundscapes by Marty Regan

Three Japanese Soundscapes

for Japanese instruments

Music created by Marty Regan


Composer’s notes:

Three Japanese Soundscapes is my first composition for Japanese instruments ensemble. It was composed over a three-month period from November 2000 to January 2001, just a few months after I arrived in Tokyo as a Japanese government-sponsored research student and started taking lessons on the shakuhachi, studying composition for traditional Japanese instruments, and playing taiko.

This piece reflects a period in my development as a cross-cultural composer when I was completely enamored with traditional Japanese music. The multiple influences in this piece are subtle and difficult to pinpoint, but my aim was to give voice to the sonic soundscape that surrounded me in my daily life in Tokyo. There are elements of numerous genres of traditional Japanese music that live in the work, including classical koto and shakuhachi repertoire, Japanese theater music, and festival taiko music, not to mention gendai-h?aku (contemporary music for traditional instruments) and the undeniable influence of my teacher, Minoru Miki.

It is divided into three movements, Jo, Ha, and Kyu. These terms are borrowed from gagaku (Japanese imperial court music imported from China during the seventh-century) and classical koto repertoire, referring to a traditional aesthetic form characterized by specific tempo relationships. Jo is an introduction characterized by a slow, irregular, and fluctuating pulse, Ha is characterized a regular pulse that gradually accelerates, and Kyu is characterized by rushing forward to a dynamic and textural climax. While this served a basic starting point for the piece, I depart from the form on numerous occasions. My use of the term, therefore, is more allegorical than descriptive. That is to say, I use the term to pay homage to the many genres of traditional Japanese music that are reflect in the piece.

The first two movements are monothematic, and towards the end of the third movement after an exciting taiko cadenza, these two themes reappear and are layered on top of each other as the taiko leads the ensemble into a wild, exciting, and fiery finish reminiscent of a boisterous Japanese festival. Three Japanese Soundscapes was premiered at National Theater in June 2001 as part of the National Theater of Japan Composition Contest for Traditional Japanese Instruments.

About the composer


Marty Regan (b. 1972) has composed over 50 works for traditional Japanese instruments and since 2002 has been affiliated with AURA-J, one of Japan’s premiere performance ensembles of contemporary-traditional Japanese music. He graduated from Oberlin College in 1995 with a B.M. in Composition and a B.A. in English and East Asian Studies. From 2000 to 2002 he studied composition and took applied lessons on traditional Japanese instruments as a Japanese government-sponsored research student at Tokyo College of Music. In 2002, his composition Song-Poem of the Eastern Clouds (2001) for shakuhachi and 21-string koto was premiered at the 5th Annual Composition Competition for Traditional Japanese Instruments at the National Theatre of Japan. He completed his Ph.D. in Music with an emphasis in Composition at the University of Hawai‘i, Manoa in 2006. His works for Japanese instruments riverrun (2003), Light of the Rainbow (2003), dragoneyes (2004), wildfire (2005), Maqam (2008), Evanescent Yearning…(2008), Shadows of the Moon, (2008), 21-String Koto Concerto No. 2: “Love” (2009), In the Night Sky (2010), and Shadows of the Flames (2011) have been recorded and released on various record labels. His English translation of Minoru Miki’s orchestration manual, Composing for Japanese Instruments was published in 2008 by the University of Rochester Press. In 2010, Navona Records released a compact disc of his works entitled “Marty Regan’s Selected Works for Japanese Instruments, Vol. 1: Forest Whispers…” The second volume in the Selected Works for Japanese Instruments series, subtitled Magic Mirror, was released in 2012 by the same label. In 2011 he was affiliated as a research scholar at Shanghai Conservatory of Music, where he took applied lessons on traditional Chinese instruments. He is an Assistant Professor of Music at Texas A&M University. For more information, visit www.martyregan.com


今までに50曲を超える邦楽作品を作曲している。’02年以降は、現代邦楽を演奏する主要グループの一つであるオーラJに所属。 ’95年オハイオ州オバーリン大学作曲科及び東アジア研究科卒。国費研究留学生として、東京音楽大学院作曲専攻に在籍していた。’02年文化庁舞台芸術創作奨励国立劇場作曲コンクールに尺八と二十絃箏のための「東雲の詩」(2001) で入賞。’06年ハワイ大学作曲科博士課程修了。「riverrun」(2003)「虹の光」(2003)「dragoneyes」(2004)「wildfire」(2005)「マカーム」(2008)「細雪を想い…」(2008)「月影幻想曲」(2008) 「二十絃協奏曲第二番:愛」(2009)「夜空にて」(2010) 「炎影」(2011) 等の邦楽作品がCD化されている。三木稔著「日本楽器法」(音楽之友社)の英語版翻訳を’08年版。’10年ナボーナレコードによって、自作品CD「マーティン・リーガンの和楽器による作品集第一番:森が囁いて…」がリリースされた。そして和楽器の為の作品第II集となるCD「魔鏡」は、同レーベルより2012年にリリースされた。’11年研究員として上海音楽院作曲専攻に在籍し、中国伝統的楽器の個人レッスンを受けた。現在、アメリカのテキサス州、A&M大学にて助教授として後進の指導にあたる。ウエブサイト参照:www.martyregan.com


All sounds, music and text copyright © 2006-2012 by Marty Regan


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