Just now I am trying to write something like an essay in English and I would like to show my view about music. Since the time this site has started, sometimes I have written essays in Japanese and updated them. If you could read Japanese text, you are able to see these on this TAIKODO's Japanese site. These essays show you my own thought about the relation between our contemporary music, our daily life and Japanese traditional music, play, language, other activities etc. I have tried to translate some of them into English. But this job is very difficult because it needs complicated steps of translation skill. On the other side, I would like to update something I wrote in English on this site. So, what kind of English essay should I write just now? My English vocabulary will increase in near future. That might be "time problem", so that probably I will show you some of my idea about music. We are nice when we can enjoy musics, and what I can do is to somehow show you my own musical world in English. I will win to do this work step by step.
Two years ago I have written my three thoughts about constructing music on this site as follows;
1. Musical activities are carried out into a certain limited environment.
2. The materials of one music are all which we have experienced before constructing of the music.
3. Music is not language.
Actually, time is one of the most important attribute of music. It is certain, but at the same time I am very interested in space in which music will be constructed. I have no good idea about the relation between time and space. However, irrational expansion and reduction of time often have possibility of causing our smile etc. And these fact may causes the character of space. So it may be say that the character of space is one of the result which is caused by the expansion and reduction of time. We know a certain tone includes some expressions. This is the reason why we can do many kinds of depictions of nature, humanity etc. And the fact we often see these in our daily experiences shows that these expressions of tones are our well-known fact, not the result of any kinds of experiments. In other words, we know many sort of expression of tone halfway unconsciously. I thought this is very important and captivating attribute of musical experiences and I would like to use these "unconscious function" in my own composing.
I want to do expressions using unconsciousness...I am not a criminal. I don't have any idea and materials for any "unconscious harassment". If possible I will make some joke in English and let me decrease my headache which results from my shortage of a vocabulary of English. Actually I like to say jokes in Japanese very much! What I would like to consider about is communication. Of course, there is strong relation between music and language. So we can enjoy both music and oral communication. That I want to say is music is not the language itself. As you know, in the expressions of music we can see what cannot be explained by means of language. This is easy to understand for us. But to understand what is musical expressions is not always easy. Our daily life is not always simple. Similarly, the musical world may also be quite complicated. But there is no reason make it spread, even so we keep music at arm's length. It is wonderful to enjoy favorite music to each person.
I am continuing getting interested in occurrences other than various music in Japan or the world, performing musical activities in Japan. I am interested in festival, conversation with friends, reading books, play on wards and travel. I want to continue music in relation by reality. To write essays in English is the expression of my curiosity. There may be an elementary mistake in my English. I beg your understanding.
A certain kind of contemporary piano music require touching the strings inside piano construction when they are performed. However, at most of the concert hall in Tokyo, such a way inside the piano is not allowed. Once, a Japanese young male pianist has appeared at a certain concert hall in Tokyo and recklessly rolled his head on the keyboards of the piano! That was his way of performing the piano on stage. The pianist didn't touch inside the piano, but the owner of the hall had been surprised and afraid - he had every reason - and forbidden all the abnormal performing of the piano. This talk is famous among us Japanese musical persons concerned. My friend Ross is New Zealander. He said me about this talk "It is like Karate". - In my knowledge, probably Japanese Karate's skill don't include the technique of using heads. - Anyway in fact to perform contemporary piano music in Tokyo has great limit for pianists. This is a fact. Not a joke!
On April, three years ago, I have held a piano concert at a certain Zen-temple. We used the place called "Hondo of the temple" as the hall. That concert title was "Some questions for John Cage". As an American composer, John Cage was very interested in Zen and the idea of SUZUKI Daisetsu, Japanese Zen monk. So the concert was a kind of experimental event for listening to contemporary music enjoying the spring cherry-blossom and wonderful moon. The result was success. But when the rehearsal I have found out some curious attributes of the hall. This concert was in fact a cherry-blossom viewing event. So, not as usual, the doors around the hall were all removed. Audience sit down at the center of hall. They see the cherry-blossom lighted up by moonlight outdoor. So the place I have been allowed to use was the brink of the hall. When I have sat down the piano chair the back of me was the open. Spring wind was blowing through the hall. The temple became old for use and the floor was a little bit leaned toward the open. Naturally, I had to perform on the sloped floor, at the brink of the hall. The ground is about 2 meters under. I felt uneasy. But the only way was to accustom to this dangerous situation. For a while I was troubled by feeling of slight seasickness. It was a time-problem to being accustom to this feeling. I have no good idea about this strange situation. Do my best. The sunset. Outside has become dark. That was the time to start the performance, but the lighting technician was not professional. Nobody takes up the light. No light. There is no help for it except moonlight. I could see the slightly lighted keyboards by moon. It's a time to dash. I made sure of my attitude and started to play the piano navigated by the slight moonlight. Cage's piano music was mysteriously and wild. I have caught the feeling of concentration of audience. Both audience and I have heard the sound of trains passing through far from the hall. OK. Nice! It was a very moody night. And nice experience also for me. Not a lie.
A good composer is not always a good technician as a pianist. A composition allow the performer some kinds of interpretations, so a composer often shows his unique endowments in case of his piano performance. When he plays his own piano works, he asserts based on this unique endowments. But when he performs a works of other composer, he has to perform depending on the other composer's manner of construction. He does a personal conversation with other composer via music. He is interested in another composer, so he tries to play this composer's piano work as his challenge. The result often shows us special property. The priority of a composer is his own music itself. We have some recordings on which a professional composer have played the piano music by other composers. Such recording are few, but often listeners hold the special interest to these. In some case a composer is a great pianist because of his unique subtlety. Shostakovich was not always a technician as a pianist, but his piano performance is quite unique. His piano performance is vivid, so it is no problem of his imperfect skill at all. Leonard Bernstein is world famous as an American great conductor,composer and pianist. He have had astonishing flexibility and virtuosity about performing music. But it is rare to materialize such a case like him. There are lots of composers who play the piano well, but in many case it is difficult to combine being a composer and being a pianist. And, to perform the works of other composers is even necessary for composers.
All the composition is the result of borrowing or quotation from the music of previous age. Composition is recombination. Seemingly any music have their own shape and meaning, but a composer cannot imagine a tone which he has not heard before. Can a painter produce what he has not seen before? The answer is "No". Anybody will not be able to experience what does not exist. Every composer acts under the influence from other composer's activity. This relation of influence is not more simple than the sight. This is the same of the fact that we learn our mother language by hearing, not by theory. All composition basically should be the result of conscious planning, but to construct something should be unfinished origin with some relation with others. We cannot act without the activity of unconsciousness. I imagine this is a valid reason of that a composer sometimes needs to perform other composer's works. This is the path to his own musical world. Seemingly the talk itself is simple, but the path that the composer will walk along includes many secrets which cannot be explained by language, and the landscape around the path is quite complicated. This landscape is full of wonder and paradox.
Even a complete professional musician sometimes makes a strange result which causes the audience's smile or laugh. We dream perfection . However, isn't it OK that the mistake was the result of his great effort? And, very often we have a chance to get the pleasure of fault which leads us to the next captivating scene. It is pleasant to try something about something being interested, isn't it? Even if a composer's finger get twisted during his piano performance, that is not the proof of his incompetence at all. When we can recognize a music via his performance, his entanglement of finger on the keyboard of the piano could be the proof of existence of his own concept and kindliness for the music. So a composer's entanglement of performing the piano have every reason. He will keep on smiling in his mind because of his unique interpretation. I am also laughing about my entanglement of English, but this may be another stuff.
Surely, European classical music brings us these own charm, and often, listening to them is wonderful experience. I agree this clear fact. However, doesn't the music outside Europe have any charm and value? An Asian composer / pianist is considering about this problem. Unexpectedly this matter includes difficulty which is hard to solve. I am a Japanese and have studied the technique of piano performance based on the manner and history of Europe. This way of practice brings me a sort of wall related with the difference of race between Europe and Asia. When I perform the piano music of Japan and many country outside Europe, I need to take another attitude that have clear difference of the manner of European classical music. Europe has its own tone, and Asia have another tone... Is it valid as an explanation? If valid, a certain fact appears on the brightened stage. Any traditional or classical music in the world may be interpreted with difference manner, not with their origin. At that time we ask. On this stage, what is tradition? what is origin? The reason why I ask about this matter is that any music will not be heard as music without its own shape. And, perhaps the shape is at least a part of appearance of the tradition and the origin.
Of course, there is tons of techniques for musical construction and form of music. We experience many kinds of shapes of music in the earth. However, probably the shape of music is the result of our life-experiences. So we will not be able to imagine any contents what we have never heard before. Perhaps it is true that music is over the language and we can share our nationalities and enjoy each other between difference races via music. But, at the same time, it seems that we are good at having knowledge and feeling about music of our mother country. And, very often, we feel fame and priority for the music of our mother countries. Doesn't this perspective become the gap for world wide communication via music? This my question may be nonsense. Rather, the difference or the wall among many races might be necessary for world wide conversation. Our life-experience teaches us that the humanity includes the different property among many races, but, at the same time these are often crossing at the same point beyond the difference of country and nationality. So, we need language and our mother ground of culture. Rather, when these are not same each other, can't we share the foreign culture including music? Such relation is important. In case of music, we need to allow the strange attitude of other culture in order to enjoy the gap itself. I think this way is the first step of the communication via music.
Casually saying, foreign music often shows us something which is difficult to understand. It seems this situation have similarity between the case of language. In fact, this property include the important key for solving the problem for musical communication. This problem is often difficult to solve, even almost impossible. But, if even impossible, we do not need to consider about this matter too seriously. The answer is brought unexpectedly from our honest feeling. So we can experience and taste many kinds of foreign music and even the music of new age.
Nobody is perfect. Humanity shows us not only its merit but also its demerit. So, although the need of a music is to satisfy our eager wish both about physical and mental condition of our mind, this musical effect is not perfect, even in case of our wonderful European music, because no music is perfect. Isn't it the main reason we became wanting to listen to other kinds of music? This should be called balance problem.
When we do not only music but also any sort of activities, we need to take care about technical side of these, because the activities may have violent action. Exactly, in some case, it may be violent. But, I feel, it seems that is not violence itself. The critical and negative attitude which began to disagree oneself. Anyone have this mental attribute. I think that anyone is afraid of the rebel of this attitudes. Anybody will have the same mind as such. But, at this time, the importance is if we are conscious about this attitude. Naturally, each person have each difference attributes of this violent attitudes. When we do not forget what phenomenon we see and hear, and what activities we do, we will be able to take this violent and negative attitudes inside ourselves with great care, not for losing the health related with enough perspective and self-control. This is a present prescription to manage to deal with a certain unsatisfactory situation. We often dream more long-term and sure prospect, but I think it is not so realistic and productive, either. Of course, total planning is necessary for the beginning of any project. But what I am mentioning now is other matter of it. Even if we prepare enough before starting, very often, we collide with a tall wall which we feel hard to get over somehow or other. And in a certain case, we feel impossibility of getting over this wall. Then, I want to ask if there is a wall which is impossible to get over inside our mind. We have definite limit. We cannot sing a song aloud at deep bottom of the sea. We cannot eat lunch using nose. A flight by car is also the same. But it is surely possible for us to imagine such situation. Seemingly, this sort of imagination is not violence especially, and in fact, this may be have little demerit. But when the imagination is too foolish, it may cause one's disappointment or even despair. If such case appear, the conclusion that it is useful to imagine nothing at all will come out. If any joke or witticism is useless, we are only able to mention definite fact. And, mentioning that definite fact, we may begin to feel even the definite fact as if it is doubtful. So doesn't it seem that joke, witticism, lie or something will give wetness which is necessary for our life?
How long did the time go away? Maria, I and persons who remain in the town were waiting the landing of the airplane, at the place where the passenger started on a journey the other day. We are worried about emergency landing. Maria went away to search the airplane. Children were frolicking. I was standing on the road, in front of the book shop named "Pastoral". This is where the airplane has taken off.
How long did I wait? From the direction of cloud, toward me, the airplane has got down. That has returned. The body landed on the road, in front of the book shop named "Pastoral", and after several seconds, it exploded. Passenger seats were blown away, and remained a strange body of which the center was empty.
Children of neighbourhood has run to here unreliably. Maria has returned. A plump, green-dressed boy has been moving around restlessly. Maria looked at the boy and shouted that she could not find out the passengers because of all your restless moving.
Where are all my classmates and neighboring acquaintances who were getting on the airplane going? But there is no reason of their death. I am not sure whether they will return here, but perhaps they are having a good time somewhere.
On July 23, I have held a concert "Dream" in Tokyo. At the concert my new work "Dream", 55 minutes long, was performed. You are able to see some photos of situation of the small hall for this concert below. This concert was a suggestion for 60 spectators.
We have live video recording of the concert. Although this is a document recording, the quality of image and sound is enough to see the situation of the live performance. If possible, I would like to introduce this live document via internet, but this is difficult to realize technically. If you are interested in the result of this concert and wish to see this document, please contact us via mail from here. (Please pay the work expense and mailing cost, 50 US dollars totally.)
Probably it is better that I take summer vocation for a few days. I am thinking to write about the difference of tone among difference races. These will be the thing that could not describe using any words. Various phenomena themselves are not complicated so much, but these reality often cannot allow me to say about anything. For instance, why there is no recording for sale of Bunraku in Japan? Perhaps this will be the question that have no answer. However, there may be temporary explanation. I want to write this to myself. By the reason for saying, since I think now, please wait for a while. As mentioned above, it was the progress report of the summer vacation.
When having struck the keyboard of my computer, the line of the second joint of the right-hand middle finger caused inflammation. It seems that practice of the piano and the input of a computer may be incompatible. It is bad one if my right-hand is not rested for a while in order to write a long text by such a reason using the keyboard of computer. As for me, the handwritten character became dear at it. Under the present circumstances, I wish to upload a handwriting manuscript. This is the blurb of my concert held in Shibuya, Tokyo on November 13.
Although this blurb includes subtle nuance to translate, I try to translate into English by myself. The result is the following about.
Most people say that the works of EMURA Natski is something different when comparing with the other composer's works because EMURA's works have "color". This difference is not connectable with quality of works, nationality and notability. As a pianist, I have preparation to perform the piano works of the other composers. People say also my piano performance have "EMURA Natsuki color". Probably, I had become a large rich man, if this color could be operated from artificiality or production. But, in fact, I cannot see the "color" by myself. Always monochromatic tone. As such, there is the gap between the feeling of my audience and the feeling of mine. I feel this is interesting and it causes power of continuing my activity. What kind of composer-pianist am I?This my next piano concert is entitled "Pianist", the guest pianist is OSUGA Kaori, and the contents are the following.
Bartok:Suite Sz14This concert will be held at Koendori Classics, Sibuya-ku Tokyo, phone 81-3-3464-2710. And for more information, please contact us Taikodo or Tikodiko.
EMURA Natsuki:12 Fanfares (1991-97)
Villa Lobos: Danca do Indio Branco (1936)
KAI Sesshu:Music for piano I (1976)
The premiere of new work for piano and PA reproduction byYONEKURA Kaori
Hindemith:Sonata for 1-piano, 4-hands (1938)
Mussorgski:Pictures at an Exhibition (1874)
I think that I will report a temporary conclusion after various trials for about one month. Music is the product of imaginative power and explaining this imaginative power verbally will say to some extent that only until cannot do. I do not want to have severed the fact that music and the language are compensating each other, when considering the current of globalization. Therefore, I wanted to report in English the charm of strange music experience which they experienced to me. The above purpose essentially seems to be putting the cart before the horse. It is also pleasant to consider whether the things of the kind of comrades cod roe can be described by means of language. For the current of globalization, this will surely play a role. However, this is the work which twists the head fairly and I was twisting the head for one month. In order for us who live to international society not to forget love and laughter, what should we do? Let's work hard without forgetting eroticism. It is wonderful experience to meet a beauty. As mentioned above, it was the operating report which checks the importance of Eros.
Nowadays people always say words against WAR. Exactly we hope Peace. However, we have great nature, and music tries to approach nature. This is radicalism. At least I want to believe this fact. Don't you think so?
During composing my new work, I had mainly been considering about nationality. Usually, music is mentioned as international language. But, in case of Japan, there are some problem against such definition. Some of the world famous Japanese composers shows us their "international" or "global" expression by their activity, but these are not always the reflection of Japanese tradition. Some of Japanese local composers' activities show us the real Japanese tradition, but they are minority. Their works have few chance to be listened to. I am always interested in this sort of localism.
Sometimes I perform the piano works by Bela Bartok. He have been recognized as a scholar of Western Europe fork music. His own composition was not popular among the audience at his age. Today he is very famous as one of the greatest composers among 20th century. I think we all pianist ought to learn his localism via his music. For this subject, I think we should stop doing "cheap imitation" of him. I feel this localism shows the connection of right communications. For this matter, our job could be imperfect. I know that my performance of Bartok's piano works is not very good technically. I would like to show it to you as a proposal from one composer. Therefore, this my essay may be something like a desperate excuse... Are not you probably well?!
For the late six month, I have mainly been considering about my mother country Japan. On the Japanese pages of this site I have updated essays about Japanese local situation, so these essay includes lots of cheap jokes which is impossible to translate into other language. So, I could not write both Japanese essay and English essay at the same time. This could be called "Wall of word". That thinking about "Wall of word" during the "world war" might not be without any connection.
For the late 10 years, we have held 16 concerts. This number is not large, but, as music concert, they might be unique. Just now we are settling the recording of these concerts on CD and DVD. This summer we will able to show you the result on this site. The latest concert was held on June 11. The title was "Imperfect conversations, which had been done among women of different characters".
Most of us are living without world-wide fame. That is normal attitude as human being. But we should have something which we can believe. Of course there are famous culture that have created the limited creativity. Are we satisfy only using the products of others activity?
When I went to New York about three years ago I have experienced the exhibition of Gerhard Richter. This exhibition was held at The Museum of Modern Art, and for me it was the first chance I could see the works of this famous German painter. This museum is the place where Ives Tanguy, one of my favorite painter, sometimes held his one-man show during his lifetime. There is a collection of his masterpieces in this museum, so I expected it would be able to see Tanguy's works. Unfortunately I could not find his paintings at this time. Instead of it, I could see Richter's very exciting works. It was a rainy day.
Tanguy is known as a surrealist. All of his paintings are filled with many objects that we feel difficulty to understand. But I like this difficult shapes and the feeling of color, although I am also almost hard to understand these. Recently I have tried to hold what Tanguy wanted to show us. I have not studied the theory or meaning of his works. Turning pages of his book of paintings, I tried whether I can step inside the meaning of his paintings. I might have succeeded, and might have failed. I do not know well about it. The fact is that Tanguy gave me something and I cought something from him. What I caught have no shape and I cannot see it. I can only feel it.
It is almost the same of Richter. He paints a toilet paper roll hanged on the wall. He paints lots of portraits of famous persons of 20th century, which are near to photo. These are the all, at least on his canvases. I might be able to say some words about something radical. Richter himself also says and writes his thought on his books. Recently, I found out the painter's own words on his book ; What should I paint? How should I paint? The most difficult matter is this "what". Honestly, this words gave me peace of mind. I found such way of considering can be in existence.
If we say "all is mind", we have no need to do anything. The main problem is whether we hold any interest or attention about attributes which cannot see. Mentioning some events, we might need to say something about such problem of meaning.