THE DISTANCE OF THE MOON by Takuma Itoh.
Yoko Reikano Kimura, James Nyoraku Schlefer, Cassatt String Quartet
The title of the piece comes from a short story by the Italian writer Italo Calvino from his collection Cosmicomics. In this imaginative story, Calvino takes a scientific fact – the Earth and the moon have slowly been drifting apart for eons – to beyond the threshold of reality, and imagines a time long ago when the moon was so close to the Earth that people could simply take a long ladder to traverse the two worlds. The actual story takes place around the time the moon starts drifting just far enough away that the moon-crossing crew begins to have trouble going back and forth, sometimes get- ting caught hovering between the two worlds, and occasionally even get- ting stuck on the moon for weeks. While Calvino’s story is ingenious, my composition is not a retelling of the moon-crossing adventures and mis- haps. Instead, I found the premise of the story to be a great representation of how I could approach a work that used both traditional Japanese instruments (shakuhachi and koto) and the string quartet. Historically, these two sound worlds have rarely interacted in proximity, but in this work, I wanted to imagine a musical language that would allow me to freely mingle and hover between the two, in the same way the characters in the story are able to freely move from Earth to the moon before the two drifted apart.