Live premiere performance with Taka Kigawa - Piano; Yoko Reikano Kimura - Shamisen; James Nyoraku Schlefer - Shakuhachi. May 20, 2018. A Kyo-Shin-An Arts Commission.
TORIO is the word for trio or trio sonata in Japanese, but it also has two less common meanings - a female street musician who plays shamisen, and also “to hold a ceremony”, in particular a traditional ceremony held at the new year that involves children singing songs to chase away birds as they walk in procession from house to house. This piece makes reference to all three definitions: it is a processional piece for an imagined bird-chasing ceremony, includes a shamisen, and is a modern take on a Baroque trio sonata. While a traditional Baroque trio sonata has basso continuo (or bass line) running throughout the piece, Torio has virtually no low parts at all. Instead an upper register “continuo” is created by is the piano playing repetitive patterns in the extreme upper register, with the sustain pedal engaged. This creates a mist of harmonics and overtones that envelopes the piece as well as, I hope, gently yet firmly chasing away whatever birds might be around.