A Bonsai Garden, Set IX (Piano Trio No. 2)

Yokai Nocturnes

Trio (2014)
Violin, Cello, Piano

I. Kitsune-bi
II. Kappa Nocturne
III. Kappa-maki and Kitsune-udon
IV. Kitsune Nocturne
V. Tan-tan Tanuki
VI. Kappa rising from the depths…
VII. Nekomata Nocturne
VIII. Transformation Dance

Premiere programmed for April 18, 2016 in New York City by North/South Consonance Ensemble, specializing in new music from the Americas. Concert information here.

Score Sample

Duration: c. 15 minutes

Yokai are mythical creatures from Japanese fairy tales and stories. Four of these creatures form the inspiration for A Bonsai Garden, Sex IX, whose movements in general are rather short in duration, and whose stylistic juxtapositions have become an important part of my working process.

The four creatures are: Kitsune—a shape shifting creature most often represented as a fox-woman; Kappa—a water goblin, a cross between a giant salamander and a tortoise; the Tanuki–based on Japan’s “raccoon dogs,” are somewhat playful troublemakers; and finally Nekomata—a sly, two-tailed cat.

As the process of writing the first seven movements led me to some very dark, nocturnal places, I wanted to lighten things up with the final “Transformation Dance” movement, a “fox-trot” as it were, but sounding at times like a tango and other times like a danzón.