Mr. Hifumi Shimoyama
Brussels, 23 May 2000
Dear Mister Hifumi Shimoyama,
It was a real chance to correspond by e-mail with Mr. Hiroshi Kawnabe, this one becoming a real friend I think. By this way he proposed me to discover a very interesting Japanese composer and told me he will ask you to send me some records. To gain time as I will be abroad for about 3 weeks I decided to send this letter by e-mail.and ask to Hiroshi to transmit it to you.
I received your letter, dated 17 may, yesterday 22, night, coming back from my office.
I thank you really much for your invaluable present.
I could not restrain any longer and just after dinner I was fiery installed to listen your works. I must immediately confirm that I am enthousiast. Congratulation, bravo and bravissimo !!
I would like to reproduce the nota I took during the hearing of each score. I begg your pardon if my feelings are not as fine as your work but these are frankly done and reproduced without any change. I'll surely will listen these CDs more and more times.
What I transcript first was my main conclusions:
¨ first the choice of the instruments giving colour. I like it really much.
¨ second, my preference for the pieces written end of 70th till now.
I'll try now to translate my feelings score by score and CD by CD.
1.Structure for four players : I am really found of the sound of the clarinet bass.The score let me remember some notion in solid state physics. I'll try to explain as simple as I can. When you have a crystal you want to describe there are three main categories of doing.
First: describe the crystal in 3D as anyone could see it.
Second: to make a projection of each crystal plane in a way that perpendiculars coming from each crystal plane cross a plane outside the crystal.
Third: to use the notion of a reciprocal network [In simple words, let's suppose that you could bend each space direction (x, y, z) as a circle. It is of course impossible to realize such mechanically but mathematically it is and realize the best possible description, base of the modern physics in solid state ]. For me this score enter the second way of description. It gives some stochastical impressions,.like a firework, everything beeing control somewhere in a way unpredictable by the listeners at first glance. Due to the choice of the instruments the sound let me feel a bunch of beautiful colours ( I will come back at the end about colour).
2. Dialog for cello and piano. full of new ideas. I give my preference to this second piece before I'll hear the next ones . Bravo !! Lovely ! I range this score in the third way of description of the crystal but not always. it's a mixed decription between 2 and 3 way.
3. Kaze No Toh: really fantastic. I like peculiarly the timber of this music given mainly by the koto [ a question: what means 20gen and 17gen Koto ? the number of cords installed on the instrument ? Sorry I'm a westener not aware from this wonderful instrument (probably Hiroshi will immediately telling me what it means and correct my ignorance !) ]. Description is for me of the third kind. I make a preference between these 3 scores : 3 > 2 > 1
4. Doubridge : tremendous good. Hi Hifumi, congratulation ! That's great ! Let me hear more like this. Full of genius ! Bravissimo ! For me at the same level as score 3 and again of the third kind of description. What a maestria !
5. Juhgenism : I felt heraldic and court music sharing the score. Is it right ? Again I like very much and put it in the third category at the same level as score 3 and 4
6. Wave: cello is a so wonderful instrument (my preferred one with the violin and… the koto and the shakuhachi mainly played like Japaneses can). What an inspired construction. It's astonishing the way you could give new dimensions ( in mathematics: some Hilbert space) It gives me a feeling about Penderecki but I prefer yours. Much more clever construction.
I would like to know the names of the performers of each score. I can not read japanese and that is really sad for I'd be interested to read about the different scores. Now I made a classification of what I prefer in this CD. (6, 5 , 4 and 3) > 2 >1
CD: SDL-JP 30.001
1. Exorcism for 5 strings: extraordinary diversity of sounds. really interesting, bow knocking the cords, sul ponticello, pizz, sliding tone and so on. I'm really interested by such study. A real master this composer !
2. Breath for female voice: at first I'll surprise perhaps you a little but I heard in a small village on the island of Ibiza (mediterranean sea) a man singing very old art of recitative (we say "melopee" in French - I don't put the accent to avoid a wrong decorative e-mail transmission) which sounds about the same as the introduction of this score. After 2 or 3 minutes it changes completely and become asiatic in sound. It's really original but it is not my preferred work due maybe to the second way of description giving a too stochastic effect.
3. Transmigration: Best prefer score of this CD till now, to put (for me of course) with the top scores of the first CD. Here I put: 3>1 >2
4. Ichigo no Tsukikage: Superb ! I find that cello and Koto marry well. Again at the top; Bravo!!
5. Keikyo(u?): very attractive too !
Wow ! What an evening ! Thanks thanks and thanks to you and to Hiroshi to let me know your work. It's really splendid . I became a fan of your work. Techically these CDs are perfect too. what a sound !
Well I'll try now to continue the classification I made for the first CD applied to the two CDs.
I(6 + 5 + 4 + 3) + II(5 + 4 + 3) > I(2) + II(1) > I(1) + II(2)
I would like now to express a vow, if I dare I would tell it's a suggestion: that you realize a triple concerto with cello, shakuhashi and koto and a light but normal orchestra. Could it be possible ? And in such case to have the record (of course !!). I became really a fan of your musical way to compose, so… don't let me cry too much and follow your fantastic job !!
Now I have to propose you something. I've to explain something strange in my life. I'm affected by what is called in French "synesthesie". I do not find the translated word in my dictionnary but it means that sound and colour are correlated. When I hear someone speaking I see colours. When I hear japanese, the language is really coloured. when I hear Italian, also. when I hear hungarian really less. When I hear Thai language its horrible ! When I hear flamish it's really dull and so on. Why, I don't know but it is so.
A painter, friend of my family (all classical professionnals in music or painters) was really interested by such and told me he would realized non figurative paintings on poems. Unfortunately he died in an accident. From that time I've never spoke about this fact with no one. In some mounthes I will retire and could devote much more time to what I'm interested in, art mainly.
As I don't think I could be able to compose at the level you did I would ask you if you are interested by such fact. Hiroshi told me that he is really concerned with Haiku poetry. Why not try to translate haiku in music with a special key.
If you come one day in Belgium, don't hesitate to come in visit.You could stay at home. and we could discuss about how to realize such key. Of course I don't know if such idea was already realized or not but if not it could be an interesting new way of expression.
I thank you again to have send your CDs and want to congratulate you really hard
Thanks Mister Hifumi Shimoyama !!
A fan for ever