Rei MUNAKATA: Kuragari (2017) for piano solo

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Rei Munakata Kuragari (2017) for piano solo


Introduction Kuragari (2017) for piano solo is commissioned by pianist Sanae Yoshida to celebrate the Blue Bell Concert Series 30th anniversary. First performance: Sanae Yoshida, August 14th 2017, Sapporo Concert Hall Kitara, Sapporo Japan.

Instrumentation Grand piano with 3 pedals. The lid completely opened.

Preferred performance condition: •

Wear one of the followings: ✴ Japanese Kimono (with black or dark colour belt if possible) ✴ Western clothing with black and/or white

Program Note Kuragari (2017) for piano solo As the tide fills up, shall we gather the piano keys soon? Today is the perfect day for the piano keys. Before the finger is sucked into the horizon. Hit…Scatter away…attracted… Kuragari (2017) for piano solo 潮が満ちてくるので、そろそろピアノの 叩いて。散って。惹かれて。

盤でもかき集めませんか。今日は

盤日和ですよ。指が吸い取られる前がいい。

指をゆるりと落としましょう、事象の地平線まで。

Compositional idea and concept:

(The following text should NOT be presented to the audience in any form) Kuragari is about the power of "gravity" or "absorption", the feeling of falling and failing into a particular darkness physically and psychologically. The piano, a black box with lots of vibrating strings, is like a black hole sucking up all the notes and noise, even the performer him/herself. ¨Attraction¨ is also an important compositional element. A sense of charisma, temptation, and obsession... The piece is based on the very moment of a finger falling onto the key, and the moment of the finger having contact with the key for the first time. The theatrical element of the piece also emphasises the sensation of the key touching. Nobody knows where you end up if you fall into a black hole. Perhaps ¨home¨? Musical material of Kuragari consists of quotation from music by Debussy together with Japanese sense of timing (idea of ¨ma¨) and concentration. Fantastic pianist Sanae Yoshida gave the first performance wearing kimono with black belt which beautifully illustrated the core of the work.

Performance Notes In general, Kuragari (2017) for piano solo should be performed with a great sense of concentration.

Note heads Black note head (¨●¨)

Normal piano playing

Cross note head (¨x¨)

Percussive tapping of the key without letting the hammer touch the string. Only noise.

Triangle note head (¨▽¨)

Tap the wooden piano frame between the keys and the performer.

Torso (¨T¨)

Tap/hit the torso of the performer with palms from stomach to chest.

Cheek (¨C¨)

Slap the cheeks of the performer with palms.

Side arm ¨Top¨ = On top of the piano frame next to the highest register keys. ¨Side¨= The side of the piano frame on the treble side facing the audience.


Strike the ¨top¨of the side arm with palm. Notated with cross note head on the one line staff.

¨s.a.¨= abbreviation of ¨Side arm¨. Gently caress the ¨side¨of the side arm. Approximately 20 - 30 cm. Notated graphically above the one line staff.

Rhythm Dotted line with black note head = Repeat the indicated note as fast as possible during the duration indicated with a thin line.

Dotted line with cross note head = Tap the indicated key repeatedly as fast as possible without letting the hammer hits the string during the duration indicated with a thin line. Dotted line above thin line = Keep repeating (cross note head). Dotted line above thick line = Keep repeating and gradually change from cross note head to black note head.

¨Drunken¨Beam The phrase on the lower staff is notated with a ¨drunken¨ beam (the wavy beam), and this indicates that the rhythm of the phrase should be performed freely and irregular with a sense of rubato. Notice that the rhythm on the upper staff is strictly notated as contrast.

Physical movements All physical movements (walking into the stage, sitting down, pressing the pedals, raising the arms, dropping the fingers on the keys, etc) during the performance should be carefully planned, organic, and focused with a sense of attraction (obsession) as if you, your soul, your fingers, and every part of your body are attracted by the piano keys. Focus on the very moment of the finger touching the keys.

Slowly raise the left hand in the air, and move to the low register keys as indicated. Before the left hand reach the keys, slowly start to raise the right hand in the air. Slowly start pressing the low register keys silently with the left hand while the right hand is moving in the air and preparing for the next gesture. The left foot very slowly and gradually press the sostenuto pedal to hold the low register keys as shown in the graphic. This whole sequence of movements must be gradual, natural, and as slow as possible like a slow motion film.

Suddenly raise the hands in the air as high as possible. Gradually and very slowly move the hands towards the keys. Start lowering the hands VERY SLOWLY one by one (r.h. first) with a delicate touch with a sense of tender love. Focus on your hand sensation and enjoy the very moment of each cell of your palm landing on the key one by one. Seductive and concentrated. When the r.h. reaches the keys completely, start placing the l.h., and gradually the arm (always keep the r.h. palm on the keys). Adjust the body position slightly for easier access.

The same idea from the earlier example (both hands up, slowly place palm and arm on the keys) except this time the performer places the face on the keys. Adjust the body position even more to the audience, so the performer’s body is almost looking to the right. After the l.h. arm is placed on the keys, slowly lower the face, left cheek facing down. Once the left cheek is completely on the keys, gently and tenderly shift the weight of the palm, arm, and face back and forth. Naturally, the whole passage should be memorised for practical reason.


Triangle = the frame ¨T¨ = torso ¨C¨= cheek Gradually shift the tapping destination from the piano chords, to the frame, climb up your torso, to your cheeks as shown in the diagram.

Continue the pattern until both hands are tapping (slapping) the torso (fermata) for a while, and then slowly shift to the cheeks. Slap the cheeks as hard and long as you can with no mercy. Suddenly ¨tap¨ in the air (the same slapping gesture but in the air), and gradually shirt to the low piano register.

The right hand in the air slowly move towards the ¨side¨ of the side arm (outside of the piano frame, facing the audience) of the piano. Place the r.h. gently and tenderly on the ¨side¨ for a while, then slowly slide the palm towards the ¨top¨ of the side arm, and then the high register keys in one slimy motion. Alternate right and left as shown in the graphic score. The music gradually intensifies and becomes more and more aggressive as if violently gathering something you are obsessed with. Adjust the body position accordingly to make the movements natural. Stand up if necessary.










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