for shakuhachi, or flute, and piano
A recording of the flute version performed by Iris Ma (馬曉珮) and France Huang (黃芳吟) is available on YouTube.
The shakuhachi version is essentially the same music, but with more special playing techniques.
This piece was composed for shakuhachi and piano and later adapted for flute. It combines Western ideas of rhythm and instrumental interplay with the slow, static and freely expressive notes of shakuhachi playing. In the flute version, as much of the original shakuhachi character is maintained as possible. Therefore, many pitch bends, extreme vibrato and airy noise effects are used. Dramatically, the music imagines expressive shakuhachi playing as portraying the hidden drama that can occur within people’s thoughts. The first movement, Contemplating, considers undefined feelings. The music is unsettled, moves slowly and seems unsure of its emotions. The second movement, Vexed, evokes the uncomfortable feelings of a brooding or worried mind. Releasing, the slow last movement may seem quietly melancholy, yet rays of hope are present. It sounds like someone is letting go of their worrisome thoughts or memories.
(duration ca. 10:30 minutes)