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I have written some works that explore musical simultaneity in order to liberate the audience from a sense of linear-oriented time. Fêtes lointains is included in this series. This piece was commissioned by Osaka Municipal Symphonic Band, Osaka, Japan, in celebration of the 120th anniversary of Osaka City. It premiered on June 5, 2009 under the direction of Norichika Iimori.
Osaka is one of the largest cities in Japan, having a great cultural and historical heritage. Though this piece was written to celebrate the great city, I avoided conventional expressions of "celebration" so that the audience might consider that joy and sadness can and do coincide. In fact, some celebrate, and others feel sad particularly around war. Here the audience observes the "music of celebration" from a distance, beyond solemn melodies and bells of mourning. Seeking celebratory examples from a sound world far removed, I borrowed from two festive pieces, Canzon No. 2 (1597) by Giovanni Gabrieli and "Fêtes," the second movement of Nocturnes (1899) by Claude Debussy.
While the lament predominates musically, it has no specific meaning. It is simply and sorrowfully expressed, while the festive music chaotically surges forth with simultaneous dissimilar rhythms and tonalities. (program notes by Yo Goto)
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