Stories and Waltzes for Ichigenkin

solo ichigenkin (one-string koto) (2011)

duration: 12:00

program note

Stories and Waltzes for Ichigenkin is a collection of solo pieces written for Issui Minegishi, the 4th Iemoto (hereditary head) of the Seikyo-do Ichigenkin Tradition. The pieces can be performed individually or in any combination, and in any order. Some of the stories include waltzes, and some of the waltzes include marches – but they are all private stories. This is music for the ichigenkin player, to be played as if no one is listening; the audience is almost eavesdropping.

In western music, waltzes suggest nostalgia and romance. Waltz partners hold each other closely, and each dancing couple seems lost in its own dream. I was inspired by the closeness and intimacy between the ichigenkin player and the ichigenkin, the way its quiet sound draws you in to create a whole world.

I am indebted to Issui Minegishi for introducing me to the ichigenkin. She is willing and able to express such a wide range of sounds and emotions. In her hands, the possibilities for the ichigenkin are unlimited.