The Eleventh Hour Theatre, 170 Leicester St, Fitzroy VIC 3065
A cross-cultural ensemble with traditional Japanese and baroque Western instruments
Miyama McQueen-Tokita, koto
Laura Vaughan, viola da gamba
Simone Slattery, baroque violin
Brandon Lee, koto
Ryan William, recorders
Henry Liang, sho
Alexander Ritter, countertenor
Directed by Andrew Byrne
First performance of the latest collection from Mamoru Fujieda’s Patterns of Plants with early baroque music.
Three performances - Sat 2 Sept, 3:00 pm, 7.30 pm and Sun 3 Sept, 5 pm
Japanese post-minimalist composer Mamoru Fujieda has spent 26 years creating music based on the electrical activity of living plants. The result is his magnum opus, an ongoing series of compositions titled Patterns of Plants.
The latest collection of Patterns of Plants is premiered in September by an ensemble of musicians from Melbourne, Sydney and Tokyo. Brought together for this project in the Astra concert series, the group is led is led by virtuoso players Miyama McQueen-Tokita (koto) and Laura Vaughan (viola da gamba).
Fujieda has chosen this unique combination of instrumental colours to conjure the sensuous and evocative musical universe of his work, heard in the intimate and resonant surroundings of The Eleventh Hour Theatre.
Complementing Fujieda’s new work are early-baroque works specially arranged for the ensemble.
About MAMORU FUJIEDA’S PATTERNS OF PLANTS
Working with the “Plantron,” a device created by botanist and artist Yūji Dōgane, Fujieda measures electrical fluctuations on the surface of the leaves of plants and converts the data into sound. Through a process he has likened to searching “in a deep forest” for “beautiful flowers and rare butterflies,” he listens for musical patterns and uses them as the basis for composing short pieces, which he then groups into collections reminiscent of Baroque dance suites.
Fujieda creates a sensuous and evocative musical world, suggesting a fascinating mixture of European early music, the traditions of Japan, and modern science.
“In our daily life, a variety of plants appear to remain silent. Are not they actually trying to speak something to us? I once wondered if it was possible to hear what they tried to say. Then I found that an apparatus called ‘Plantron’ enabled us to do so. The Plantron picks up from the surface of the leaves bio-electric fluctuations in the plant, which are then analyzed and converted to digital sonic data by a computer. Thus it enables us to hear their daily activities which are constantly changing as ‘their voices’…
The ‘voices of plants’ are reproduced in the melodies of these pieces. In the Patterns of Plants, the melodies weave a variation style of an ornamental Baroque fashion or a chain of patterns often found in Celtic music. I think we might be able to get in touch with something of plants’ breath by playing these melodies.
The tonality and harmonic relationships of each of the patterns are based on Werckmeister No. 3, a temperament of Bach’s era. There is no conflict with the equal temperament, but, if possible, it is better to use this classic temperament so that you can test the timbres of a tonality and a variety of nuances of sonorities of each pattern”
MAMORU FUJIEDA, TRANSLATED BY TOSHIE KAKINUMA
Presented by Astra Concerts