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for sinfonia

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Ohanashi is the Japanese word for “story”, or “tale” and is loosely based on a short story by the renowned turn-of-the-century Japanese writer, Soseki Natsume. The story comes from Soseki’s book, Ten Nights of Dream, and is derived from the first part, or first “night” in this collection. The idea for the piece came about when a close friend told me the Soseki story. I was extremely moved by the beauty of her narrative and Soseki’s gorgeous images. Ohanashi grew out of this initial listening experience, and in fact, I have never actually read the story, and have never wanted to. What I wanted came from the sound of the storyteller’s voice, the pace of her retelling, her rhythm, and her words. The piece follows the basic shape of her story. This is almost like a tone poem, except that the narrative isn’t necessarily relayed musically; rather, Soseki’s images were used as starting points for colors and pacing. There is also a simple tape part in the piece, where the storyteller reveals snippets of her retelling. Ohanashi was commissioned and premiered at Alice Tully Hall on 3/25/97 by Dr. Joel Sachs and the New Juilliard Ensemble, and is dedicated in loving friendship to Toshiko Oiwa.

Genres:   Orchestra

Subgenres:   Large Ensemble


Fl(db Picc/Al), Ob(db EHn), Cl(db BCl), Bsn, Hn, Trp, Trb,1Perc (Timp/ Glock/ Vibr/ Mar/ 2Tri/ GlWChim/ 2CupGong/ SusCym/ Tam-T/ 3Tom-T/ BDr), Hp, Pno, Strings(, ElecTape

Commissioned by

The New Juilliard Ensemble, Joel Sachs


March 25, 1997 at Alice Tully Hall by Dr. Joel Sachs and the New Juilliard Ensemble

Recent Performances

  • February 27, 2007 - BGSU New Music Ensemble at Bryan Recital Hall, Bowling Green State University, OH. Dr. Ken Thompson, director