Score and parts for hire
When wondering how to write for oriental instruments in a Western concert hall, at least one dilemma emerges immediately. Should one ignore thousands of years of musical history and simply use the instrument as another ‘’western’’ sound source, or borrow from this rich past and try to find yet another synthesis of East and West?
When I mentioned to Satsuki Odamura (the koto-player for whom the work was written) that I was thinking of calling the piece Gaijin (a Japanese word that translates generally as ‘’foreigner’’), she immediately replied ‘’in Australia, I am the gaijin.’’ This word became my emblem of the curious social resonances involved in the simple act of accompanying the Japanese koto with that uniquely Western invention, the string orchestra. By incorporating electronics as well, further resonances emerge.
Having pondered these issues, the music attempts to address none of them.
Gaijin was commissioned by the Adelaide Chamber Orchestra with financial assiatance from the Performing Arts Board of the Australia Council, and is dedicated to the orchestra’s Musical Direcot, Richard Mills.