Amazing Japan! For how long I had been wishing to finally get there!
A country where the tiniest piece of life can be lifted to an artistic level! A country where the battle to get into the overcrowded underground is fought with courtesy and some reservation! A country where present and past are linked in the most exciting way! A country that works.
Between the 3rd and 14th December, 2015, I gave eight lectures and rehearsed my choir pieces with eleven choirs, three of which being especially first rank.
The Seisen Girls’ Choir and the La Para Fuente Women’s Choir, both conducted by the outstanding Mikiko Sato, sang six of my quite difficult compositions, among them the extremely difficult and exhausting Deus ultionum and Convertere, anima mea. Beautiful sound, intelligent, expressive and detailed musicality! The conductor is brave enough to analyse the music: his interpretation, his tempos, his gestures are all adequate and convincing, even if I did it differently. He is free to make the choirs sing his own rubatos, accelerandos and rallentandos that are not against the music despite the lack of their signs in the score. Then, the Scatola di Voce Mixed Choir, conducted by Yusuke Morita, introduces Puer natus in Bethlehem in a fresh, airy, humorous way and they so easily and convincingly tackle the jazzy-pop rhythm of the piece that it was a pleasure to listen to. Our hosts, the organiser Fukiko Gotoda, one of Japan’s most important choral publishers and grandmother of the Pro Musica Girls’ Choir, who, despite her 85 years, is full of energy, along with our two interpreters, Satoshi Morimoto and Minori Kurahashi, all did their best for us to enjoy ourselves. I cannot write about their hospitality without emotion: about the amazing authentic Japanese dinners (my poor wife Nikoletta was not that keen on them…), our experience-full trips to Great Buddha of Kamakura and to the foot of Fuji in Hakone (what a gift I felt the nice weather: the mountain was beaming in the distance of a touch!), the typical, hot Japanese spa, the onsen, the visit to the Shintoist sanctuary in Asakusa and the bazaar next to it.
Thank you. I am already longing to return.