Toshi Ichiyanagi

Life Music

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In the collection Orchestral Space performed by the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra conducted by Seiji Ozawa. Composed in 1966, this work is scored for various electronic modulators, magnetic tape and orchestra. The tape sounds are played from behind the orchestra who react to and perform with them. The acoustic instruments of the orchestra also have contact microphones attached to them and this sound is sent to the electronic modulators to be processed and reintroduced into the loudspeakers. The score for the orchestra was arrived at by chance means, similar to the work of John Cage, the composition indeterminate of its performance (realization). The sonic effect is of many varied, independent and surprising sounds separated by silences which seem "intense" because of the nature of the sounds they set off, like negative space in Japanese painting. There is an overall pacing of the orchestral densities which gives a non-specific narrative quality to its form. Stage lighting changes, also determined by chance, add to the dramatic quality. It is the music of life, before things are named.