Toshio Hosokawa: Landscape II

Program Note

Toshio Hosokawa studied piano, harmony, and counterpoint in Japan before becoming a pupil of Isang Yun at the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin. In 1986, he completed his training at the Hochschule für Musik in Fribourg in Brisgau with Klaus Huber and Brian Ferneyhough. In 1998, Hosokawa was appointed Composer in Residence of the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra and director of the International Music Festival in Takefu. In subsequent years, he has been invited to many leading festivals of contemporary music in Europe.

Much of Hosokawa’s music rests in the space between the inner journey and the symbolic interpretation of nature. His output includes orchestral pieces such as Meditation to the Victims of Tsunami 3.11 (2012) for orchestra and concerti; chamber music, such as Landscape I, for string quartet (1992) and Silent Flower, for string quartet (1998); music for traditional Japanese instruments, such as New Seeds of Contemplation (1986) and Mandala (1995) for shômyô and gagaku orchestra, and Voyage X (2009) for shakuhachi and ensemble; as well as film music and operas, such as Vision of Lear (1998), Hanjo (2004), Matsukaze (2010), and The Raven (2011).

Landscape II (1992)

Toshio Hosokawa is strongly inspired by nature and national Japanese traditions. For him, music and nature are one. Hosokawa compares his composing process to the art of Japanese calligraphy. With one stoke of the brush the music appears on the page.

Hosokawa's works for solo instruments and ensemble embody a principle of the relationship between the individual and nature, with the interaction resulting in a seamless flow between different entities. Landscape II represents a landscape painted with ink. It explores, like most of Hosokawa's music, the nature of sound and its relationship to silence, or the nature of time and its relationship to music. The nature-like sounds enhance our awareness of silence by providing an acoustic continuum whose function is equivalent to that of the unpainted areas of a landscape painting. In both cases, Hosokawa is interested in "that place where . . . foreground and background, pattern and ground ... inter-mingle and respond sympathetically to each other, that intermediate zone, or "interim", occurring between sound and sound".