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Atsuhiko Gondai's Occidens – the score of the settting sun Premiered at the Winter International Arts Festival in Sochi

Feb. 17, 2022

Atsuhiko Gondai's <em>Occidens – the score of the settting sun</em>  Premiered at the Winter International Arts Festival in Sochi

Occidens the score of the setting sun – a new work by Atsuhiko Gondai, will be premiered by Naoyuki Manabe (sho) and the Moscow Soloists, led by Yuri Bashmet on February 17 at the opening gala concert of the XV Winter International Arts Festival in Sochi. Occidens, for sho and string orchestra, was commissioned by the Winter International Arts Festival in Sochi to be premiered in 2021 but was postponed due to the pandemic.

Occidens contains many descending figures, which are said to depict the sun slowly setting to the west of the horizon. The solo sho symbolizes the west sun, and it illuminates the surrounding string orchestra with the light that comes from the last sound of the day. This is based on the tone of "Hyojo" which is said to represent a western direction in Gagaku [traditional Japanese court music]. Atsuhiko Gondai notes, "The piece ends with the expectation that the sun, which has disappeared into the darkness, will rise from the east tomorrow. Though it is difficult to see a bright future in the current situation, it can be said that the composer's prayer for light to be shed on the present situation is included in the piece."

Listen to Atsuhiko Gondai's Sæwol for vibraphone and string orchestra:
(Mizuki Aita/St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra/
Modestas Barakauskas, conductor)

For more information about Atsuhiko Gondai, visit:

Atsuhiko Gondai
Occidens --the score of the setting sun-- (2020)
for sho and string orchestra