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Atsuhiko Gondai's Si ambulem in medio umbrae mortis and Malika Kishino's Oud Premiere in Tokyo

Oct. 01, 2020

On October 9Atsuhiko Gondai's Si ambulem in medio umbrae mortis -- shadow of "si"-- and Malika Kishino's Oud will be premiered at the 70th subscription concert of ENSEMBLE NOMAD, conducted by Norio Sato at the Tokyo Opera City. Both pieces were commissioned by the Takako Arakida Fund.

Atsuhiko Gondai’s new piece, Si ambulem in medio umbrae mortis --shadow of “si” is centered around the tone of “si”. The sound of this word means “death” in Japanese, and therefore, the piece references "death" as a keyword. According to the composer, the phrase from Psalms 23, suggested in the title ("Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death..."), seems to describe the current situation of suffering from the coronavirus pandemic around the world. Fragments of Gregorian chant with the same title of the piece can be faintly heard throughout the work. Gondai explains that these fragments are a guiding torch to prevent one from going astray and he suggests that they could feel like small lights irradiating a dark road without an exit. He notes that the piece is almost a music of hope or prayer during this difficult time.

Malika Kishino’s Oud is a double concerto for marimba, piano and ensemble. Incense, which is deeply connected to Buddhism, has been appreciated in Japan for a long time, as it is recorded in Nihon Shoki (Chronicles of Japan). Kyara (Aloeswood), Agarwood (Jinko, also Oud) and Sandalwood (Byakudan), known as fragrant woods, exude their fragrances when they are burned or near fire. The fragrances change gradually as time passes, until they finally disappear, sometimes evoking one’s memories and sensations. Malika Kishino finds that this phenomenon has something in common with the reverberation of sound. Marimba and piano, instruments made of wood, have rich reverberation, and we can enjoy the reverberations of their sound as we enjoy fragrance.

Listen to Atsuhiko Gondai's Falling Time to the End (2015):

(Falling Time to the End/Atsuhiko Gondai/Frankfurt Radio Symphony/Andrés Orozco-Estrada, conductor)

To learn more about Atsuhiko Gondai and Malika Kishino, visit:

Atsuhiko Gondai
Si ambulem in medio umbrae mortis --shadow of “si” (2020)
for ensemble

Malika Kishino
double concerto for marimba, piano and ensemble