Three Japanese miniatures

Hesketh, K. (2004) Three Japanese miniatures. [Composition]

Abstract

For solo piano, duration 12 minutes. "Essentially bravura character pieces for piano, Three Japanese Miniatures are fragments and paraphrases on material from a work for chamber orchestra. This piece, 'Detail from the Record', is itself a distillation of musical episodes taken from a larger work in progress, 'The Record of Ancient Matters' (Ko - Ji - Ki), a puppet ballet based on Japanese folk tales. Each miniature is titled as follows: i) Temple Music: An elaboration of transformation music which heralds a wanderer's finding of a ruined temple at night. Miraculously the temple regains its splendour and is found to be populated by various deities as well as many wondrous things. ii) The Cradle rocks... : An episode from the tale 'The Cold Lady'; a winter sprite wishes to revenge a broken promise by taking the lives of a man and his children. However, she decides to choose her own demise rather than take innocent life. iii) Little Bumbuku: A humorous extract from a tale about an earth daemon who takes the form of a badger and lives in a tea-kettle! He puts on a grand public show to earn money for his kindly but poor master. After a period of great companionship Bumbuku's time in his present form must end and gradually the once animate tea-kettle falls still. Three Japanese Miniatures is dedicated with affection to Oliver Knussen on his 50th birthday." This piece was premiered on 3 August 2015 by Clare Hammond at the Contemporary Music for All (CoMa) festival, Yorkshire. Clare Hammond has also recorded the piece (BIS-2193 SACD): https://bis.se/label/bis/kenneth-hesketh-horae-pro-clara. Movement iii 'Little Bumbuku' from this recording is available on SoundCloud (see the link on the audio tab below).

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