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Bookmarks from Japan

From Wind Repertory Project
Julie Giroux

Julie Giroux


This work is also known as Symphony No. IV.


General Info

Year: 2013
Duration: c. 21:35
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Musica Propria
Cost: Score and Parts - $295.00   |   Score Only - $50.00


Movements

These movements may be played separately, and in any order.

1. Fuji-San - Mount Fuji - 2:30
2. Nihonbashi- Bridge Market - 3:00
3. The Great Wave off Kanagawa - The Life of One Wave - 4:20
4. Kinryu-zan Senoji - Thunder Gate - 3:05
5. Evening Snow at Kambara - Light is the Touch - 4:25
6. Hakone - Drifting - 4:00


Instrumentation

Instrumentation varies among the different movements but is selected from this list:

Full Score
C Piccolo
Solo Flute
Flute I-II (Ia-Ib-IIa-IIb in movement 3, I or II doubles on Alto Flute in movement 5)
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
Contra-Bassoon
Bb Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
Bb Bass Clarinet
Eb Contra Alto Clarinet
Bb Contrabass Clarinet
Eb Alto Saxophone I-II
Bb Tenor Saxophone
Eb Baritone Saxophone
Bb Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Bass Trombone
Euphonium (Bass Clef & Treble Clef)
Tuba
String Bass
Piano
Harp
Timpani
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Snare Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Chimes
  • Gong
  • Marimba
  • Orchestra Chimes
  • Shakers
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Taiko Drums, High/Low
  • Tam-Tam
  • Tambourine
  • Temple Blocks
  • Tenor Drum
  • Timbales
  • Tom-Tom
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone
  • Xylophone


Errata

Mvt. 2 m. 22 - The xylophone rhythm should be the same as the flute, if possible; otherwise dotted eighth and sixteenth B-flat, omitting the C thirty-second note.
Mvt. 2, m. 25 - The timpani part should be identical to bass trombone, drums permitting.
Mvt. 3, m. 35 - Contrabass and timpani pitches should match tuba.
Mvt. 5, m. 18 & 19 - Contrabass missing tie from beat 3 to 4.
Mvt. 5, m. 23 - Alto sax 1 & 2, articulation should match solo flute/clarinet.


Program Notes

The composer’s inspiration for this symphony was a gift of six bookmarks featuring famous works by Japanese artists. Ms. Giroux says, “My imagination was whirling with each scene painted on each bookmark. I knew right then and there that those little bookmarks would be the subject of my next symphony.” Two of the six movements are based on selections from Hokusai’s series of woodcut prints, 36 Views of Mt. Fuji. Four movements are based on prints by Hiroshige; three of them are from 53 Stations of the Tokaido Highway which depict the picturesque resting stations along the famous road between Kyoto and Tokyo, and the other is from an additional work.

- Program Note by Edward C. Harris for the San Jose Wind Symphony concert program, 17 July 2015


I. Mount Fuji - "Fuji-san" Based on the bookmark "Fine Wind, Clear Morning" by Hokusai Katsushika which is a woodblock sketch from Hokusai's collection The 35 Views of Mt. Fuji.

The sketch Fine Wind, Clear Morning (Gaifu kaisei), also known as South Wind, Clear Sky or Red Fuji, by Hokusai Katsushika is the inspiration for this work which is subtitled Fuji-san. In early autumn when, as the original sketch title specifies, the wind is southerly and the sky is clear, the rising sun can turn Mount Fuji red. Fuji-san has many different looks depending on the viewer's vantage point, time of year, weather and even time of day. Big, bold and easily recognized yet shrouded in mystery and lore, Mount Fuji offers a multitude of inspirational facets.

This piece is based on one view of Mt. Fuji covered in mist and low clouds which slowly burn off as the day progresses. Orchestration and composition techniques follow this scenario, starting off with mysterious, unfocused scoring. As the piece progresses, the scoring gets more focused and bold with the final statement representing Fuji-san in a totally clear view.


II. Nihonbashi - "Market Bridge" Based on the bookmark Nihonbashi by Hiroshige Ando, which is from the print series The 53 Stations of the Tokaido Highway

Hiroshige Ando (1797-1858) traveled the Tokaido from Edo to Kyoto in 1832. The official party he was traveling with were transporting horses which were gifts to be offered to the imperial court. The journey greatly inspired Hiroshige, for he sketched many of its scenes during his round-trip travels. In all, Hiroshige produced 55 prints for the series The Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido. Fifty three of the prints represent each of the 53 post stations along the way. The two additional prints are of the starting and ending points. The post stations offered food, lodging and stables for travelers of the Tokaido Highway.

The Nihonbashi bridge was the central point of development, which is now a business district of Chuo, Tokyo, Japan, aptly named the Nihonbashi District. For centuries it thrived as a mercantile district. The first department store ever developed in Japan was by the Mitsui family named Mitsukoshi. From its early days as a fish market to the current financial district of Tokyo (and Japan), this bridge spanning the Nihonbashi River is a true landmark in Tokyo. In fact, highway signs that state the distance to Tokyo actually state the distance to the Nihonbashi bridge. Up until shortly before 1964, you could see Mount Fuji from the bridge; however, the 1964 Summer Olympics put in a raised expressway over the Nihonbashi bridge, obscuring its view entirely. Petitions to relocate the expressway underground in order to regain view of Mount Fuji are continuous but so far have been futile due to the costs for such a project.

This movement is a melody of my own crafting. It is folk sounding in nature as I was trying to capture the spirit of the bridge going all the way back to 1603 when the first wooden bridge was built over Nihonbashi River. It started out as a fish market but quickly became a place for other merchants to gather. In this piece, the melody gets tossed from instrument to instrument representing the continuous street hoking and haggling that was...


III. "The Great Wave Off Kanagawa" (Kanagawa-oki nami-ura, lit. "Under a Wave Off Kanagawa").

The artwork of Hokusai is well known. and this particular woodblock print which was published between 1830 and 1833 is well known throughout the world. His series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji is Hokusai's most famous work. Looking at this stunning print, you can see Mount Fuji in the background, but the central focus is an enormous wave called an okinami (wave of the open sea) peaked and curling with several Japanese boats in different stages entering the perilous wave.

In this work, a single wave is depicted from its beginnings far out in the sparkling sun-drenched seas all the way through its final throes onto a rocky beach. The piece starts in the open sea, fairly calm with sunlight refracting into thousands of tiny points of light. Depicting this are the woodwinds rippling up and down with sixteenth triplet variations. The trombones and french horns enter the mix with a solid melodic statement. The trumpets add in near the end of the phrase all of which depicts the first shaping of the great wave.


IV. Kinryuzan Temple in Asakusa: "Thunder Gate"

The name of the print on the bookmark says Kaminari-mon Gate of Asakusa Kannon Temple, but the true name of the print is Kinryuzan Temple in Asakusa by the artist Hiroshige Ando. Hiroshige died before before the entire collection was completed. Hiroshige II finished it. The first prints were published in order between 1856 and 1859.

Originally built in 941 A.D., Kaminarimon is the outer gate leading to the Senso-ji Temple which was constructed around 628 A.D. near Kamagata and later relocated to its present location in Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan, in 1635. This large gate features four statues. The Shinto gods Fujin and Raijin are located on the front of the gate, and the Buddhist god Tenryu and goddess Kinryu stand on the reverse side. Fujin displayed on the front east side of the gate is the god of wind and Raijin on the west side is the god of thunder. giving the gate its nickname of “Thunder Gate.”

Displayed in the middle of the gate is a giant red chochin (lantern) which weighs approximately 1,500 pounds. Despite its huge size, it is very fragile. The front of the lantern bears the painting of the gate’s name, Kaminarimon, and the painting on the back reads Furaijinmon, the official name of the gate. The bottom or base of the chochin displays a beautiful wooden carving of a dragon. Over the centuries the gate has been destroyed and rebuilt many times. The current gate dates to 1960 and the new lantern was donated in 2003. As a tourist, you cannot get close to the statues as they are protected by fences and wire and you certainly cannot touch them. Despite all of that, the magnificence of the gate still shines through, bearing testament to centuries of humans that have passed through its structure and the centuries yet to come.


V. "Evening Snow at Kambara": "Light is the Touch"

Based on the bookmark "Evening Snow at Kambara" by Hiroshige Ando which is from the series The 53 Stations of the Tokaido Highway.

Hiroshige Ando (1797-1858) traveled the Tokaido from Edo to Kyoto in 1832. The official party he was traveling with were transporting horses which were gifts to be offered to the imperial court. The journey greatly inspired Hiroshige, for he sketched many of its scenes during his journey's round trip. In all, Hiroshige produced 55 prints for the series The Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido. Fifty three of the prints represent the 53 post stations along the way. The additional two prints are of the starting and ending points. The post stations offered food, lodging and stables for travelers of the Tokaido Highway. "Evening Snow at Kambara" was the 15th station Hiroshige visited.

The subtitle Light is the Touch refers to snow softly falling on the skin. In this piece, the falling snow symbolizes spiritual healing. The piece starts with solo piano, harp and alto flute. The melody is simple yet haunting and grows with the slow addition of players. The piece ends with the same three soloists it began with. It is a song in structure, a song representing the soft touch of healing.


VI. Hakone: "Drifting"

Based on the bookmark entitled "Hakone Pass" which is based on the actual print by Hiroshige Ando called "Hakone" which is from the print series The 53 Stations of the Tokaido Highway.

Hiroshige Ando (1797-1858) traveled the Tokaido from Edo to Kyoto in 1832. The official party he was traveling with were transporting horses which were gifts to be offered to the Imperial court. The journey greatly inspired Hiroshige for he sketched many of its scenes during his journey's round trip. In all, Hiroshige produced 55 prints for the series The Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido. Fifty three of the prints represent the 53 post stations along the way. The additional 2 prints are of the starting and ending points. The post stations offered food, lodging and stables for travelers of the Tokaido Highway. Hakone-juku was the tenth of the fifty-three stations of the Tokaido. At an elevation of 725 meters, it is the highest post station on the entire Tokaido Highway, offering spectacular views. Hakone-juku was established in 1618 and over the years has proven to be a hard road to maintain due to its elevation.

When I started researching Hakone there wasn't much of anything striking a chord within my creative self, just a city that had a long road with lots of curves, switchbacks and other hazards passing through it. It wasn't until I looked at the actual highway on a map that it rang a bell. I had seen this road before. I truly recognized the shape of the entire highway. Having never been on that actual highway in real life, I knew I had to unravel the mystery. A few more searches on the Internet and there it was. I am an avid "gamer", and though I tend to play all types of games both on the computer and on consoles, I have always played racing games, and that is where I had "driven" it before, in a video game. The drifting I did on that highway in the game mostly sent me sailing off the road, flying through air and ultimately landing in a fiery, end-over end-wipeout. And as with any search on the Internet, YouTube offered up a seemingly endless supply of videos featuring not one but long parades of cars in single file drifting on the Tokaido Highway as it runs through Hakone.

Subtitled Drifting, this piece reflects my love of fast cars doing crazy fun things. In this instance that would be drifting. Drifting is the art of manipulating the brakes, the gas and precise steering wheel positioning to keep the car in a controlled skid/slide while traveling around curves. The music depicts the adrenaline-racing, heart-pumping action of drifting cars on the Tokaido Highway through Hakone and beyond. It is fast, furious, full of odd meters and features nearly every instrument in the band at least once: my version of musical drifting. Let's just hope there are no wipeouts or fiery crashes.

- Program Note by composer


Awards


Commercial Discography

None discovered thus far.


Audio Links


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


Performances

To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Appalachian State University (Boone, N.C.) Symphony Band (Kevin Gray Richardson, conductor) – 7 October 2019
  • McGill University (Montreal, Que.) Wind Orchestra (Alain Cazes, conductor) – 27 September 2019
  • University of Utah (Salt Lake City) Wind Ensemble (Scott Hagen) – 24 September 2019
  • University of Wisconsin-Parkside Wind Ensemble (Ray E. Cramer, conductor) – 9 May 2019
  • State University of New York, Potsdam, Symphonic Band (Brian K. Doyle, conductor) – 16 April 2019>
  • Rhode Island (Woonsocket) Wind Ensemble (Robert Franzblau, conductor) – 13 April 2019
  • Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, Md.) Peabody Wind Ensemble (Abhinn Malhotra, conductor) – 30 March 2019
  • Saitama (Japan) Sakae High School Wind Orchestra (Akira Oku, conductor) - 14 February 2019 (2019 TMEA Conference, San Antonio)
  • Contra Costa Wind Symphony (Walnut Creek, Calif.) (Brad Hogarth, conductor) – 2 December 2018
  • Santa Monica (Calif.) College Wind Ensemble (Kevin O. McKeown, conductor) – 18 November 2018
  • Ohio State University (Columbus) Symphonic Band (Scott Jones, conductor) – 14 November 2018
  • Gustavus Adolphus College (St. Peter, Minn.) Wind Symphony (Heidi Johanna Miller, conductor) - 19 May 2018
  • Rutgers University (New Brunswick, N.J.) Symphonic Winds (Darrell Bott, conductor) - 27 April 2018
  • University of Colorado Boulder Symphonic Band (Matthew Roeder, conductor)– 18 April 2018
  • Brigham Young University (Provo, Utah) Symphonic Band (Kirk Saville, conductor) – 10 February 2018
  • University of Illinois (Champaign) Wind Orchestra (Elizabeth Peterson, conductor) – 3 December 2017
  • Colorado Wind Ensemble (Littleton) (David Kish, conductor) – 1 December 2017
  • New Jersey City University Symphony of Winds and Percussion (Patrick Burns, conductor) – 14 November 2017
  • MetWinds (Lexington, Mass.) (Lewis J. Buckley, conductor) - 30 April 2017


Works for Winds by this Composer


References

  • Julie Giroux's Concert Band Music Site
  • Williams, Nicholas Enrico. "Symphony No. 4: Bookmarks from Japan." In Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Volume 11, Compiled and edited by Richard Miles, 818-825. Chicago: GIA Publications, 2018.