kaguyama dance (2003)

for viola, piano
By Moto Osada
Japenese

Composed during the latter half of 2003, Kaguyama Dance was written expressly for the Shmuel Katz – Dmitri Shteinberg duo. The title draws directly from Japanese mythology and refers to the celebrated tale of the Sun Goddess Amateras-Ohmikami, the ‚??Great and August Deity of the Shining Heavens‚?Ě.

Angered by her impetuous brother‚??s incessant abuse, Amateras-Ohmikami takes cover behind a large rock thus plunging the world into complete darkness. The other gods, greatly troubled by this event, devise a plan to goad the Sun Goddess out of her hiding place; they plot to host a raucous, unruly affair of banging drums, feet stomping, and singing on top of Mount Kaguyama. As the celebration intensifies, the Sun Goddess asks the gods what might be causing the clamor to which they answer: “Another great goddess has appeared and we’re dancing and singing in her honor.” Unable to contain her curiosity, the Sun Goddess moves the rock slightly ajar, at which point the other gods pull her out from behind it, and daylight finally shines on the world again. This festival is said to be the beginning of entertainment in Japan.

This story has been a source of great inspiration for some time. I have often imagined what the festival‚??s music may have sounded like ‚?? primitive, ancient… Although Kaguyama Dance is not necessarily programmatic music based on the story described above, it draws on characteristics from this and other Japanese legends, notably their primal energy and barbaric beauty.

Other works by Moto Osada:
“[W]e are modern by the very simple fact that we live in the present. Nobody has yet discovered the art of living in the past, and not even the futurists have discovered the secret of living in the future. We are modern whether we want to be or not.”
--Jorge Luis Borges