(2009) for 2 Soprano and Mezzo soprano

(followed by "Musubi")

Soprano 1 (also Rin – Japanese metal bowl), Soprano 2 and  Mezzo soprano (also Tamtam)

Vocaallab and Gaudeamus Foundation Commission
First performance: September 7, 2009, Muziekgebow Aan’t IJ, Amsterdam
Vocaallab Nederland (Jennifer van der Hart, Bauwien van der Meer and Francine Vis)
Duration: 4 minutes
Publisher: Breitkopf & Härtel, under the title "Halai-Musubi"

“Halai” is a purification ritual of Shinto (an ancient Japanese way of thinking and being, rather than a religion) usually performed before an important event.
Having been asked to write a piece of three minutes in duration, I wanted to compose a prelude or an intermezzo to set a special atmosphere for this occasion.
Each Japanese alphabet (of which there are 50) has its own meaning, and symbolises its own god.
“A”, for example, the first of these alphabets, is a matrix from which every word and every life originates, and symbolises “Dainichi nyorai” – the Buddha of the Sun, the origin of everything.
I used as texts these Japanese alphabets in different orders to represent different senses (one contains all of nature, the other all numbers, signifying the presence of gods everywhere in everything), as well as the mantra for the Buddha of the Sun in Sanskrit, and ancient Japanese purification phrases.
What I like very much about ancient Japanese culture is its tolerance for letting different gods (religions or ways of thinking) live together peacefully – something I wished to express through the simultaneous use of these texts.

Misato Mochizuki