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Spirit-presence : for Jiari-shakuhachi and Jinashi-shakuhachi

by Bruce Crossman (2012)



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Spirit-presence : for Jiari-shakuhachi and Jinashi-shakuhachi / Bruce Crossman.

Library shelf no. Q 785.83512/CRO 1 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

Spirit-Presence was inspired by the earthy un-lacquered sounds of the Jinashi-Shakuhachi (Zensabo School) and Jim Franklin's Jiari-Shakuhachi (Kokusai Shakuhachi Kenshukan), especially the heart of his sound-rich reverberation echoes and bell hints from the Hearing Stillness recording made in the Abbey Church in Neresheim, Germany. The reverential honkyoku stillness and reverberation with Christian bell overtones inspired my own evocation of ecstatic glossolalia (speaking in tongues) of the Christian tradition with the spacious bellbird sounds reverberant in the lower Blue Mountains bush, near where I live in Sydney. My work opens with the earthy roughness of long held-note un-lacquered sounds graduating air-noise sounds to half-pitches with slowly evolving vibrato against bellbird-like punctuations of high ringing metal resonances (either crotales or Japanese temple bowl) and glossolalia attack hints. An intense ecstatic centre forms a culmination of the vocalize hints of glossolalia and manic birdsong inspired life through repeated-note chant and agitated-sounds of un-lacquered shakuhachi versus sustained high register arpeggios of smooth-lacquered sound perforated with tamane gurgles on both instruments. The earthy roughness of long evolving sounds merging between half-pitch and air sounds with tamane returning amidst metal resonances and chant phonemes to still the piece to earth again.

Work Details

Year: 2012

Instrumentation: Player 1: Jiari-Shakuhachi (lacquered), 2 crotales with brass mallet, or small Japanese temple bowl with bead striker. Player 2: Jinashi-Shakuhachi (un-lacquered), or soft-toned wooden or unlacquered bamboo shakuhachi, 2 crotales with brass mallet, or small Japanese temple bowl with bead striker.

Duration: 10 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — Complex rhythmic detail and changing colour nuances

Dedication note: Dedicated to Nina Haarer, Jim Franklin

Commission note: Commissioned by Jim Franklin.. Commissioned for performance at the 2013 European Shakuhachi Festival

The composer cites the following influences on this work:

Honkyoku; intercultural Asian-Pacific


Resonate article: Works by Crossman, Dillon, Pertout, and Portelli at the ACL Festival in Japan by Australian Music Centre

Resonate article: Living Breath, Juxtapositional Flow and Emergent Spirit by Bruce Crossman


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