for marimba and koto.

Though the marimba and the Japanese koto come from divergent musical cultures, their timbres complement each other: both have a particular contemplative quality. Oesterle exploits the sonic texture of this unusual combination of instruments extensively throughout this piece, drifting from extremes of density and volume within a restrained melodic contour. Each instrument’s sounds reflects the other’s in a relationship that the composer has compared to a conversation taking place on either side of a glass. Mostly the glass acts as a mirror, keeping each half of the conversation one-sided, but occasionally it is penetrated, allowing for a true dialogue. The work is structured in four miniature movements, each a kind of musical haiku; Oesterle, who wrote it in early spring, has dedicated it to the “annual promise of emergence from beneath what seems an impenetrable and unforgiving surface of hardened earth and snow.” 

In 2012 Oesterle re-orchestrated this work for Harp and Marimba. Soundstreams presented this new work at our Salon21 series at the Gardiner Museum (Toronto, Canada). 

Performed by:
Kazue Sawai, koto
Ryan Scott, marimba

Commissioned by Soundstreams with generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts.