Izanagi

Instrumentation: clarinet

Duration: 6 minutes

Year composed: 2016

Performers: Thomas Piercy

First performance: April 6th 2018, Tokyo Media Interaction, Acousticlub vol.3, Tokyo, Japan

Program note: Izanagi is a piece inspired by the Shinto creation myth. Izanagi and Izanami are the ones who createthe many Islands of Japan. From the floating bridge of heaven they stirred the primeval ocean with a jeweled spear until these islands appeared. From their union, Izanami gave birth to several other gods but she died while giving birth. Izanagi decided to go to Yomi-tsu Kuni, the land of the dead, to bring his wife back from this land of darkness. Before he could reach her, Izanami ate the food of the dead. Horrified to see that Izanami was a rotting corpse, Izanagi fled. Izanami sent hideous female spirits, eight thunder gods, and an army of fierce warriors to chase him. Izanagi managed to escape and blocked the passage between Yomi and the land of the living with a huge boulder.

The three different strates (heaven, land of the living, Yomi) are represented in the three registers of the clarinet. Each register has its own characteristics. The high register is calm and observes the scene. The medium register is agitated like the life it is supposed to represent. The chalumeau is dark and windy. Throughout the piece, the registers dialog and evolve. Some characteristics inherent to one register contaminate another, following the journey Izanagi experienced.