S’enfuient les ombres

Instrumentation: harpsichord

Duration: 6 minutes 30

Year composed: 2019

Performer: Mamiko Someda

First performance: Tokyo Opera City Recital Hall, Tokyo, Japan, December, 3rd 2019

Program note: S’enfuient les ombres is a piece inspired by two spirit-like beings from the Japanese folktales. These spirits are Zashiki-Warashi (座敷童子) and Makuragaeshi (枕返し). Both spirits share some particularities. They usually take the form of a ghost child and haunt specific rooms of a house. If the Zashiki-Warashi is believed to bring fortune and cause small mischiefs, the Makuragaeshi is considered more dangerous. The principal activity of the Makuragaeshi is to flip pillows while people are sleeping. This can lead to the soul not being able to go back to the body and thus being stolen by the Makuragaeshi. These two spirits are usually not visible and act during the night. Makuragaeshi is often considered as a variantion of Zashiki-Warashi.

The piece S’enfuient les ombres explores the ambiguity of these two spirits. From a minimal amount of material there will be several variations corresponding to the respective personalities of the spirit. The different colors of the harpsichord will be explored in that direction. Finally the piece will be centered around one single note, a middle D. This middle D is a free representation of the Ōmagatoki (逢魔時), the time of meeting yōkai, yūrei, and dark creatures.

This piece is warmly dedicated to Mamiko Someda.