Yomotsu-Shikome

Instrumentation: clarinet, saxophone

Duration: 8 minutes

Year composed: 2019

Performers: Sore Yure duo

First performance: Merkin Concert Hall, New York, (NY), USA, March 12th 2019

Other performances: Mise-En Place, Bushwick, New York, (NY), USA, March 15th 2019

Ryogoku Monten Hall, Tokyo, Japan, April 12th 2019

Program note: Yomotsu-shikome is a piece inspired by the Shinto creation myth. Izanagi and Izanami are the ones who create the 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 called Yomotsu Shikome to chase him. Izanagi managed to escape and blocked the passage between Yomi and the land of the living with a huge boulder.
This piece is an evocation of this journey to Yomi and the pursuit of Izanagi. The saxophone and the clarinet react as a shadow of one another. The sound of each instrument comes closer and then drifts farther apart. This tension is a symbol of the Yomotsu Shikome trying to catch Izanagi before he leaves Yomi.