Fuse-VII (2000) by Ushio Torikai
for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, two horns, trombone,
violin, viola, cello, contrabass, piano, harpsichord, percussion
West Coast premiere

Fuse-VII reflects the birth of a stream which flows into a river. The piece was inspired by images of objects that the stream runs into and the various shapes the water forms. The composition begins with subtlety by using a narrow belt of notes [A# (Bb), B, C, C# (Db), D] for the stream, which reflects faint, yet numerous color changes by sound beating in the narrow intervals between two instruments. This is followed by other instruments adding to the close harmony. (Sometimes, by limiting the capacity, by limiting the quantity and by narrowing the pitch ranges the clarity of a composition is refined.)

I also created similary narrow belts of notes for several groups of instruments which represents other streams. From time to time, these streams come together to the note "C", making sure that each one is on the way to become one melded force. The stream sings along with small creatures; it makes large waves against the banks. It fuses. They fuse seven times.

After the premiere of Fuse-VII, last May in New York City, a friend of mine came up to me and said, "It was nice to hear the woman's side of music in this piece, something which I have seldom heard in your music." (Incidentally, my first name is generally given to males in Japan.)

The composition took place from mid-January through March in 2000. I greatly acknowledge the warm support of the Asian Art Museum, Aislinn Scofield, the Asian Improv aRts, Mary Chun and Earplay who all helped to make this performance possible.

This piece was commissioned by the Japan Society as part of a national series of works from Meet the Composer/Arts Endowment Commissioning Music/USA with support from the Helen F. Whitaker Fund.

— U. T.    

[from program for October 23, 2000 concert]