“atonoba” was originally meant as a continuation of my piece “reading of unicorn skulls” which is inspired by the novel “Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World“ of Murakami Haruki. At the same time when I was composing “atonoba” I was preparing a piece for Noh theatre and I was studying extensively the dance of the Shite (the principal actor), its rhythm and its structure. After finishing “atonoba” I was surprised how deeply the Noh theatre has left its mark on the different layers of this piece. In this way it is even possible to play the piece in combination with a Noh theatre. For this reason I chose the title “atonoba” (written in the Japanese syllabary with no meaning beyond the sound). The first part “ato” can also be written with two different Chinese characters (= meanings) so that the title gets two different meanings:1) “the back place” by analogy with the term “nochiba” (the back/later place) of Noh theatre, that means the second part of a Noh play in which the Shite (the principal actor), after changing the costume and mask, appears in a different, abstract shape. In “nochiba” not only the shape of the Shite changes but also the theatrical performance. It becomes more abstract, among others it concentrates on the dance. “atonoba” can be performed directly after a Noh play, after the “nochiba”, as a second change into abstraction like a second “nochiba”.2) “the place of the traces” of the characteristic motions of the Shite. This powerful calm motions of the Shite can be found both in the motions of the percussionist and in the rhythmical form.As the Shite in a Noh play is paraphrased or commentated by the choir, “atonoba I” for percussion solo can also be performed with flute, violoncello and piano as a kind of choir: “atonoba I+II” for percussion and flute, violoncello and piano. (Peter Gahn)
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