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Work of the Week – Toshio Hosokawa: The Flood

On 16 September, Ensemble Intercontemporain directed by Matthias Pintscher presents the world premiere of Toshio Hosokawa’s The Flood at the Philharmonie de Paris. The work, which has been jointly commissioned by the ensemble and the Ojai Music Festival in California, was originally scheduled to premiere at the festival in June.

The Flood is part of a series of works by Hosokawa in response to the collective trauma experienced by Japanese people during the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and its resulting tsunami. For Hosokawa, such events have coloured a love of nature with feelings of fear and scepticism. 

Toshio Hosokawa – The Flood: dissonances in nature

Hosokawa’s work fits into Ensemble Intercontemporain’s own ‘Genesis’ cycle, which examines new perspectives on the Christian creation story. The Flood is full of sonic reimaginings of waves and whirlpools which repeat and intertwine with crescendos and diminuendos. Throughout there is a clear sense of desperation in the face of the force of nature.

The Japanese are only too familiar with flooding: not only the Tsunami in 2011, but also typhoons and heavy rain, as Japan is frequently hit by floods. Furious floods demonstrate the forces of nature and fill us with fear, awe and respect at the same time. – Toshio Hosokawa

Photos: Kazuko Ishikawa, Adobe Stock / Lichtbildmaster