The city of Hiroshima in southern Japan was once primarily known for its oysters which were farmed just off the coast. In Noriko Koide’s work Oyster Lullaby, the oyster is symbolic of the process of healing following the devastation that resulted from the use of the atomic bomb in the final month of World War II, an event that has overshadowed the city’s historic reputation. The new work for orchestra, commissioned for the Hiroshima Symphony Orchestra, will receive its world premiere on 14 June 2019 under the baton of Seitaro Ishikawa.
Koide’s inspiration for the piece came during a trip to the oyster beds while visiting Hiroshima – the composer was fascinated by the way they lay in narrow rows like a necklace moving with the rhythmic current of the waves. For Koide, the image of the swaying oysters connects the city’s past with the present day.
Unknown to man, the oysters have absorbed sad memories, since they end of the war they have cleansed and exhaled them, continuing with each breath to slowly bring tranquility back to the sea. – Noriko Koide
Noriko Koide: Oyster Lullaby – Oysters as a symbol of remembrance and cleansing
The healing and breath-like quality of Koide’s piece is produced through a myriad of unpitched, deliberately indeterminate sounds for each instrument in the orchestra and a wealth of percussion. The combination of these techniques evokes a delicate, fragile atmosphere out of which melodic lines appear with striking contrast.
The concert on 14 June 2019 will also include Toshio Hosokawa’s Voyage V and Frederico Gardella’s Two Souls.