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Work of the Week – Toshio Hosokawa: Deine Freunde aus der Ferne

Talking cats, moving teddy bears and flying fish – completely normal! At least it appears in Toshio Hosokawa’s new piece for children, Deine Freunde aus der Ferne. The world premiere of the 40-minute work for speaking voice and ensemble will take place on 4 December 2021 at the Philharmonie in Luxembourg as part of the “Rainy Days” festival. Protagonist Salome Kammer will perform with the United Instruments of Lucilin ensemble under the direction of Nelly Danker, with design by Robert Pflanz. Deine Freunde aus der Ferne is Hosokawa’s first work for children and was written for young people between the ages of 5 – 9. The text was written in German by Yoko Tawada. 

The musical tale Deine Freunde aus der Ferne – a journey to distant worlds

In the story, a talking cat takes the narrator along to the beach where a robot and a teddy bear need help dealing with some rude boys. The teddy and the robot begin to talk and as a way of saying thank you, invite the main character to get to know their different worlds. They begin an adventurous journey of discovery on the back of a fish into the land of the robots and the forest of the teddy bears.

Lucilin requested that I compose in my normal technique, without tonality. I found the suggestion both challenging and interesting, being liberated from the prejudice that children cannot understand contemporary music techniques. I did however ensure that the music was clear and perceivable for children. Ms. Yoko Tawada, a famous Japanese writer living in Berlin, wrote the text for the piece. She possesses a keen linguistic sensibility and has a good sense of humor. Toshio Hosokawa

Deine Freunde aus der Ferne has been commissioned by United Instruments of Lucilin, funded by Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation. Two more performances of the work will take place at the Philharmonie Luxembourg the following day. 


illustration: Keong-A Song