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Work of the Week – Toshio Hosokawa: Meditation to the victims of Tsunami (3.11)

+++ After the following story was published, we learned that the concert and live-streaming had to be cancelled as well. +++

On 11 April, the NHK Symphony Orchestra will perform Toshio Hosokawa’s Meditation to the victims of Tsunami (3.11) as part of a livestream concert conducted by Masaru Kumakura. The concert has been organised to replace the orchestra’s scheduled public performance in response to ongoing restrictions of COVID-19. 

Born in Hiroshima following World War II, Hosokawa has composed a number of works (including Memory of the Sea and Voiceless Voice in Hiroshima) that express a deeply personal connection to those who have found themselves victims to disasters – both present and historical. Remarking that the Tohoku Earthquake on 11 March 2011 gave him pause to contemplate more deeply what it is ‘to live’, Hosokawa draws listeners’ attention to the strength of people in the face of the unimaginable.

In recent works, Meditation to the victims of Tsunami (3.11), a mourning for the victims of Tsunami, Klage, in which a mother could heal her deep sorrow by singing, and Nach dem Sturm depicting a flower that experienced storm gradually regaining the world of light, Hosokawa expressed fear of primitive power and the terror of nature, and the anger against irrationality that we are threatened by nuclear power we ourselves created. His work coexists with each of these, finding space between them to illuminate the resilience of humanity.

My musical idea is to find harmony between nature and humans. Therefore, the tsunami of 2011 was a great shock to me. Nature just isn’t only nice and beautiful, it can also be cruel sometimes. We Japanese seem to have lost our respect for nature. – Toshio Hosokawa