Commissioned by Kunitachi College of Music

In memory of Toru Takemitsu

  • Percussion & electronics (see below for details)
  • 19 min

Programme Note

Six Japanese Gardens is a collection of impressions of the gardens I saw in Kyoto during my stay in Japan in the summer of 1993 and my reflection on rhythm at that time.
As the title indicates, the piece is divided into six parts. All these parts give specific look at a rhythmic material, starting from the simplistic first part, in which the main instrumentation is introduced, going to complex polyrhythmic or ostinato figures, or alternation of rhythmic and purely coloristic material.
The selection of instruments played by the percussionist is voluntarily reduced to give space for the perception of rhythmic evolutions. Also, the reduced colours are extended with the addition of an electronics part, in which we hear nature's sounds, ritual singing, and percussion instruments recorded in the Kuntachi College of Music with Shinti Ueno. The ready-mixed sections are triggered by the percussionist during the piece, from a Macintosh computer.
All the work for processing and mixing the pre-recorded material was done with a Macintosh computer in my home studio. Some transformations are made with the resonant filters in the CHANT program, and with the SVP Phaser Vocoder. This work was made with Jean-Baptiste Barrière. The final mixing was made with the Protools program with the assistance of Hanspeter Stubbe Teglbjaerg.
The piece is commissioned by the Kunitachi College of Music and written for Shinti Ueno.

Kaija Saariaho


Six Japanese Gardens for Percussion & Electronic: No. 3 & 4 - Live Recordings 2002
Six Japanese Gardens: I. Tenju-an Garden of Nanzen-ji Temple
Six Japanese Gardens: II. Many Pleasures, Garden of the Kinkaku-ji
Six Japanese Gardens: III. Dry Mountain Stream
Six Japanese Gardens: IV. Rock Garden of Ryoan-ji
Six Japanese Gardens: V. Moss Garden of the Saiho-ji
Six Japanese Gardens: VI. Stone Bridges


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