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Blue Work


The Province of Impossible

for three performers

Year:  2007   ·  Duration:  40m
Instrumentation:  clarinet, voice, percussion; theremin, voice; shamisen and voice

Year:  2007
Duration:  40m
Instrumentation  clarinet, voice, percussion...

Composer:   Juliet Palmer

About

The Province of Impossible bridges the two worlds of Japanese folksong and Schubert’s Die Winterreise. Original compositions and arrangements by Juliet Palmer in collaboration with the performers. Aki Takahashi, Juliet Palmer and Christine Duncan bridge multiple worlds, singing and playing shamisen, theremin, clarinet and percussion, weaving together shouts, chants and cries with throat singing, opera and gospel.

The first piano arrived in Japan in 1823, four years before Schubert composed his famous song cycle Die Winterreise (The Winter’s Journey). Western classical music took firm root following the forcible end to Japan’s isolation during the Meiji Restoration. Now Yamaha pianos glut the market and Kent Nagano directs the Montréal Symphony Orchestra. Alongside this Western music invasion, Japanese folk music has stubbornly held fast. This new song cycle finds fresh ground in two powerful yet disparate traditions.


Commissioned note

Funded by the Toronto Arts Council


Text note

English text by Anna Chatterton with additional lyrics in German (Wilhelm Müller) and Japanese (traditional)


Performance history

12 May 2007: Performed by Aki Takahashi on shamisen and voice; Juliet Palmer on clarinet, hand-held percussion, and voice; Christine Duncan on theremin and voice, at Open Space Arts’ VOICE++ Festival, B.C. Canada

09 Jul 2008: Performed by Aki Takahashi on shamisen and voice; Juliet Palmer on clarinet, hand-held percussion, and voice; Christine Duncan on theremin and voice, at Sound Symposium, St. John's Newfoundland

08 Aug 2008: Performed by Aki Takahashi on shamisen and voice; Juliet Palmer on clarinet, hand-held percussion, and voice; Christine Duncan on theremin and voice, at Ottawa Chamber Music Festival

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