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The Scottish Flute Trio, with Joji Hirota

Written by Alan Cooper

reproduced with permission


Lunchbreak concert - The Scottish Flute Trio, with Joji Hirota - Japanese Percussion and Shakuhatchi - The Central Court, Aberdeen Art Gallery

The Japanese drummer and composer Joji Hirota began his percussion studies at age eleven and has been composing since he was just thirteen. In Japan he is admired as an exponent of the Japanese Taiko drumming tradition and also performs on the Shakuhatchi, an end blown bamboo flute identified with the traditions of Zen Buddhism. He is much in demand round the world as both performer and composer and has worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company in addition to many other groups in this country. On Saturday, he took part as a performer in The Waterfall of Time, a piece which he wrote specially for The Scottish Flute Trio.

It is a suite of pieces employing a whole dazzling array of Japanese percussion instruments as well as bamboo shakuhatchi. The trio of western flutes included, from time to time, the dark plumy sounds of an alto flute. The Suite opened with a brief but energetic introduction for the Japanese drums before the flute trio entered with softly coloured harmonies topped with a beautifully contoured solo from Joji Hirota on shakuhatchi. The second piece in the Suite brought together the flute trio and the battery of percussion in vigorous rhythmic music that would have made a splendid backing for Riverdance. A solo flute cadenza led into a rather soft centred and bland meditation for the flute trio before the fourth piece which used both percussion and bamboo flute. A second solo flute cadenza led into possibly the most interesting part of the work where wonderfully light percussion and solo flute introduced an interlude for the trio with minimalist implications. Some of this music suggested the same sort of ideas as fusion cuisine where eastern flavours are blended with western ideas. I am not sure that this always works and for me the best and most interesting sections of Hirota’s composition were the parts, especially near the end, where the Japanese influence was strongest.

Original article reproduced here with kind permission.

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15Sat1.00 pmAberdeenScottish Flute Trio, The Waterfall of Time