Chronos/Kairos/Tactus is a highly colorful piece for orchestra by contemporary Japanese composer Yûta Bandoh. This piece is in three movements, I. route:A [variations/points], 2. route:β [entr’acte /3 lignes], and 3. route:Γ [mush up /mélange]. Each movement is separated by a loud slap of the slapstick. The first movement explores ideas of sporadic notes of short duration with a high emphasis on rhythm while the second explores extended textures of notes of long duration with more melodiousness. The last movement then combines these ideas in a highly fragmentary form. Because this piece is on the longer end of the spectrum, I have written a list of bullet points about specific areas in the music.
- 0’00”-0’28”: Fantastic opening. The sonorities are voiced beautifully and the rhythmic texture created from the plucked strings and chirping wooden percussion is delightful. Definitely brings to mind the idea of points as all notes occupy a very small section of time. Bandoh’s spacing between phrases adds a lot to the passage as well because it gives you time as the listener to reflect on what was just stated.
- 0’40”-1’03”: The interaction between the basses and low register of piano is great. After such a swell in density of texture around the 30” it feels nice to return to this more transparent sound.
- 1’42”-2’52”: The densely textured syncopations and timbres of the pizzicato violins with high register piano make this passage absolutely dreamlike.
- 3’-3’56”: I really like how Bandoh seamlessly transfers from the foreground being dominated by glassy col legno sounds of the strings to the luscious sounds of brass and harp through the means of snare drum. I especially like the sonority at 3’50”
- 5’35”-6’32” : The atmosphere here is highly buoyant. The rhythmic interplay explored here is very fun to listen to.
- 6’46”-7’30”: What a bold sonority to start the second movement, Intermission/3 lines with. The lines to be explored through the movement immediately take shape as notes of great duration. The glissandi in the violins at 7’04” really add another dimension to this concept as they take the long duration and combine it with highly variable pitch.
- 8’02”-8’10”: Love this moment. Such a great relief from the dense texture to hear the glissandi return in the strings in such isolation.
- 10’06”-10’55”: After such turbulence, this strangely lyrical section is a great contrast. I especially like how the large glissandi interact with the more melodic content. The slapstick that cuts off the whole group at the end of this segment is such a great moment, it reminds me of how Stravinsky abruptly ends some portions of Petrouchka.
- 11’04”-11’58”: Since the previous movement was largely so dense in texture, it is a beautiful contrast to have the sparse opening to this piece. The way previous ideas become fragmented and juxtaposed against each other here is very cool to listen to. Warm trills in the strings combined with glistening piano lines are interrupted by coarse dissonance in the low brass, glissandi and pizzicato are cut off by woodwinds and percussion, etc. It especially is fun to listen to how conscientiously time is used. The apex of this section gets stupendously loud…
- 11’58”-14’: …and is followed by delicately lilting, off-kilter lines in the woodwinds with periodic pairings with strings and piano. This part reminds me a lot of Jan Sandström’s Trumpet Concerto No. 2. I love the glassy col legno sounds that return momentarily at 12’10” before returning to the material that preceded it. During the second half of this awkward woodwind dance, some of the wild sounds from the brass begin to intrude which instigate change in texture.
- 15’55”: Exceptionally great change in character and instrumentation here. It’s one of those moments that keeps you on your toes as a listener because it is absolutely not where you would expect to go.
- 17’16”-18’36”: The rapid implementation of slap stick to contradict heavily layered ideas from many previous sections of music with silence is a fun effect. It’s like a light switch turning on and off frequently. Everything becomes illuminated in the room but only long enough for you to see some of the space around you before shutting off and leaving you totally in the dark again.
This was my first time hearing Bandoh’s music, but I enjoyed it very much! Considering that he is only 23 years old, it will be very interesting to see what directions he will go in as he continues to write.
Thoughts on the music? Feel free to comment below. Enjoy the music!