Irai no kane (2008) for chamber orchestra

The title of the work refers to the large bronze bell of the buddhist temples that often becomes the subject of several haiku poems. The word iriai literally means “sunset,” but according to Shihji Ogawa, it is shorthand for “the sunset bell.” In the haiku tradition, there is often a close association between the sound of the tolling bell that announces the end of the day, the mutability of human experience, the sheer temporality of all things and a feeling of infinite sadness, as in the following haiku by Shinkei that sparked the idea of the current work:

odorokade
kyo mo munashiku
kurenu nari
aware ukimi no
iriai no sora

susumuru kane o
aware to mo kike

–Shinkei

Unmoved as ever,
yet another day has drawn
to a useless close;
the pathos of drifting souls as
the evening bell fads in the sky.

Hear the infinite sadness in
the lesson of the booming bell

–Shinkei

Iriai no kane attempts to capture a metaphor of the sound of the evening bell that reverberates like an echo in the mountains in the background of a temple and seems to envelop the whole area.

The work was commissioned by conductor Edo Micic and his ensemble Zeitfluss.

Performance history:

  • 04-12-2016. Voxman Building, University of Iowa School of Music. Ensemble of the Center for New Music, David Gompper – conductor.
  • 24-05-2010. Small Hall Vartoslav Lisinsky, Zagreb, Croatia. Ensemble Zeitfluss, Edo Micic – conductor.
  • 17-05-2010. Kultur Zentrum Minotiten, Minoritensaal, Graz, Austria. Ensemble Zeitfluss, Edo Micic – conductor.
  • 23-06-2008. Kultur Zentrum Minotiten, Minoritensaal, Graz, Austria. Ensemble Zeitfluss, Edo Micic – conductor.