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Dream of the Cherry Blossoms

Dream of the Cherry Blossoms

Keiko Abe

Dream of the Cherry Blossom, written by the virtuoso marimba player Keiko Abe (b 1937), is in its very title redolent of the Japanese countryside and was inspired by one of her annual springtime trips to see the blossoms. "I was standing once beneath a cherry tree whose blossoms were past their prime when the petals began to scatter…enveloping me in a blizzard of blossoms."

This magical experience transported her far away from the real world into "one of beautiful, fantastic and mysterious tranquillity". At the same time the Japanese song Sakura, sakura came into her mind and as well as reflecting her feelings the piece is based on an improvisation on this song. Gentle repeating notes open the work and the song gradually emerges. The delicate melody is certainly the focus of the first part of the piece before a central more idiosyncratic episode framing a cadenza-like passage succeeds it. There is then a greater emphasis on rhythm, the song nonetheless providing the thematic basis, and the work closes with the haunting repeated notes returning and fading away.


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