JAPAN 2013 TOUR BLOG


DUO SWEET 17 JAPAN TOUR BLOG 2013















(We wish to thank the Flemish Government for its financial aid in partly covering the costs of airplane and train tickets, and the Osaka Flanders Centre for their contribution which enabled us to donate the entire proceeds of our Urawa concert to an institution that takes care of the 2011 tsunami orphans. True to the principles of our "Building Bridges" non-profit organisation, this tour was basically a charity event without any monetary purpose).



In july of 2012, Duo Sweet 17 went on tour in Japan.

This was a tour in which we wanted to avoid the beaten paths, the regular concert circuit and the professional organisers, the traditional concert halls and the audiences in formal evening attire.

Rather, we wanted to take our music to people and places that are usually neglected by "classical" musicians: schools and hospitals, but also a cafetaria, a buddhist temple, an instrument museum or a wedding chapel. And when i say "our" music, in fact it was as much "their" music as ours. We brought with us almost three hours' worth of pieces, chosen from the baroque, classical, romantic and contemporary repertoire, but also a very substantial selection of Japanese folk and children's songs, pop and film music.

Preparing for the tour was quite a bit of work. Making arrangements of the Japanese pieces for our less than common pairing of a Viola d'Amore and a Viennese Violone was a fascinating and instructive experience - and very time-consuming as well. 

When arranging music, it's never enough to just transcribe the notes: more importantly, you have to transcribe the story, the atmosphere, the "feel" of the piece. You have to tell a story with every piece you play. If you don't, the music falls flat on its face and the audience is left out in the cold.

(By the way, the same is true of classical music
of course. But unfortunately, most classical musicians are not very good at telling stories. They seem to think that playing the notes is quite an accomplishment in itself, and that musical excellence is related to how precisely they "translate" the black dots and the indications in the score. I really think all music scores should carry a warning: "Ceci N'est Pas De La Musique". The real soul and meaning of music can never adequately be notated, and hence can never be adequately reproduced by sticking to the score).

Finding the true "voice" of each and every piece was very gratifying work. Concocting a different program for each of our 12 concerts (in 12 days) was another daunting task. Playing for school children in a huge gym is very different from playing for music lovers in an instrument museum, and so we had to figure out which pieces to pick for each concert. And of course we wanted to mix and match: we didn't want to simply play only children's songs for the kids, and only classical music for the music lovers.

Part of the preparation was the purchase of the revolutionary B21 "Basse-Partout" double bass. I had ordered the instrument two years previously from Paris luthier Patrick Charton, an amazing man who has won several medals for his traditional violins, violas, celli and basses, but who is open-minded enough to have invented a resolutely modern bass with a detachable neck and with space-age features that most luthiers would (and do) reject out-of-hand.











Over the two years it took to get the bass, Patrick and i had a lot of discussions about how i wanted the bass to be. I wanted a "baroque" version of this 21th century instrument, with gut strings, a maple fingerboard, and frets. And i wanted it in Viennese Tuning, because the combination of the Viola d'Amore with the Viennese Bass is simply unbeatable in sound colour and resonance.







We added soundholes in the upper rib for increased sound control for the player, and a short extension which enabled the low D-string to descend to C. String length is an impressive 110 cm, which on most basses would make playing very uncomfortable, but the ergonomic qualities of Patrick's design make the string seem shorter than it really is. Gut strings sound better with longer string lengths, especially the lowest ones.
















The bass and its soft and hard cases weigh in at around 26 kilograms, which is slightly more than most airlines accept (part of the weight came from a soft bed spread i used as extra padding), but since the bass head can be removed from the neck, you can put the head in your hand luggage, thereby reducing the weight. Still, on the way to Japan i was charged an extra 100 euros for "oversize", and another 200 on the return flight.





Brussels bow maker Jerôme Gastaldo showed me his latest baroque bow before we left. He often shows me his new bass bows, and i've bought quite a few of them, in different models and made from different woods: a violone bow, a Dodd model classical bow and a baroque Viennese bow. This new bow he showed me was made out of walnut that came from a 19th century bed... It seemed much too light at first but i decided to give it a chance and i took it with me on tour, together with two old bows as spares. Over the two weeks in Japan i just fell in love with Jerôme's bow. It does everything i want it to do, and it sounds just perfect with Patrick's bass. And it looks really cool with its two silver rings. The frog is of the type that is held in place by the hair, so it has no tightening screw at the end. Beautifully simple and simply beautiful.

Before setting off, we had purchased Japan Rail Passes for the second week of the tour, which enabled us to take the ultra fast Shinkansen lines without having to pay the excorbitant prices they charge for tickets bought within Japan.
We took the precaution of getting first class tickets, since we couldn't be sure if regular cars had enough space to stow the bass.

In this blog you find a day-to-day report of our
trip. The tour was a very emotional adventure. Staying outside the "normal" circuit, we met so many wonderful people and everywhere we played we felt such sincere emotions that months later we find it impossible to forget, and we feel enriched and changed by the whole experience. Our eternal gratitude goes to the many, many people who helped us or who came to our concerts, and who shared with us these magical moments.

Korneel







Thursday 18th July

Yesterday we flew in from Brussels, over Moscow.
No sleep on the plane, dead tired on arrival at Narita.




Changed money, checked the bass. The case has suffered a little, but the bass is OK. A few weeks ago i gave the nice soft Mooradian case that came with the Charton bass to my daughter. Being a bass player herself (it's a family disease. One of my brothers is a bass player as well) she needed a new bass cover, and as i wanted to take the bass with two different necks to Italy for the Grumo Festival (one fretted 5-string neck with gut strings, and a "modern" steel-strung 4-string neck) the Mooradian case was a bit too thick to allow me to take both necks plus the bass. So i got a thinner bass cover, that doesn't really protect the bass as well as the Mooradian, but i use bits and pieces of foam and a soft bed cover to make sure the bass is safe and doesn't move around in the hard case. The thin cover in combination with the foam makes it possible to take the bass and both necks inside the one case.

(In the end, we didn't go to Italy because i was diagnosed with hyperparathyroidism and i didn't have the necessary energy to take part in the Festival. But that's another story).

From Narita airport we wanted to take the shuttle bus to Urawa, where we will have our home base for the first week of our Japan tour. Unfortunately, the bass was not allowed on the bus because of its size, and we had to get a refund for our bus tickets. We took a train instead, which had the disadvantage of not stopping at Urawa and so we had to take yet another train to reach our final destination, where we were met with pouring rain as we got off. Haruko's father was waiting for us at the station, and we walked to our studio through the rain, but the bass remained dry.


As a precaution, before setting off on our trip i had exchanged the little front wheels of the case with a sturdier model. The original "coffee table" wheels had proved less than durable on the trip from Paris to Brussels, when i had picked up the bass at Patrick's workshop. They got seriously damaged on the Paris and Brussels sidewalks so i chose a stronger and slightly bigger type of wheel.

Also, the underside of the case is quite fragile when using escalators: the edges of the steps bite into the case material like little steel teeth. I have to take care to lift the case off the steel escalator steps, otherwise they will just bite holes through the case.




An international tour like one this yields useful information about the instrument and its case, that can later be used to continually improve the design of this revolutionary bass and its accessories.

Our first night was rather jetlagged, and we woke up at midnight, thinking it was morning - and again at 3 am. We finally got up at 4 and had a meal at a 24- hour restaurant. Last night i had assembled the bass already. Today's concert was scheduled at 9am in a big school, and i figured it was better to go there with the assembled bass in its soft cover, rather than to take it, disassembled, in its hard case. This way, the gut strings would be under tension and wouldn't budge too much. I have found that they need at least an hour to settle a little bit after assembling the bass. If they have all night, it's even better.

Another problem is the tension of gut strings. On the one hand, they are a lot less tight than steel strings. But on the other hand, whereas steel strings only need to travel over a very short length to lose their tension, gut strings keep their tension for much longer.

With Patrick's collapsible tailpiece, i can't really take enough tension off the gut strings to allow me to take the bridge away, or to put it back on (with steel strings it works like a charm). So i have to loosen the strings quite a bit with the tuning gears first, before i open up the tailpiece. Interesting to note that the top strings (A and F#) have a lot more tension than the other ones, so these two need to be loosened quite a lot.



Which all explains why i like to have more time before the concert, so that i can bring the instrument up to tension and let it settle.

This morning we were picked up by car at 7.15 and i had been hoping to warm up till 9, but of course there are all the social obligations. Especially in Japan, human relations are very important and you can't just say "sorry guys, but i have to warm up". But the people here are so nice, they really go out of their way to be helpful. 

In the end, our warm-up lasted no more than 15 minutes. We were escorted to the gym hall, where two giant ventilators had been installed, and two smaller ones on stage, right behind us. A short sound check for the microphones, and then 800 students were let loose. This was done in such a disciplined and organized way, it was a pleasure to see. Especially since at the same time it all happened with a kind of good-humoured naturalness that i hadn't really expected.






Not being properly warmed up is always one of my biggest concerns. There are musicians who can perform brilliantly without any apparent effort, but i'm not one of those. I'm at ease when i have at least an hour of individual warm-up and a short rehearsal before the concert. If not, i'm not really comfortable. But part of being a professional is the ability to perform at a high level under all circumstances, so one prepares ones mind for such occasions as well. In the end, the audience should not feel the player's slight discomfort. I find that shifting my attention to the joy of playing and to the audience's comfort takes away a lot of the pressure. Being too self-centered is often the cause of a poor performance.

We played for an hour, mostly Japanese music that we arranged for our Duo, but also some Sperger and Fritz Kreisler. Many of Kreisler's pieces work really well for our duo and for our instruments. Right now we have "Liebesleid" and "Liebesfreud", and "Schön Rosmarin". I've always wanted to play Rosmarin on the bass, ever since i heard my talented orchestra colleague Janos Csikos play the first few bars with a remarkable sense of style (he's an extraordinary musician on the bass), and arranging it for Viennese Tuning makes it great fun to play. 

As an encore we played the signature tune of the Japanese televison series "Fu Ten", which all Japanese people over 20 know and love, but the 12 to 15 year-olds for whom we played today weren’t really familiar with it. They were still moved by it, because the music itself is very beautiful.



A few days after the concert, we received hundreds of letters from the children, expressing their appreciation of the concert. Many of them wrote that when they grow up, they want to see the world...





This afternoon we have to see the organizer of tomorrow’s two concerts (we play in the afternoon and in the evening, two different programs). Hope we can get some rest tonight, and some serious practicing tomorrow morning - in our studio we're not allowed to play.

Tomorrow we'll play one set for children aged 0 to 4 years and their parents in the afternoon, and another program, this time more "serious", for an evening audience.

The place where we will play is a kind of tearoom/art gallery/concert hall, owned by Mrs. Nakahira and her husband, and is called "Dolce". Inside is an exhibition of some of the most beautiful pottery i have ever come across, all made by the owner of the place. I have never paid much attention to pottery, and it was a personal discovery to find that one can actually be deeply moved by watching earthenware cups and dishes.

http://dolce.kmlw.net/event/

We had a long talk about the practicalities of both concerts with Mrs. Nakahira, who is organizing the event.




Many musicians have played there before, some of them world famous such as the baroque cellist Hidemi Suzuki. In fact, as we entered the place we heard Bach's cello suites over the hi-fi system in a splendid interpretation by Suzuki. As it happens, Maestro Suzuki lives only a stone's throw away from the cafeteria.

Mrs Nakahira is an expert and teacher of KAMISHIBAI, and we were privileged to witness a kamishibai course after our discussions. The lesson took place in the bar itself. Kamishibai is the art of telling a story, accompanied by drawings that are shown one by one inside a small wooden frame with opening doors. As you slide out one drawing, the next scene is revealed. With the doors closed, it looks like a small, rectangular wooden suitcase. When the doors are opened, it becomes a miniature theatre. One could say it's a kind of precursor of the television. Traveling storytellers would arrive on their bicycles and hand out sweets to the children before starting their show. A surefire way to have an eager audience.























What was remarkable was the fact that some of Mrs. Nakahira's pupils are in fact university students specializing in economics, and that as part of their curriculum they are required to get some expertise in kamishibai. This might seem strange at first, but it makes perfect sense when one sees what is the important thing in this art form: as sensei ("Sensei" is an honorary title) explained, it's all about communication. One has to capture and keep the attention of the audience. This starts even before the story is told, by the way one opens the doors of the small wooden cabinet: where to put the hand that opens the frame, how fast it is opened, how to awaken curiosity and how to create an atmosphere. Then she addressed the way the story is told, how to use voice inflections, silences, sound timbre and volume, how to not only read the story but also how to read the pictures: how to make the words and the drawings coincide, as if they were one instead of two separate entities.


I found it quite interesting how a university finds inspiration in this old art, so as to develop communication skills in economy students. Of course one might cynically remark that what is learned here, are quite literally the "tricks of the trade" and that the ultimate goal is to become convincing enough to make (more) money.

Be that as it may, the parallels with the way music is taught and played immediately sprang to mind. Whereas sensei kept putting the importance of the AUDIENCE first, music students all over the world hardly ever hear the words "audience" or "public" in their lessons. It is my guess that musicians might benefit as much, or more, from a kamishibai course than future economists.




FRIDAY 19th July




Today we could finally practice and rehearse. We went to Cafe Dolce where we played for three hours, going through our repertoire and fine-tuning some bits and pieces, and getting used to the acoustics of the place. In the meantime a young sound engineer, Kaneso-san, set up his microphones and cameras to capture both concerts: one in the afternoon for mothers and their babies, and another one in the evening for an audience of music lovers.

Mrs. Nakahira, the Kamishibai expert, runs the tearoom with her husband and daughter. The husband is a great artist himself and there is a permanent exhibition of his extraordinary pottery inside. Mrs. Nakahira travels all over the world, teaching and performing. The daughter runs the tearoom. Mrs. Nakahira will be our "wheels" for the first few days of our tour. She will drive us around from one concert to the next.

This is such a warm, caring and welcoming family, truly wonderful people. They have a very personal approach to the way they run things. The tearoom only offers a very limited slection of food and drinks. None of the usual brands of beer or softdrinks are available, all the food is from sources they know personally. In fact they only offer two dishes, and three desserts, all home-made. The warm wooden interior feels very inviting, the sound system is of very high quality and the choice of music is exquisite.

So we ran through our whole tour repertoire: Japanese children's songs, film music, Viennese classical, Italian baroque... All in all we brought over two hours of music with us, from which we choose different programs for different occasions.

For the children's concert we played the Japanese songs of course, interspersed with some Italian baroque by Luigi Borghi and Kreisler's "Liebesleid" and "Schön Rosmarin" for the mothers :-)

In the evening we had a menu of J.M. Sperger, Borghi, Joe Hisaishi's film music (he wrote delicious music for films like 'The Summer of Kikujiro" and "Kuribito" - "Departures" in English), Vanhal's bass concerto in a duo version, a sonata by Attilio Ariosti, and more.

The audience was all one can dream of. Attentive and supportive, emotional. A concert of perfect communication between performers and listeners. The physical closeness between us and the public certainly contributed to this feeling of one-ness. Being able to read each other's expressions is one of the great advantages of the small-scale concerts we love so much.




For a while i thought one of the gentlemen in the audience was Hidemi Suzuki, he bore an uncanny resemblance with the Japanese cellist. For a moment i had the feeling i had to make up my mind whether to be impressed and to feel defensive, or to rise above the intimidation and to play the very best i could. In a strange way, imagining that i was indeed playing for a world-renowned and fabulous musician made me play better. During the break i was told that it wasn't him after all, but by then the atmosphere was so intimate and warm that the rest of the concert went like a breeze.

One of the other guests was a well-known writer, Jintaro Ishida, aged 92 but still quick-witted and very active. He does a lot of research into Japan’s war past, which is not always to everyone’s liking, and his personal slogan is something like “Independence For The Aged”. In the sense of adolescents growing up and becoming independent, he defends the idea that old people should “grow up” and claim their independence as well. He is a remarkable and excentric gentleman of great intelligence, and it was a privilege to meet him.







The next day, we were presented by Kaneso-san with both a CD and DVD-recording of the concert, all ready and edited, with pictures and titles and all... And at one of our school concerts, just as we came back to the school director's office for an after-concert cup of tea, the secretary arrived with a stack of pictures of the concert. How they managed to do that in the two minutes that had passed since the end of the concert, remains a mystery to me.



(Original notes as i wrote them down in between things)

JAPAN TOUR friday

Another scorching day.

When we arrived at Urawa, two days ago, the rain gave me some hope that for the duration of the tour we would be spared the infernal japanese summer heat. But yesterday was a hot day (for me anyway, but according to the locals it was nice and cool... ) and this morning at 7.30, as we went out for breakfast, my shirt was sweat-soaked within minutes.

We'll be picked up by car at 9.30, then we have all morning for some necessary practicing. The kids are expected by 2pm. We brought little presents for all of them. A great part of our luggage consists of presents. You can't come to Japan and meet people without this social lubricant.

The good thing is that you go home with nearly empty suitcases. Unless you are tempted to fill the empty spaces with all the things you buy here, and that seem so exotic and necessary when you buy them, but that make you wonder what the hell got into you as you unpack them once you're home.

Yesterday, as we entered the school, i missed the sign that said "for god's sake take off your disgusting, dirty shoes and wear the slippers we provide" or something to that effect, thereby doing what all gaijin (foreigners) do sooner or later - even though every guidebook has a whole chapter devoted to what-not-to-do in Japan. No great harm was done though, as the bright green school slippers everybody was wearing acted like an alarm flag before i had advanced three steps. (Later on, we played the concert with these slippers on : my first official concert in slippers).

But i do have an excuse : when entering the school i was so astounded by the sight of a dozen uniformed schoolgirls standing in the hallway and practicing on their clarinets like there was no tomorrow, that I forgot everything else. Some of them were playing scales and exercises, others repeating orchestra excerpts, the whole resulting in a cacophony of squeaky clarinet sounds.

As it turned out, they were members of the school band, who came to school early every day to practice before regular classes started. Most Japanese schools have a choir and/or an orchestra, often of a very high standard.



SATURDAY 20th July

On saturday morning Mrs. Nakahira drove us to Gunma prefecture, a three hour trip into a wild and beautiful mountainous region where the woods are populated with bears, monkeys and snakes. 

On the way to our next evening concert, we stopped at the house of the local Bonze, an old acquaintance of Mrs. Nakahari's. The original plan was for us to play him a few pieces, but instead he was quite content with our CD and he invited us to a local Soba restaurant, called "Jazz and Soba" where indeed the background music, played through a quality hi-fi system, consisted of some very listenable and sophisticated jazz. 

(It’s refreshing to find restaurants or bars where the owner pays attention both to the kind of music that is played and to the sound quality. Frankly, i always prefer places where no music is played at all and i often run out as fast as i can when i’m hit in the face by insupportable muzak or the industrial hits-of-the-day that swamp bars, shops and public places. But every once in a while one finds a place where somebody really cares about the choice of music, and invests in a decent, non- invasive sound system).

Afterwards, we went to see the buddhist temple where the bonze has been working most of his life. The temple is high up in the mountains, and after a ride that felt like a merry-go-round through woods and hills, we arrived at the temple complex where we were greeted by giant red masks of the Tengu, a kind of devilish god with an enormous nose. A great number of smaller masks was on display. Visitors are invited to take one and to carry it on their walk through the temple grounds, then to return it at the entrance. But the bonze wanted me to keep it, so now i'm toting Tengu-sama around in my luggage on our tour. It’s one of my most-prized souvenirs of the trip.




The region we were travelling through is in fact one of Japan's radioactive "hot spots". The people there are mainly farmers who produce some of the best vegetables and fruit in the country. I have never had plums that were as tasty as the ones they grow here. But with every bite and with every meal one wonders how much radiation one is exposing oneself to.

Our next two concerts were organized by the owner of a "wedding hotel" chain. On saturday evening we played in the wedding chapel of one of the hotels. At the short rehearsal we found that stepping down from the podium had the combined advantages of better sound and greater proximity to the first rows of benches.




We always like to be within touching distance of our listeners, we need to see their faces and expressions. We sometimes change the order or content of the program during the concert, because we can "read" the audience and feel which pieces are best suited to the moment. We also like to talk to the listeners, give them some explanations about the instruments, explain the historical time frame and connect it to what they know. In Japan for instance, we like to situate the music we play in a historical context, and compare that to what was going on in Japan at the same time. Or we give some background information about the composers or about how we arrange things for our duo, and where we find our ideas.




It's nice to find the right balance of words and music, and to make them into a natural flow. The concert shouldn't become a lecture. But neither do we want to play the kind of recital where there is no communication at all between musicians and listeners, except the hoped-for and idealized communication through the music itself. In reality, this rarely happens. I'm afraid we just imagine it does.




From our audiences at least, we know they most often feel intimidated and uncomfortable at "normal" classical concerts, and left out in the cold. I think the concert experience can be much more intense if classical musicians step down from their podium (figuratively and often also literally) and actively try to establish a form of give and take with their audiences.

A considerable bonus of this way of playing is the fact that stage fright almost completely disappears. Shifting the focus of the performance towards the audience instead of oneself makes for a more relaxed way of playing and a more enjoyable experience.

Although the program for both hotel concerts was centered around 18th century "Court Music" - it said so on the huge concert posters inside the hotel - we interspersed it with some Japanese pieces. The one piece that invariably has listeners reach for their handkerchiefs is the one we keep for the end or as an encore, and is the theme music of the old TV series "Fu Ten". From what i have seen in YouTube, it's a very touching story, and it seems to be part of a collective memory in Japan. Many people have told us that it takes them back not only to the series itself, but also to deeply personal experiences that are in some way associated with the stories. And some have told us that to see and hear a European musician play "their" music with feeling and passion makes them very happy. Which is of course a huge compliment that i cherish and that motivates me to get to the essence of the music every time i play 
it.

It's refreshing to see that pre-conceived ideas and clichés about other people and cultures are no more than that: clichés. Japanese people can be just as emotional as anyone else.



SUNDAY 21st July






Today we had to get up early again. The hardest part of this tour is the fact that we never get enough sleep. After an evening concert there is no way we can just take our instruments and leave. Staying on and talking to your audience is part of the whole experience. And often we have to get up early for a morning concert. Drive there, meet the organizers (this often takes most of the time), unpack, warm- up, sound check...

So on sunday morning we left the hotel early in the morning and drove to the next hotel in the mountains. Yesterday's hotel had been a nice, classy place. But this one was in a category of its own. Built on a mountain top, this was a real castle, towers and all. Here couples come to get married in style. The hallway walls are all covered in white marble plaques, each with the names of a couple and their wedding date.
The grounds are huge and contain several buildings: the castle itself, a separate restaurant, another tower. But there was no time to see it all. Instead we went to the concert hall to test the sound system, since the concert would be discreetly amplified. They had also set up a big TV screen with images of Europe, and seeing Brussels’ Grote Markt from the corner of the eye while we were playing was a nice touch.





Since i was feeling quite tired (the HPT causes bouts of great fatigue that often come unexpectedly) i asked for some juice or "something sweet". Not five minutes later someone brought a huge tray with two enormous glasses of juice and two big portions of ice cream and cake. Welcome to Japan!

After the concert we had a photo shoot with the official hotel photographer, who was extremely efficient, then we packed our things (always the danger of forgetting something, especially when you're tired. Yesterday i left a small Korg tuner at the hotel. But this being Japan, i kind of expect it to turn up mysteriously one of these days, or maybe it will be in my letterbox when i get home).




Later on we were invited by the hotel owner, a classy lady with a great sense of humour, to another soba place. Unfortunately this was one of those restaurants where you have to sit on your knees at a very low table, and after five minutes i had the feeling i was in for a grueling experience that would leave me crippled for the rest of the tour, if not my life. But as a foreigner you don't want to draw attention to yourself so i tried to be as inconspicuous as possible, as i shifted my position this way and that. I found that leaning over the table every time i took some of the cold appetizers gave my blood a welcome chance to rush through the thirsty veins in my legs, but i couldn't keep leaning over once the soba arrived. Luckily the restaurant's okāsan (okasan means “mother”. This was a family-run business, with the husband in the kitchen, his wife and her mother waiting on the customers) had noticed my agony and came to my rescue with a small fold-out bench, about 20 cm in height, which i could sit on while having just enough space underneath for my folded legs and feet. This took most of the strain off my numb limbs and i felt very grateful indeed.

After the meal we visited the lady's private house. In the back garden she has a 250 year-old authentic Japanese wooden house that once belonged to a nobleman. This is the kind of place you will hardly ever have a chance to visit, especially since it is in near perfect condition, as if the owner had just moved out last week. The smell of tatami, the calligraphy and the landscape paintings on the walls, the wooden-floored corridor running around the house, the ancient furniture, it all combined into a journey through time and space.

As if this wasn't enough, we we treated to a very rare experience indeed, called Kōdō, or the Way of the Perfumes. Just like you have the Sādō, the Way of Tea, or tea ceremony, Kōdō is an ancient art of the nobility. 

First we were shown a collection of texts, which turned out to be a kind of society game in which a perfume would be described in Haiku, and one had to guess which perfume was meant. Then came the actual perfume "tasting" experience, in which very tiny strips of perfume material (often woods, like sandal wood for instance) are heated on a very small glass plate above a tiny heat source buried inside a small clay pot. One cups ones hand over the pot and inhales the perfume.




I could never have imagined the effect of this experience. We only smelled three different perfumed woods, but for a first time this was more than enough. The intensity was absolutely mindblowing. Very complex and rich smells, the strength of which i could change through distance or through the mixture with outside air (the pure perfume is almost too strong when you get really close). 

Smell is a very powerful sense that conjures up all kinds of images and memories, and at a certain point i thought of it as a kind of drug. I wanted to drink it all in, keep the perfumed air inside my lungs. We were told that one of the samples we smelled was worth 10 times the price of gold. I didn't bother asking which one. Having a name and a price tag put on it would, to my mind, have diminished the value of the experience.

After tea accompanied by a wonderful desert wrapped in a fresh green leaf, we took our leave and headed home, but not without having stopped at the place of one of Mrs. Nakahira's friends for a few minutes. In the garden, where they grow their own vegetables, we spotted a great number of very tiny green frogs, not more than an inch in size. Apparently these serve as food for the snakes, but we didn't see any of those.
Another long drive into the darkening evening. It gets dark around 7 here, but the sun is up before 5 in the morning. 

I dozed off in the car's back seat to be awakened a bit later by some very familiar sounds. Mrs. Nakahira was playing some old CCR songs (Creedence Clearwater Revival with John Fogerty, one of the greatest rock bands in history) on the car CD-player, and what a great ending of our trip that was... It gave me the feeling that the circle was closed. Having started my music career as a bass guitarist in various rock bands, the songs of CCR had been my first real music lessons. It seemed so appropriate to end the first part of our Japanese tour with this music.

John Fogerty, He Of The Sandpaper Voice, once said that a good rock song should sound like a car door slamming shut. I often wish that classical musicians could find a similar attitude to so-called serious music. Fogerty wrote and sang some of the greatest songs in the history of rock - or in the history of music tout court. To this day, after forty-odd years in the classical field, i fail to see why good rock or pop music should be deemed inferior to good classical music, and as a matter of fact most of what is really important to me as a performer of classical music, i learned when i was young and playing rock and pop music.

We got home around 9, dead tired but very satisfied. In the past few days we have met so many truly good people, we have had so many touching moments. I feel very privileged indeed.

Tomorrow we have to get up very early again for two school concerts...



MONDAY 22nd July

Today we played a school concert again. Actually we played twice, for two different age groups.

As we entered, the obligatory slippers were waiting for us. No time for warm-up today, the concert started at 10 a.m. so after visiting the headmaster in his office we went straight to the gym hall.






The headmaster's office gave me an eery feeling of déjà-vu. It was nearly exactly the same as the one in the other school. A true clone.
Do they have a fixed model for headmaster's offices in Japan? The desk, the couches and the tea-table all laid out in the exact same pattern, the pictures of former school directors side by side high on the walls, the same curtains and table-cloth. Weird...




As the children marched in, in military-like rows and chanting something that sounded like a school- hymn to my ears, i wondered whether this was one of those highly disciplined schools we in the West sometimes imagine when we think about Japan. But soon these thoughts would be dispelled.
The day before, we had received the score of Pachelbel's canon, which we were supposed to play along with the piano, to accompany the school choir at the concert. They sang the school song and played the recorder in the Canon.







After the concert we were presented with beautifully made paper "medals" or flowers, and we were invited to one of the classrooms to share lunch with the children. That was quite extraordinary... As i was told, in Japanese schools, lunch is taken in the classroom. The desks are turned around front to front, and the teacher eats at his own desk. The kids wear white aprons and white hats, and a few of them are given the job of distributing the food, which comes in big kettles. Each gets a small carton of milk, which is neatly opened up and flattened once it's empty. I was too clumsy to do it right, and one of the kids showed me how to do it.




Of course there was a thank-you speech from one of the children, and Haruko had to speak as well, and answer some questions.

The atmosphere was very open and joyful, and teacher joined in the fun. During lunchtime, the children and the teacher behave in the most informal manner, sharing jokes and talking together, there is some shouting, yelling and teasing, all in good spirit.

I was very impressed with the calm and natural, friendly authority the youngish teacher displayed and i found myself secretly wishing i had had a teacher like that when i was a schoolboy.

As it seems, lunchtime is the time to be a bit more informal, to be closer to each other, a time when teacher can be more of an older brother. As school starts again, that is finished and it's back to serious work. Through western eyes that may seem strange. The same mechanism exists in the workplace. There is a time for work and discipline, and there is a time to relax, to drink, to be more open. It seems to be more black-and-white than what we are used to. In the western world the lines seem to be more blurred, especially in the sense that the fun element infiltrates more or less strongly into the work element. At least the Japanese system has the advantage of being clear.

Sitting at a table with these kids was really a great joy, and it is one of my favorite memories of the tour.

Afterwards, as we left, we ran into a bunch of schoolkids, all carrying their own keyboard, the “pianica”, on which they practice at home and which they bring to school for their music lessons.






Later on, we were lucky to get a big taxi. I had thought the bass would fit in the trunk of a normal cab, but when by chance i caught a glimpse of an open taxi trunk i saw that most of the space was occupied by a huge gas tank.

In the afternoon, still heavily jetlagged, i slept for 5 hours. But we woke up at 1.30 in the morning.

The next day we took Haruko's son and daughter to their cousin's place. We stayed there all day long, then we took a train to Omiya and stayed at a hotel near the train station. Next morning we were headed for Hamamatsu.





Wednesday 24th July
HAMAMATSU INSTRUMENT MUSEUM





Hamamatsu is, in a way, the music capital of Japan with numerous big brand musical instrument factories established there.

(The museum building in the picture has the peculiarity that, seen from above, it has the shape of a grand piano...) 




After a long train ride, we needed some time to figure out how to get to the Instrument Museum. With a bass, it's always an adventure to get from point A to point B, especially if you don't really know the way. When you have nothing heavy to carry or push around, you can afford to take a wrong turn or the wrong direction. No big deal. With a bass it's a very different matter. In the meantime it had started to rain. But after having asked directions a couple of times, we got there without too much trouble.




We were welcomed by the director of the Museum, Mr. Shima and by his staff, and we were shown the hall where we would be playing. The museum isn't enormous, but it's quite spacy and the instrument collections are displayed very beautifully. They have 3 original Viole d'Amore but no Viennese Bass (these are very rare indeed, and most of them are still being played today. Unfortunately only a very few have not been modernized - on the other hand, as with so many string instruments, the modernisation has helped them to survive to our days). 




We added Patrick Charton's "Basse-partout" to the museum's collection for a moment, just to take a picture or two. (Actually, every instrument museum should buy one. It's a very interesting instrument. But that would probably mean Patrick should work day and night, and that he should give up making any other instruments. Not very likely, because he builds top quality violins, violas,celli and gambas as well).








In between the rehearsal and the concert, we met our old friend and “La Monnaie” Orchestra colleague of past days, Shoko Mishina. We had a wonderful time together, having coffee and reminiscing about "the good old times" of the Gerard Mortier and Sylvain Cambreling era - for those who were there, a very exciting period indeed...







The podium in the Instrument Museum is one of the most special and beautiful spots we've played, with a marble-coloured floor and tall sculptures surrounding us. The ceiling extends to the next floor, and it sounds quite good there. We made some pictures of the rehearsal, to give you an idea of what it looks like.





This was one of our more "serious" concerts, part of the Museum's concert series, and we played the Ariosti Sonata, J.M. Sperger, L.Borghi, but we couldn't resist throwing in the "Fu Ten" tune at the end, which delighted the audience.



THURSDAY 25nd JULY
TOKORAZAWA




On thursday we went to play in a nursing home for elderly people.
Its director, Mr. Yamaguchi, is a university professor. He is very active in the field of care for old people, but also in the education of young people who don't have the chance to go to school. In Japan, school is compulsory and free of charge till the age of 16. After that, one has to pay if one wants his children to go on learning. Underprivileged families often cannot afford the tuition fee of 400 euros per month for each child, and so poverty is continued generation after generation, because lack of education makes it hard or impossible to get a decently paid job.

The home, or hospital where we played houses old people who are in the same situation of not being able to pay for care. They have no families who can look after them or pay for the care they need. Professor Yamaguchi is involved in the care for both these categories of underprivileged people, and his idea for today was to bring the young into contact with the old, with a concert as the catalyst.

So we put together a program of Japanese music that the older people were sure to remember from their childhood, and some children's songs, Japanese film and pop music for the young. Haruko played a couple of folk songs that were suggested to her, on the spot, with some amazing improvised embellishments here and there, and me filling in some percussion parts on the bass. I always make sure i get the easy part...

It was a very touching experience for us and for all those present. To our left were the children. We had been warned that many of them were "problem- children", difficult to control and unable to sit still for more than a minute. But very soon they warmed to the occasion. They seemed to be really fascinated by the two strange instruments they saw and heard for the first time, and as we played some beautiful pop songs they knew, they seemed to understand that this was not one of those boring classical concerts where the musicians impose their taste on the 
audience, but that we really played for THEM.

On the right side were the old people, many of them Alzheimer patients. It was an amazing and deeply moving experience to see them come to life as we played old Japanese folk songs, and to see their expressions when they started to sing along, digging up long-forgotten words from their impaired memories, tears pouring down their cheeks as they re-discovered songs they probably hadn't sung or heard since childhood.

As usual after school concerts, one of the children courageously made a prepared thank-you speech and quite a few handkerchiefs were pulled out on both sides of the audience.

For us as musicians, these experiences are worth more than anything we've done in the music field before, because here, what we do really matters to the people we play for.

After the concert we spent some time with the children and they took pictures. We weren't allowed to make photos of the hospital or its inhabitants.

A few weeks after our return to Belgium, we got two very beautiful drawings from the kids, with personal messages and impressions.
Some of them even wrote a few words in French. "Merci -ami-" one of them says, and to this day i'm moved whenever i see it.







Friday 26th july
Urawa







In the morning we were picked up at the tiny apartment we had rented for our stay (called, quite exotically for Japanese ears "Petit-Maison" - not entirely grammatically correct, but close enough) and we were taken to Urawa Motobuto cultural centre where we would meet Mōri-Sensei.

Mōri-Sensei had been the history teacher in Haruko's last school year, and now he had organised the concert we were going to play tonight. Mr. Mōri is a soccer fan, as are most people in Urawa. The Urawa "Red Diamonds" team is very famous in Japan and Mr. Mōri is a connoisseur who frequently gives lectures on soccer history at the local cultural centre.

Actually, he had attended most of our concerts the previous days, and it was nice to get to know him a little better. Haruko hadn't seen him in thirty years, so they had a lot of catching up to do. Mōri-Sensei had been an important figure to her when she was a schoolgirl. Having been selected as a child prodigy to go on a world tour with Professor Suzuki's music group, she had had to miss school for weeks on end, and Mr. Mōri had always been the one to protect and encourage her.

We were welcomed by the cultural centre staff, then we took the bass case up a few flights of stairs and i started to assemble the instrument. I'm becoming quite good at it now. In the beginning it took me ages to carefully put all the parts together, but now i can do it in a couple of minutes. I was eager to prepare the bass as quickly as possible, because the gut strings really need time to stretch before they keep their tuning. 


Sensei made an emotional speech, and although i didn't understand half of what he said i found it very endearing. We played a lot of Japanese pieces the audience knew, and they just couldn't get enough and kept asking for encores. 





There was one disabled person in the audience who kept yelling for more, it was quite touching. Later on, some people told me that actually they had wanted to do the same, but audiences in Japan are not supposed to yell. So they were glad someone did it for them...

My son Tobias was there, and he took some pictures. But since he wasn't sure if he was allowed to move around to shoot photos, he stayed in his seat like a good boy. Coming from China, he knew that the habits in both countries can be very different indeed, so for the first couple of days he was very careful. It's every foreigner's nightmare to commit some atrocious misstep in Japan, what with all the horror stories we read, about using the wrong slippers to visit the bathroom, or stuffing a business card into one's trouser pocket without paying much attention to it. Big mistake...





After the concert the three of us were invited to a very nice little restaurant by Mr. And Mrs. Mōri. Outside it was really hot, and it was a relief to enter the cool restaurant. Alas, the relief only lasted until we discovered that once again we'd be seated on the floor in this impossible position that wreaks havoc on the western body from the waist down. It never seems to bother the Japanese, though. They must be constructed differently, or else they have learned to keep smiling under the most awful circumstances.





Anyway, both the food and the company were delicious.



Around 3pm we went to Urawa City Centre where we would be playing the evening concert. This concert was organised in Haruko's honour by Mr. Mōri and Haruko's entire last-year class. For this concert we were sponsored by Ōsaka Flanders Centre, which enabled us to donate all the money from ticket sales to an organisation that helps the 2011 tsunami orphans.








After having set up the bass again, i practiced by myself for a couple of hours in the concert hall, and then we went out for coffee and cake in a "Patisserie Française", and lo and behold, the coffee was excellent et le gâteau était digne du nom de l'établissement.

As concert time approached, Haruko's friends arrived one by one and the joy of all those people rediscovering each other after so many years was something extraordinary.





Before the concert started, Mr.Mōri made a very emotional speech, his voice trembling the whole time. It must have been an overwhelming experience for him to meet all of his students again for such a festive occasion. 

The concert was one of the highlights of our tour, although i have to say that each and every concert was a highlight in its own right. Every venue from school to hospital, from tearoom to buddhist temple, every audience from mothers-with-babies to schoolkids, from music lovers to Alzheimer patients - every time it was a unique experience with its own flavour and its own emotions.














After the concert, party time... Teacher Mōri and his whole class had reserved a separate room at a restaurant, and they had decorated it with banners. It was nice to see all those old classmates getting re-acquainted and telling each other their life's stories, with Mōri-Sensei happier than ever amidst his old class.









We didn't stay all that long, we left them to their food and drinks and to their shared memories, and one of the students was so nice as to drive us back to the hotel in Miyagi, from where we would leave for Kakogawa, very early the next morning. Long days, short nights...











                                           

27-28 july
Kakogawa Temple








Another day, another Shinkansen. The Japanese bullet train is a fast and smooth ride. We had purchased first-class railpasses before leaving Belgium. First class, because with the bass we need the extra storage space that is available there.

My son Tobias, who happened to be in Shanghai at the moment, flew over for the second half of our Japan tour and he accompanied us everywhere. That was really nice. Tobias is a musician as well, albeit in the world of rock, pop and jazz and he plays a variety of instruments. Formally trained in classical percussion he plays the drums, but since he started playing the electric guitar as a kid he also plays that, and the electric bass (left-handed, just as his drumkit) and keyboards (no left-handed models currently available, so here he plays the traditional way :-)






Toby was a great help during that second week, because we really travelled a lot and we could surely use a helping hand with the luggage. He speaks Mandarin fluently, and he went to the trouble of learning hiragana and katakana (the two phonetic alphabets of the Japanese language) before coming to Japan, as well as a few basic phrases and expressions. On a few occasions he found the right way at the railway stations before i could decipher the names. He knows a lot more Chinese characters than i do, and Chinese characters are everywhere in Japan.

At Kakogawa station we were met by Hasegawa Sensei ("Sensei" is an honorary title, more polite and honorific than "san"), the bonze of the local buddhist temple. He drove us in his van to the temple, a beautiful wooden building surrounded by a graveyard and a garden. We were greeted by Mrs. Hasegawa and ushered inside, where four young people were 
waiting for us.




But first, let me talk a little about this remarkable man, Mr. Hasegawa.
His father had been a bonze as well. Hasegawa junior showed a great talent for music, and took up the double bass. He was so good that eventually he went to Vienna to study with the great late Ludwig Streicher. He gave numerous recitals as a double bass soloist and was on his way to a very promising career, when he decided to continue his father's path. He came back to Japan and studied for many years to become a bonze himself. When his father passed away, he took over the temple.




Being a bonze means you can't leave the country or go anywhere far away, because you might be needed at any time. Unable to pursue an international career, Hasegawa Sensei decided to turn things around. He built his own little concert hall where he played concerts, and where he invited the world's greatest bass players. All over the place you can find posters, photos, memorabilia of all the concerts and of the world- famous soloists who performed in Mr. Hasegawa's temple. 


Hasegawa Sensei is also a double bass teacher. He teaches children as well as advanced students, and the soloists he invites usually give master classes to his students as well. He married one of his students, a very gifted player herself, and they have a lovely family.

The four young people who greeted us at the temple were four of his students.




We were invited to a beautiful lunch, and all three of us were treated like kings. For once i didn't feel all too limited by my defective knowledge of the Japanese language, as Mr. Hasegawa speaks German - and a few other languages as well.

Then came the moment Sensei had been waiting for: the discovery of the mysterious B21 "Basse-Partout" bass, made by Patrick Charton. We took the case to the concert hall, and i unpacked and assembled the instrument in front of an eager audience of teacher Hasegawa and his wife and students.

I have to say, it is an astonishing instrument. Especially since i decided to turn it into a "baroque" bass, with maple fingerboard, frets and gut strings. With this bass, all you have to do is to change necks. The body stays the same, but you can add a steel-string neck or one with gut strings, a head-and-tailpiece assembly with 4 or one with 5 strings (neck and head can be separated), or even a 6-string violone neck or a 3-string Bottesini neck. I even ordered a one- string neck to play Paganini's Moses-Variations for one string. Should be ready soon...









The instrument works really well and sounds fantastic. The end-pin is operated with a pedal, the string angle over the bridge is adjustable with an Allen wrench, and so is the distance of the strings from the fingerboard. The sound post tension can be adjusted through a hole in the back, to accomodate 4 or 5 strings, steel or gut. This is truly an instrument for the 21st century, but essentially it is a very well-made traditional bass that functions like any other normal bass.









There is an interesting parallel here (i always love to find resemblances, echoes, parallels, similarities in life - hence the idea of "Building Bridges") between Patrick Charton and Satori Hasegawa: both had a dream and the courage to leave the trodden paths.

Mr. Hasegawa combines his artistry on the bass with his work as a bonze, something that was not always greeted with approval from the people around him (though his father supported his decision to combine both worlds). Besides, he doesn't hide what he's doing. He gives interviews and appears on television as the bass-playing bonze.

Patrick Charton, an accomplished luthier with several prize-winning instruments to his name, had this dream of a transportable bass that would also incorporate some revolutionary innovations, and he just built it, in spite of criticism and disregarding predictions that it would never work.

It's people like these two pioneers who help to make the world a better place.

By the way, Hasegawa Sensei has a nice little collection of basses and bows. One of his bows immediately drew my attention because it looked so Japanese to me.






To my big surprise, however, he told me he had bought the bow in Vienna but unfortunately he couldn't remember the maker's name...




Once the bass was assembled, we played a little, and then i gave a lesson to two of the students. The level of these young people was very high, and i had great pleasure in their ability to realize very quickly the things i asked them to do.






When teaching, my first aim is to determine where we are heading. The ultimate goal of the music. When you concentrate on technical things first, chances are you will never get there. I always try to let the student imagine the goal of his or her playing: what do you want to SAY with your playing? Once that idea is clear, you can work on the technical side of things, so that the goal becomes reachable. I don't believe, and i never did, in an approach where the first thing you learn is "technique", and once you have the technique (many years later) we'll start making music. The great danger is, once you do have the technique you won't have any imagination left in order to say something, in order to tell your story. You can't put music second. It has to have first place.








The two students (i'll teach three more tomorrow morning) were very receptive and they were able to develop a feeling for "telling a story" through their playing. I certainly hope and wish that this approach will be beneficial to them in the long run.

In the evening we played our recital, and during the first part there seemed to be something "wrong". After so many nice concerts in so many places, we had some difficulty in establishing a good contact with the audience. This was quite frustrating at first. During the break we tried to figure out what we were doing wrong. Not getting close to the audience does nothing for the quality of your playing... So after the break Haruko gave the audience some more explanations about the why and how of our playing, our instruments, the links between the music we played and Japanese history, et voilà... The second half went very well. For some reason there had been a longer "warming-up" time with the public than in our previous concerts.











After the concert, audience, musicians and students were invited to a drink in the huge living room and there we had another surprise when Miyuki Akamatsu, one of the students, came in with a bass and started to simultaneously play and sing the virtuoso soprano air from Mozart's "Zauberflöte"!






It had been a long tour, a long trip, and a long day, so we took a nice Japanese bath before dropping dead on the futon. But Tobias, who had his room in the "student section" of the temple told us the next morning that three of the students had still played bass trios till early morning, and that they had talked a lot and had become friends.




The next day i gave three more classes, and while i was teaching, two of our Brussels friends walked in... Shiho Nishimura, the cellist in our Ensemble Per Questa Bella Mano and her husband, bass player Svetoslav, were in Osaka and they came over to see us. Shiho and Satori Hasegawa knew each other from some past concert so they were glad to meet again. Svetoslav saw the B21 for the first time and was duly impressed.









When the lessons were over, i took the B 21 apart and packed it safely for the trip back home. Over lunch we had the most pleasant time with the Hasegawa family, the students, Tobias, Shiho and Svetoslav.










Over lunch we had the most wonderful time with the whole Hasegawa family, the students, Shiho, Svetoskav and Tobias. But all good things come to an end. We said goodbye to everybody. Baby Hasegawa smiled (we didn't hear him cry at all during our stay. He must be the happiest baby i ever saw).

Sensei drove us to the station, but not before having given us some of his CD's and a few little presents.








And so ended our first Japan tour. Now we have to take the bass to the airport and leave it there for the night. So tomorrow we can travel light and easy...



Sayonara, see you again in march 2014...
  





The programs:
(These are the programs we made before leaving Europe. In many cases we changed the programs on the spot, replacing pieces or adding some, or choosing a different order, sometimes also improvising on requested themes, as in the Motobuto Nursing Home where we were asked to play folk songs and "Furusato" for the Alzheimer patients)


18/07 9 a.m. Ooyaba Junior High School

- Hamabe no Uta
- J.M. Sperger Duetto part 1
- "Sweet Joe" (Joe Hisaishi film music)
- L.Borghi Sonata part 1
- F. Kreisler "Liebesfreud" and "Liebesleid"
- L. Borghi Sonata part 2
- Nada Soso
- Miagete Goran

19/07 14 p.m. Café DOLCE, Kid's Concert

- Shabondama
- J.M. Sperger Duetto part 1
- Okusan / Genkotsuyama
- Tulip / Zoosan
- Kreisler Liebesfreud, Liebesleid
- L. Borghi Sonata part 1
- "Sweet Joe"
- Bunbunbun / Tonbo no Megane
- Hamabe no Uta
- Chocho

19/07 19 p.m. Café Dolce, Evening Concert

- J.M. Sperger Duetto, complete
- L. Borghi Sonata complete
- "Sweet Joe"
- G. Lupis "Codex Lupensis", Japanese creation
- Chocho
- J.B. Vanhal Concerto part 1
- A. Ariosti Sonata, complete
- Kreisler "Schön Rosmarin"


20/07 Numata City, 6 p.m.

- L. Borghi Sonata complete
- "Sweet Joe"
- F. Kreisler Liebesfreud, Liebesleid
- J.B. Vanhal Concerto
- Chocho

21/07 Numata City, 11 a.m.

- J.M. Sperger Duetto
- L. Borghi Sonata complete
- "Sweet Joe"
- F. Kreisler Liebesfreud, Liebesleid
- J.B. Vanhal Concerto
- Chocho

22/07 Nakamichi Junior High School, 11.45 a.m.

- J.M. Sperger Duetto part 1
- "Sweet Joe"
- L. Borghi Sonata part 1
- Shabondama - Inu no Omawarisan
- Okasan - Genkotsuyama
- Bunbunbun - Tonbo no Megane
- Tulip - Zoosan
- Chocho
- Kreisler Liebesfreud, Liebesleid
- Nada Soso - Miagete Goran

23/07 Hamamatsu Instrument Museum, 19 p.m.

- J.M. Sperger Duetto complete
- L. Borghi Sonata complete
- A. Ariosti Sonata complete
- "Fu Ten"

25/07 Tokorozawa City, Nursing Home

- Hamabe no Uta
- Sperger Duetto part 1
- "Sweet Joe"
- L. Borghi Sonata part 1
- Shabondama - Inu no Omawarisan
- Okasan - Genkotsuyama
- Bunbunbun - Tonbo no Megane
- Chocho
- Vanhal Concerto part 1
- "Fu Ten"
- Kreisler
- Nada Soso - Miagete Goran

26/07 Motobuto Community Centre, 10 a.m.

- Hamabe no Uta
- Sperger part 1
- "Sweet Joe"
- Borghi part 1
- Shabondama - Inu no Omawarisan
- Okasan - Genkotsuyama
- Bunbunbun - Tonbo no Megane
- Chocho
- Vanhal part 1
- "Fu Ten"
- Kreisler
- Nada Soso - Miagete Goran

26/07 Urawa Culture Centre 6.30 pm

- Hamabe no Uta
- J.M. Sperger Duetto
- Sweet Joe
- L. Borghi: Sonata
- Shabondama - Inu no Omawarisan
- Okasan - Genkotsuyama
- Bunbunbun - Tombo no Megane
- Cho-Cho
- J.B. Vanhal Concerto
- Fu Ten
- F. Kreisler
- Nada Soso - Miagete Goran

27/07 Kakogawa Buddhist Temple

- J.M. Sperger
- L. Borghi complete
- "Sweet Joe"
- G. Lupis "Codex Lupensis"
- Chocho
- A. Ariosti Sonata complete
- Vanhal Concerto
- Kreisler "Schön Rosmarin"






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