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Ce supplément web vient compléter l’article intitulé «‘There is beauty in ruins, and hope in destruction’: Fallings pour shō (et u), alto et violoncelle de Daryl Jamieson». Il s’agit de l’enregistrement vidéo de l’œuvre dans son intégralité suivi d’un court essai écrit par le compositeur en guise de note de programme. Nous tenons à remercier très chaleureusement Daryl Jamieson pour nous avoir autorisé à partager ici ces documents.
Daryl Jamieson, Fallings (2016) pour shō (et u), alto et violoncelle
Ko Ishikawa (shō et u), Mari Adachi (alto) et Seiko Takemoto
Enregistrement: 20 October 2016, Ōmigakudō (Tokyo Opera City)
Réalisation: Ran Himeda
Production: atelier jaku (www.atelierjaku.com)
Like snow falls quickly from god to the ground
When the north wind blows down the heavens
Alice Oswald, Memorial
Nature is cyclical. Cycles naturally occur at both inconceivably small and large scales, from the (disputed) Big Bang/Big Crunch theory of universe formation and destruction, to the fusion and fission of atoms and subatomic particles. All things come into being, and all things pass from being; all things, organic and inorganic, physical or spiritual, are subject to the cycle of birth and death. This is a fact known for millennia by philosophers of Mahayana Buddhism, which, alone among the great ancient religions, does not posit an eternal spirit, soul, god, text, or afterlife.
Mahayana philosophers went as far as to acknowledge that Buddhism as a philosophy and practice would also die out some day, even determining exact dates for the end point of true dharma on earth. The time of mappō — a 10,000-year period of degeneracy which would see the end of true Buddhism — was variously predicted to begin 1000 or 1500 or 2000 years after the death of the Buddha (believed in mediaeval Japan to have been in 609BCE). For those in mediaeval Japan, who were witnesses to huge fires, destructive tornadoes, deadly plagues and famines, and a massive earthquake within the space of a few decades, mappō had undoubtedly already begun. Belief in mappō was widespread, leading many to abandon hope for the future and for salvation. Similarly, in mediaeval Europe there was panicked expectation of Armageddon at the turn of every century.
But, like all things, these ideas come and go.
We are currently living through a different kind of decline. In addition to the overarching problem of manmade climate change wreaking havoc on weather patterns around the globe, we also face food shortages and overpopulation, seemingly ever-increasing instances of terror and mass murder, a rise of nativism and isolationism (ironically) in countries all around the world, and the inability of our late-capitalist economic system to cope with stagnant or negative growth. These of course are linked problems, and cannot be solved piecemeal. That fact alone is enough for pessimism, even without considering how many people in power seem wilfully ignorant of the existence of these problems in the first place. The sense that the way of life enjoyed in the industrial world at the end of the 20th century was a zenith from which we are now falling is pervasive.
Great — though perhaps ‘interesting’ is a better choice of word — art often appears in difficult times, perhaps more frequently than in comfortable ones. Difficult times call for a rethink of what art is, and, perhaps even more so, how greatness is defined. The Dark Mountain project is a loose affiliation of writers and artists centred in the UK who are dedicated to creating art for whatever comes after our current industrialised civilisation. From their manifesto, Uncivilisation: ‘The time for civilisation is past. Uncivilisation, which knows its flaws because it has participated in them; which sees unflinchingly and bites down hard as it records — this is the project we must embark on now. This is the challenge for writing — for art — to meet.’
Art, writing, music are not going to come to an end even if our civilisation does collapse. We will still find hope in continuing, we will still have stories to tell and songs to sing. We can also think, write, and sing about the fall as it happens.
Fallings is cyclical. There are numerous cycles at work, some very short and easily recognisable as cycles, others repeat at longer intervals, and there is one ‘cycle’ which occurs only once. There are also overarching huge cycles which conceptually last for much longer than the piece, one of which is the ostensible theme of the work. That principal cycle is coming to its end, is in its period of decline. It is ‘falling’, dying out, sputtering. And, as a piece concerned with expressing this ‘end of a cycle’ period, even for the cycles which both rise and fall within the piece, there is an emphasis on the falling.
Kenkō, in mappō-inflected Kamakura-era Japan, praised not the beauty of cherry blossoms on the tree, bursting out of their buds in a subtle revelation, but rather wrote of the beauty of the blossoms as they die, their short existence reminding us of the fragility of own lives. He wrote in a time of pessimism, but found beauty and comfort in the cycles of birth and death, even as he emphasised the ephemerality of all things.
It is in the nature of the cyclical that after the fall, something new rises. Even though it focusses on falling, this is not a pessimistic work. There is beauty in ruins, and hope in destruction: just look at the Colosseum in Rome, listen to the changing timbres of a plucked string as it disappears into silence, watch a cherry blossom as it falls.
— Daryl Jamieson