Hinshaw Music, 2014

Commissioned by the Tenjo Hanabi choir (Osaka, Japan) in memorial of the 2011 Japanese tsunami, with brilliant text by Charles Anthony Silvestri. Video above is from the program on which it was premiered; the piece was sung in English in the program, but then repeated as an encore in Japanese, with the composer accompanying.

The poet writes, “This text was commissioned by composer Dan Forrest for a piece he wrote for the Tenjo-Hanabi choir in Osaka, Japan. They wanted a text which was evocative of the tsunami but which did not become sappy or depressing.  I chose a Japanese form, the tanka (5-7-5-7-7 syllables) with the structure broken apart in stanza three when the tsunami comes. The structure resolves in stanza four, symbolic of recovery.  I was able to obtain a Japanese translation by Takako Helbig, and she brilliantly adhered to the tanka structure and the number of syllables in the broken stanza as well.”

The composer writes, “This piece, commissioned in memory of the 2011 tsunami in Japan, was premiered by the Tenjo Hanabi Mixed Chorus in September 2013. The choir showed great kindness in bringing both Tony and me to Japan for the event, held in Osaka’s Izumi Hall. In the concert, the piece was performed first in English, with the choir’s regular accompanist, and then encored in Japanese, with me accompanying. Just as this piece combines elements of both Western and Japanese musical traditions, so, too, the whole event of the premiere was a strikingly beautiful symbol of international solidarity, amidst Japan’s continuing recovery from this horrific event. The response of the Japanese audience was overwhelming, making the whole event one of the highlights of my musical career thus far.

The printed piece includes both English and Japanese text/transliteration. The piece may be sung in either language. The piece is published by Hinshaw Music; distributed in Japan by PanaMusica.


Himenami (“Divine Wave”)

Rose and indigo
Mingle as the rising sun
Heralds a new day.

All is silence—from pebble
To heart of ancient mountain.

Ocean waves whisper
Secrets to the silent shore,
Sand and foam embrace.

The sea has many secrets
Beneath her veil of Billows.

Without warning
The mountains tremble
And the sea rises up;
A wall of water
Sweeps away our future
In an instant.

All things fade away–
We are only wanderers
Upon this moment;
And yet we sing together,
In love against all shadow.


-Charles Anthony Silvestri