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for baritone and piano

Year:  1979

Year:  1979

Composer:   David Griffiths


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This song cycle was written in 1979 for Richard Phillips who gave its first performance. 'Shoriken is the Japanese name for one of the eight Taoist immortals. A kakemono by Motonubu in the British Museum shows him crossing the sea balanced on the edge of his sword' (Brasch's own note). Throughout the poem Brasch blurs the spiritual and physical worlds to the extent that there is barely a distinction between the two. Despite a near nihilistic futility at times, there is a sense of consummation at the end where the final stanza depicts Shoriken becoming one with the sea, and the word-edge itself a wave-crest of the sea.

Performance history

Performed by David Griffiths (baritone) and Christine Griffiths (piano)