WIND OF NO RETURN – Steve Heitzeg

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Product Type: Digital Download

Format: Full Score

Composer: Steve Heitzeg

Instrumentation: 2 Violin, Piano, and Percussion

Duration: Approx. 7 minutes

Date Written: 2022

Commissioned by: Chamber version of WIND OF NO RETURN commissioned by Ariana Kim

Premiered by: LIQUID MUSIC series The Parkway Theater Minneapolis, MN June 17, 2022 – Ariana Kim and Young-Nam Kim, violins; Timothy Lovelace, piano;
Piyawat Louilarpprasert, percussion

Additional Information: Wind of No Return (for the Hibakusha—the A-bombed People) is a simple and lyrical adagio for solo flute, solo clarinet, a string of origami peace cranes, two stones from Hiroshima and strings. Taking its name from the hauntingly beautiful sculpture “A- bomb Victim—the Monument of Hiroshima” by Hisashi Akutagawa, one percussionist gently rustles origami peace cranes throughout. The piece is in two panels, the first being marked “Nuclear Shadows”—a reference to the black shadows of humans and objects created by the atomic blasts over both Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945, respectively. Here the solo flute and clarinet are in call and response, as if a shadow of each other, over the strings’ sustained and timeless chords. In a symbolic gesture to the inspirational story of Sadako Sasaki—the young Japanese girl who was two when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and who died of Leukemia when she was 12—there are 1000 notes in this movement (the strings and stones account for 921 notes with the remainder of notes coming from the free-flowing rustling of the paper cranes). In Japanese folklore the crane, a sacred bird, is believed to live for a thousand years. The folklore holds that people who are sick might become well again if they fold 1000 origami cranes. While sick in the hospital, Sadako folded 644 origami cranes before she died. Her classmates and friends folded the remainder and all of the 1000 origami cranes were buried with her. The piece closes with “Toward One Thousand Origami Cranes” (a sonic protest against nuclear weapons), an intense string pattern marked fff and with the percussionist tapping and rubblng two stones from Hiroshima.

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