Concerto for Marimba and Orchestra (Miki)
Year of Published: 1969
Publisher: Norsk Musikvorlak
Woodwinds: 3 Flutes (3rd doubling Piccolo), 3 Oboes (3rd doubling English Horn), 3 Clarinet (3rd doubling Eb-Clarinet), 2 Bassoons (2nd doubling Contrabassoon)
Brass: 4 French Horn, 3 Trumpet, 2 Trombone, Bass Trombone, Tuba
Strings: Violin 1, Violin 2, Viola, Cello, Double Bass, Harp
Date: 11th October, 1969
Place: Tokyo Bunka Kaikan (Tokyo Cultural Center, Ueno)
Soloist: Keiko Ape
Orchestra: Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Shunji Aratani
The Nihon Columbia Record Company commissioned Minoru Miki to compose a Concerto for Marimba and Orchestra. Miki started the composition in March, and completed the piece on July 21st of same year. When he completed the final double bar, the Apollo spaceship had just reached the surface of the moon. The piece was premiered and recorded on August 4th, 1969 at Suginami Public Hall in Tokyo by Keiko Abe (Marimba solo) and the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Hiroshi Wakasugi. Nihon Columbia Company published the album "Keiko Abe/Marimba Art" (JX-9~11) with Time for Marimba, etc, in November and won a Prize of Excellence at the National Art Festival.
"Truthfully, I wanted to compose a symphony that had been maturing in my mind for several years, and therefore, I had no ideas about composing a concerto. However, Mr. Kimura, director of this recording, and Ms. Keiko Abe urged me with great persuasion to reconsider completing this concerto as if it were a symphony. While composing the piece, I was distracted by personal situations in my life. Even though I had misgivings about the time element involved in composing the piece and my own state of mind, I went ahead with the project. The completed work represents a celebration of the gods in my heart. Perhaps this statement needs a word or two of explanation. For several years I had been composing using Japanese instruments. From this work I found a vivid god living in Japan's past tradition. The musical ideas in the composition represent the universal desire for the beauty of eternal and never ending life. These thoughts sustained me while composing the work. The quiet string section is always followed by pizzicato representing the trembling ground and the marimba enters as the incarnation of a vivid god. The first movement of the concerto is frequent conflict between dynamic and static states - life and death, but finally reaches life impulse. The second movement expresses the diversion of value from dynamic death to static life.