“It is my great pleasure that my composition The Raven is now available as a worldwide CD release from Naxos. This recording was made at my birthplace, Hiroshima in Japan, in October 2014 by the artists Charlotte Hellekant and United Instruments of Lucilin conducted by Kentaro Kawase.
In his poem The Raven, Poe described the process of the collapsing order of the modern rational world, invaded by a raven, which lives in the other world, repeating a weird phrase of “Nevermore”. I considered this poem as a story in the Japanese Noh play tradition and expressed it in the form of a monodrama for mezzo-soprano and instrumental ensemble.”
Toshio Hosokawa, Japan’s pre-eminent living composer, creates his distinctive musical language from the fascinating relationship between western avant-garde art and traditional Japanese culture. Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s 1845 poem, Hosokawa frames his monodrama The Raven as a Japanese Noh play, with its interaction between the human protagonist and an otherworldly animal. Vividly exploring ideas of madness, The Raven conjures up a shadowy and unfamiliar world.
Listen to an extract from Hosokawa's The Raven
About the Artists
Charlotte Hellekant’s vocal expressiveness and strong stage presence are just two qualities which have helped her build a career which is equally successful on the opera stage and concert platform, and in repertoire ranging from the baroque to contemporary classics. She has inspired some of the world’s leading composers to write especially for her, including Toshio Hosokawa who created the role of Murasame for her in his acclaimed Matsukaze. Subsequently, Hosokawa wrote his monodrama The Raven for her.
Kentaro Kawase received second prize (there was no first prize awarded) at the 2006 Tokyo International Music Competition. Since then, he has been invited to conduct orchestras throughout Japan. He has also conducted operatic productions such as Toshio Hosokawa’s Vision of Lear and his monodrama The Raven. He is currently the conductor of the Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra, the Principal Conductor of the Kanagawa Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Music Director of the Hachioji Youth String Ensemble.
United Instruments of Lucilin was founded in 1999 by a group of enthusiastic Luxembourg musicians. It is the first chamber music ensemble in Luxembourg dedicated to the promotion and creation of works from the 20th and 21st centuries. The heart of Lucilin consists of a string quartet, piano and percussion, while wind and other instruments are added as required. Lucillin performs some thirty concerts a year in Luxembourg and around the world.
“… episodes of great clarity and transparency, but never stasis—always rapidly changing color … captured in very clear sound. All the musicians play with a dedication and finesse that comes through on this recording.”
– American Record Guide