Hoshi no kage ni (2021)

For guitar solo. 3rd prize in II International Competition among composers

The name of this guitar work, Hoshi no kage ni (星の影に /In the Shadow of the Stars) is Japanese, but tricky to translate into English, because kage can be translated in multiple ways. It could mean shadow/silhouette, reflection (in water) or even light (of stars or the moon). This means that the title of this work could translated to In the Shadow of the Stars or In the Reflection of a Star or even In the Light of Stars. Personally, as English translation of the title, I prefer In the Shadow of the Stars. However, it does not really matter how you translate it when studying or performing this piece. Whatever your preference is or what inspires you the most for the ultimate guitaristic cause, in the end it matters it matters than you include all these meanings into one title: Hoshi no kage ni.

As composer, I am enchanted by the coming together of Western and Eastern cultures. While there are plenty similarities between East and West, there are striking differences too. While Western thinking is characterized by rationalizing, analysing and classifying, Eastern thinking (by which I specifically mean Japanese Zen Buddhism) is characterized by quite the opposite: engagement in all practical daily experiences in the most simple form. In short, Zen strives to enlightenment, or ultimate freedom of the mind. Without intellectually conceptualizing and rationalizing, things and reality can become itself instead of abstractions, concepts, categories or representations. Things are not problematized, things are not discriminated, things are not dualized. If things are themselves and not excluded, the possibilities are endless. Bluntly speaking, Western thinking tends towards exclusion, while Eastern tends towards inclusion.

Hoshi no kage ni strives to include both worlds of thought while discovering the acoustic possibilities and expressions of one of the most gracious and nuanced instruments known.

Enjoy playing Hoshi no kage ni!

Maurick Reuser, 22 February 2021