Fragrant Wood (2019)

for Marimba

Commissioned by Sun-Min Shim 

Fragrant Woodfor Marimba Solo

for Sun-Min Shim

World Premiere : 20.08.2020 in the Ilshin Hall in Seoul by Sun-Min Shim

Commissioned by Sun-Min Shim

Resonance and Fragrance 

The resulting reverberation and resonance after a sharp attack on a marimba, along with it’s

rich spectrum, natural " woody" sound, reminds me of the fragrance of wood.

Agarwood, Kyara, Sandalwood...

The odours of these incense woods have been appreciated in Japanese history and culture.

According to legend, Agarwood first came to Japan when a log of incense wood drifted ashore.

People noticed that the wood smelled marvellous when they put it near a fire.

We can enjoy the smelling incense wood as a “listening fragrance “ in music.

Incense woods exude their odour and it spreads into the space. The fragrance changes constantly and will finally disappear. It does however evoke our sensations, memories and emotions.

For me, this is very similar to what I can experience with certain sounds in music.

Fragrant Woods are formed when they are infected with a type of mold. During the infection process, the light and odourless woods produce a dark aromatic resin that transform into a very dense, dark, resin-embedded heartwood. This gradually sinks below the surface of the water.

The chemical process, which can take between ten or even some hundreds of years, is something I think about when I‘m composing.

My piece "Fragrant Wood"starts with a sharp attack on a wooden instrument. Its resonance appears and then gradually disappears into the space, as if it were a fragrance from incense woods.

It constantly changes its musical states which include density, sound colour, and gestures and forms fragrant sound, as if the heartwood had been infected to become fragrant.

"Fragrant Wood" was dedicated to and commissioned by the fantastic percussionist Sun-Min Shim.

in Cologne, January 2020

Malika Kishino