– program notes
Every year the Japanese Meteorological Agency and the public track the sakura zensen (cherry blossom front). Japanese pay close attention to these forecasts and turn out in large numbers at parks, shrines, and temples with family and friends to hold flower-viewing parties. The custom dates back many centuries in Japan.
Sakura (cherry blossom) is a Japanese icon and can be found everywhere. In art, on placemats, in literature and in music. The folksong Sakura has numerous versions. Yuquijiro Yocoh composed variations on the Sakura theme and so created a solo piece, fragile, festive and very Japanese.
Bellefleur was written by the Dutch composer Pieter van der Staak. It’s a happy as well as melancholic tune and I find it a perfect fit with the meditative Sakura.
Whenever I perform Sakura in concert, people ask where they can find the recording. So I decided to bring it out on cd.
The artwork of the cd shows a fragment of a painting by Dutch painter Hennie van der Vegt. The cd comes with a hook so you can hang your miniature van der Vegt above your couch.