A Monkey Reaching for the Moon (2021)
Performed by James Tabata at NMASS 2022
Cover art: Hakuin Ekaku (1686-1769), Monkey, ink on paper
Performed by Kyle Motl
A monkey is trying to acquire the reflection of the moon in the water. It observes, acts and reacts against the reflection. It tries many ways and used many tools. Will the monkey get it?
A Monkey Reaching for the Moon is written for solo double bass. It uses graphic notation and aleatoric means to give the freedom to the performer to tell a story: a monkey tries to reach for the reflection of the moon in the water. The double bassist is the agency of the monkey - their choices determine the series of actions of the monkey reaching for the moon.
The “moon” motif is a palindrome melody (C#-A#-G#-D-E-G): the retrograde of the melody is a transposition of itself, and it symbolizes the bright, round, symmetrical full moon.
This piece is written for double bassist Kyle Motl, and was premiered on the Subtropics XXV Festival, September 17, 2021.