When I write a piece of music I note on the score the kind of emotion I have in mind. A garden should be calm and still, but at the same time it should be a strong calm. So I say: ‘Ecstatic’.
One might think you can’t combine the two – calm and ecstasy. But there are moments in a Japanese garden that are very still and restful – but something intensely sensual, almost erotic, is going on at the same time.
-Toru Takemitsu, composer
Dream Window, 1992
I was introduced to this fascinating observation about Japanese gardens and music by Laura Schneider, the producer of the 1992 film, Dream Window, a Smithsonian documentary about Japanese gardens. Gardens – and especially the sacred plant, bamboo – pervade every aspect of life in the Japanese culture. A culture that I thought I knew nothing about until, several years ago, I rescued and began to restore a historic Japanese property in the foothills of Virginia.
This has become the theme of my current Quest (and every girl needs a quest!)
In the words of Toru Takemitsu:
“Calm and Ecstasy. Still and restful; but intensely sensual and erotic.”
Let us proceed into this garden…