Memoirs of a Gaijin Playlist

“Symphony No. 4” composed by David Maslanka

This song went along with this week’s Meet the Gaijin Interview.

Khanh Nguyen, this week’s interviewee has brought the first Symphony to the Weekly Playlist! It’s a radical departure from what we have had until now, and I find Khanh’s description of his choice to be as emotionally evocative as the piece itself.

I’m not exactly sure why I choose this one, but it really pops out at me right now.

Matslanka wrote many symphonies based on hymns, and this one is no different. Alongside its Christian allusions, it also bears reference to Abraham Lincoln, specifically the passage of his body from Washington D.C. to Springfield, Illinois.

“Out of chaos and the fierce joining of opposite comes new life and hope. From this impulse I use ‘Old 100’ as the Bachsology to praise God. I use Christian symbols because they are my cultural heritage, but I have tried to move through them a depth of universal humanness and awareness that is not defined by religious label. My impulse through this music is to speak to the fundamental human issues of transformation and rebirth in this chaotic time.”

David Maslanka

Matslanka wrote this passage in reference to his piece, and I feel it accurately reflects many people’s experiences in Japan. Many of the foreigners I meet come here because they aren’t sure what to do, and that’s me too.

There’s a lot of chaos and uncertainty, but hopefully through this adventure we can each come to a realization and understanding of what and where we are meant to be.

Check out the full interview here!




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