Jay Hurst


kodama [2013/2015]


for sinfonietta

alto flute, oboe, 2 bass clarinets, horn, trumpet, 2 percussion, harp, 2 violins, viola, cello, doublebass


version for four players also available; see below.


Score/Parts purchase and rental upon request. Contact for more information.

about the work

During my residency at the Brevard Music Festival, I spent a large amount of time soaking in the natural beauty of North Carolina and the Blue Ridge Mountains, from the fog that rolled down the mountains in the early morning hours to the firefly-lit trees surrounding lakes at dusk. Those twilit memories count as some of the most spiritual and calm moments I have experienced. Having just completed several aggressive pieces, it felt appropriate (and necessary) to try writing in a much more meditative style to reflect my time spent in nature.

Kodama (木魂) is an ancient word for the tree-spirits in Japanese folklore. But the similarly old word kodama (谺) describes the sound of
falling trees that reverberate through mountain forests – a quiet, deep echo that is said to be the cry of a dying kodama. This piece is inspired by that sound, and the act of losing yourself in the forest. The ensemble wanders sotto voce through opposed harmonic realms, gently clashing with each other as each sound passes through another like mist through the branches. The chiming percussion and harp glitter through this veil, while the bass clarinets explore the lowest depths of their sound. 

kodama was premiered by Rachel Woolf, Fiona Last, Celeste Markey, and Ben Kipp at the Brevard Music Festival. The sinfonietta version of kodama was commissioned by David Dzubay and the Indiana University New Music Ensemble. 


Quartet Version

for alto flute, oboe, bass clarinet, and percussion

performance history

August 2nd, 2013 - Searcy Hall, Brevard Music Center, Brevard, NC [quartet version premiere]

April 17th, 2015 - Indiana University New Music Ensemble, Auer Hall, Bloomington, IN [sinfonietta premiere]

April 18th, 2015 - Indiana University New Music Ensemble, WTIU Studios, Bloomington, IN