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Donald WomackKoto Coloring Book21-string koto 二十絃箏18:002008
Recorded on Walk Across the Surface of the Sun (Albany Records)

1. Black Hole
2. Floating in Blue
3. A Patch of Purple
4. Sliver of Silver
5. Flaring Molten Orange
6. A Glistening Prism
7. White Hot

The title encompasses both the theme of color and the wide range and playfulness of the movements. Much like a coloring book sparks the imagination of a child in various unrelated directions, each short movement presents the koto in a different style, drawing the instrument out of its traditional role.

Black Hole refers to a dense region of space that sucks in all surrounding matter and energy. As the music spirals toward the center, it accelerates and gains in intensity until it crosses the event horizon and is violently consumed, leaving only a faint echo as evidence of its previous existence.

Floating in Blue suggests a serene image of being surrounded by a beautiful gentle warmth, an impossible, peaceful dream in which we would like to remain. Perhaps we are not yet born.

A Patch of Purple shatters the serenity with its nervous, quirky rhythms and jagged edges. It dances around a bit before glancing over its shoulder one last time and running away.

Sliver of Silver is the merest wisp of a piece, a haiku that says little but hints at great secrets…

In Flaring Molten Orange the sun bursts forth joyously for a brief moment, bathing everything in its bright glow.

The most lyrical piece of the set, A Glistening Prism presents a beautiful refraction of light into a multitude of colors. Subtle shifts of harmony, rhythm, and timbre interact to create a delicate, shimmering web of sound.

White Hot closes the set with a heated rush of notes. Sparks are thrown off in all directions as the piece flies past in a virtuosic blaze.