Descants is a series of pieces for solo instruments in natural environments. ‘Natural’, in my meaning, includes human-made environments, eschewing any artificial distinction between humans and the rest of the environment. The composed music is intended to become a part of the natural soundscape, not foregrounded or separated from the natural sounds around it.
Descants 4 consists of five short pieces for viola. It is loosely structured around a mediaeval Japanese conception of poetry and other arts, which related it to esoteric Buddhist practice, Confucianism, and nature. The key concept is the phrase ‘every living thing, without exception, composes poetry’, where living things also include water, rocks, and the very land itself, and where composing poetry is equivalent to offering praise to Buddha and revealing the secret spiritual truths of the universe.