Requiem… ad Vitam Aeternam

A 50-minute Requiem for solo trombone is unusual to say the least, but this work, composed between 2011 and 2014 specially for trombonist Barrie Webb, is composer Cain Katsumi Yokoyama’s response to the tragic events of 2011 in Japan, including his own personal tragedy.

The composer writes: “On the 11th March 2011, North-East Japan was struck by powerful earthquakes and tsunamis, which also caused a severe accident at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant. These two tragic incidents resulted in severe loss of life. I dedicate this piece to the souls of the victims (and my irreplaceable person who passed away).”

Notes about Requiem

A serious accident or illness often changes the survivor’s worldview. Similarly, the disaster on 11th March 2011 forced Yokoyama to think about death and life much more than before. The inner impulse to compose a piece for reposing victims’ souls remained with him from that point.

He aimed at putting these images into a piece for a solo instrument and felt that the trombone, the ‘sacred instrument’, was the best choice for this piece. The idea to condense an ‘orchestra with choir’ into a trombone solo, and to transform it in a new vision, became musically realistic only through Barrie Webb’s performances.

The 9 movements possess a symmetrical relationship, centred on the 5th movement. This piece is certainly a Requiem (though it may be written in an unusual way). More than this, we hope it will serve as a wailing call for salvation.

World Premiere Performance

The release of Yokohama’s Requiem coincides with the live world premiere in Tokyo on 11th March 2016, the fifth anniversary of the tragedy. For this performance, the English trombone maker Michael Rath is preparing a special trombone in red and black for Barrie Webb to play.