Life in a Day
for shakuhachi and harp (2007)
duration: 8’
GRT • 132

score available from
Australian Music Centre

program note
Life in a Day was commissioned by Riley Lee for the 2008 World Shakuhachi Festival (Sydney) with assistance from the Music Board of the Australia Council for the Arts. It exploits the natural tuning of the shakuhachi but also seeks to re–contextualise its cultural association through the influence of contemporary jazz and lounge styles. The piece is a true duet, both shakuhachi and harp featuring separately but often closely interwoven. The music is at turns elated and introspective but ultimately assumes a sense of urgency as the end nears.

“Renown harpist Marshall McGuire and shakuhachi grandmaster, Riley Lee took to the stage performing Life in a Day by Stuart Greenbaum. A contemporary approach to a traditional instrument, Riley Lee transported the shakuhachi into a world of jazz nuances and lounge influences.”
Allison Gumbleton, Aprap, December 2009

“Sunday night’s performance was the first time Edwardes and Russoniello have played together, though it hardly showed. The two joined forces in Stuart Greenbaum’s Life in a Day (originally composed for shakuhachi and harp). Greenbaum’s influence from a broad range of styles was well depicted by Russoniello’s experimental rigour, who employed slap tongue (where the player grabs the reed with their tongue and whacks it) and removing the reed entirely to ‘beat-box’ into it. The performance moved effortlessly from a ‘walking down the street on a Sunday’ vibe to a groovy thrill of ascending passages and hypnotic repetitive motifs. The respect and command both musicians had for one another was sincere and compelling to witness, with Edwardes adding the use of a third limb (an ankle shaker made of cubed wood) to the piece’s mesmerising allure. Russoniello managed to carve line after line of melodies which balanced the nuance of short staccato notes alongside soothing melodic contours. Both players funnelled a sweet playfulness and brilliance only seasoned musicians are able to execute.”
Jessie Tu, Limelight, November 2021