Music written originally for shakuhachi, on request, for Matthew Weiss’ Internet Opera “Jumping Bean and the Master”
It fits in Act 1 scene 2 as follows:
Flashback to a time many years ago. The morning sun rises above a pleasant mist engulfing the hermitage of renowned Zen Master Katsutoshi Iwasaki, secluded in a mountainous region on the
island of Honshu Japan. Young Don Carlos Mateo Blanco III, his head cleanly shaven and wearing a simple robe, sits with his beloved Master sipping tea and enjoying the sweet smell of incense
mixed with the cherry blossoms, the sounds of birds singing, and the joyful laughter of small children playing in a village nearby. A Shakuhachi flute improvises upon ”Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” faintly in background. Little does Young Don Carlos know that today marks the culmination of his training, his expulsion from paradise, and the inevitable return to his homeland.
The minor pentatonic scale of the shakuhachi does not allow the tune to be quoted in its original European version, but the improvisations of the shakuhachi around the tune (as represented by the flute in this version) will be easily recognised.
The tune itself, on which this music is based, is thought to have come from the 18th century, although there may have been earlier untraced versions. It is known to English speakers ears as “Twinkle twinkle little star” and to other Europeans as “Ah je vous dirai maman” (as quoted by Mozart) and maybe others too.