Hachighaeshi relates to the Japanese shakuhachi-tradition. In this tradition you not only improvise – you also tie a story to your improvisation. Before commissioning this work, the commissioner – flutist Craig Goodman – told Mogens Christensen about his fascination of the Japanese bamboo flute, the shakuhachi. As the commposer had just completed his piece for this instrument, Vintertraner, (Winter Cranes), part of the background thoughts for that piece were to be transferred to the new piece. This background thinking in combination with the very untradional combination of instruments called for a sound research.
In Hachighaeshi a number of very old Japanese melodies sneaked in – more or less unrecognizably. One of them was accompanied by one of the characteristic aphorisms:
A shakuhachi-playing monk arrives to the village. The inhabitants of the village offer him accomodation and food. And they feel purified by his playing. Later, when he leaves the village, he pays back the hospitality of the inhabitants in the form of a very special gratitude piece on his instrument, – a hachigaeshi.