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New recording project   2021   Eurasian Poetic Drama

feat  Ji Min-ah(Korea) and Marya Korneva(Russia)

A series of Eurasian Poetic Drama by composer Jun Kawasaki with  singers from the Eurasian continent.  It traces the ancient layers of traditional music and folklore, and creats new music from them.

They are different from just session between each traditions and cross-border genres.  Eurasian Poetic Drama is  a completely new folklore music.

 



New compose,   July 2020

 

Jun Kawasaki: “Yahann-raku/ Shumpū batei no kyoku” 18 stantzas by Yosa Buson by Ayako Kosaka(mezzo soprano)

 

You can watch and listen there.

 

A premier performance by mezzo soprano and a computer. In order to create a music experience that goes beyond live performances, I commissioned a piece to Jun Kawasaki, a long-time co-star and a superior in contemporary music and improvisation. The music has a very big impact and a high density. In the first half, you will hear a song depicting the footsteps of a girl who is returning home, sung in various ways such as children songs-like or even a French rock! The text is from haiku (Japanese traditional poem consisting of three short lines) and Chinese-like poems by Yosa Buson. In the second half, the text is from a sentence based on this poetry, reconstructed by Haruo Sato (a Japanese novelist and poet active during 1892– 1964) as a movie scenario.

 

<text>  by Jun Kawasaki

 

The text of this work is based on the anthology of Haiku "Shumpu-batei-kyoku", which is printed in a "Yahanraku" (a epic poetry cycle) by YosaBuson (1716-1784), a haiku poet of the mid-Edo period.

 

This poet consists of 18 poems depicting a mental scenary of a girl on the way home from her apprenticeship in Osaka, on a spring afternoon. Buson called himself "Yahantei." as a pen name. "Yahanraku" is originally a music that derives from old Chinese music, and is based on "Hira-choshi" (a scale), also used in well-known Japanese Gagaku music "Etenraku".

 

Haruo Sato (1892-1964), who a modern poet and novelist, made this poem into a scenario of a silent movie ("Shunpu-batei-zufu") in the Taisho and Showa eras. This is about the time of the birth of the talkies. A dreamy night scene that is not found in the original is also drawn in this scenario. A scene where the girl who slept overnight in her countryside next to her mother, goes back to the apprenticeship service in Osaka the next day, and sees her boyfriend again. But this scenario, actually, like a fantastic and poetic experimental movie, wasn't reproduced as a movie.

 

A little while ago, in 2011, I tried to compose a piece with Buson's text from "Shumpu-batei-kyoku". The composition was formed by a narration, Satsuma Biwa (lute), twenty string koto, and violin.

 

It was a project where I and Alexei Aigi, a Russian composer and violinist who were visiting Japan, premiered new compositions using a same instrumentation. Aigi's late father, Gennadi Aigi, was a poet. He was from a minority ethnic group, "Chuvash", who lived in the basin of the Volga river. During the Soviet Union era, it was not allowed to write poetry in there own native language, Chuvash, so he wrote it in Russian. But it was never recognized as a lineage of "orthodox" Russian poetry, rather known more in western europian countries. The poetic style that depicts the serenity and silence of the rural villages and forests of Tatar was sometimes called "Mallarmé of Volga ".

He also co-wrote with Sofia Gubaidulina, a female composer from the Tatar people of the Volga basin.

 

His son Alexei made a composition based on the collected poems “Song Greetings”. which Gennadi had dedicated to his daughter (i.e. Alexei’s little sister). The old folk song depicting the Chuvash's customs was dared to be applied to the Russian rhyme four-line poem. Gennadi Aigi was known for his difficult poetry, but here, he adapted it rather in a plain style. On the other hand, I thought about what I should choose as a text and came up with the poetry of YosaBuson, which is said to be the first colloquial free verse in Japan that is formed of Chinese poem, haiku, and free poems. Japan has no historical experience of having restricted or lost its native language or characters, but there are various narratives and styles in Japanese language, including honorifics. I felt the reality of language activities in the divisive situation of three styles of language activity; Chinese poetry, Japanese rhyme, and prose.

 

At the time when Buson lived, even with the isolation system, it was the era turning from early modern period to the late modern period. Due to the prosperity of the “Chōnin (townsman's)” culture, while being in the feudal system led by the samurai, it can be said that it was , an era where the traffic between urban cities and the rural areas became busier than before. A girl living in a poor rural village has been sent to apprenticeship, but there she experience a romance in advanced townsman culture and also customs and urban life. Though Haruo Sato later portrayed it as "romance" from a modern perspective, it might actually have been a prostitute-like experience. What was the song like, with various language expressions in this poet, which sometimes crossing the border or sometimes being disruptive and chaotic?

 

By the way, the day of spring 2011, a few days before his arrival to Japan, the gigantic earthquake happened and the concert was cancelled. It became "a song without voice" with only the score remaining.

 

Whether it is a human disaster or a natural disaster, due to the spread of virus infection, many concerts and other events have been canceled and forced to postpone, and fortunately or unfortunately I myself also suspended my activities. At the midnight in the spring I was taking a walk with a can of beer in my hand, recollecting the "public planned power outages" right after the 2011 earthquake; When I could catch even the sound of a empty can, echoing away from an desolate alley to the ultimate silence of town. And then, suddenly, I received an E-mail.

 

It was a commission request for a composition from Ayako Kosaka, old friend of mine, and a classical vocalist. Come to think of it, the so-called "classical vocal music" is where you sing an Europian music in a Europian language. I know it’s beyond my imagination, but I think there is always a linguistic conflict. At the same time, the sound of different language always continues to provide a "new world" to singers and listeners.

 

A song of an old haiku poet; who made a full use of various styles of writing, and who had finished his life without returning to his hometown. A song of an innocent girl; who just learned the behavior of the urban life during her apprenticeship and returns to a poor peasant home. A soundscape imagined by modern poets, accepting the western culture through the colloquial style. And a “nightmare song” that transcends and jumbles in a dream, leaving all those things disorganized. Even the memories of the peasant songs of "Chuvash" which the poet Gennadi wrote, are ringing out in my mind.Ayako Kosaka would be an eligible person who have been facing various languages through singing. She would embody such delusions and obsessions of the poets and composers (like me), and would transform herself to a life of a girl who blows through them.

 

With these feelings, nine years after the spring, when many lives were swallowed in a tsunami wave, we made up a completely new creation. Inspired by 18 unvoiced poems and unscreened silent movie scenarios that portrayed them, a song like the breath of spring was born from a stagnant world where the infections have been spreading. I am so grateful to vocalconsort initium for giving me the opportunity to create this music, during such time.