Inquadrami
Catalogue vocal
Musica notturna dal silenzio della montagna, su versi di Saigyō, per voce e quartetto d’archi
for: voice and string quartet
text by: Saigyō Hōshi
duration: 13'
commission: Mrs Ryoko Aoki
first performance: 1.09.16, Tokyo, Umberto Agnelli Hall, Italian Cultural Institute Tokyo, Italy meets Noh!, Ryoko Aoki (voice), Quatuor Diotima
publisher: Edizioni Suvini Zerboni
catalogue number: S. 15242 Z.
Introduction
Yoru no hibiki, yama no naka yori ("Night sounds, from somewhere in the mountain") is based on poems by Saigyō, the famous Japanese poet from the 12th century, as kindly suggested by Ryoko Aoki to whom this piece is dedicated.
From my choice of poems, the way they are organized and give rise to different relationships between the voice and the string quartet, a sort of initiatory trip is delineated.
Saigyō’s poetry is characterized by quiet visions creating unexpected understandings. He exemplified the Buddhist attitude of discovering profound meaning in a single moment. Despite his solitary life, Saigyō - whose name means Western journey and whose life became totally separated from the mundane world and entirely devoted to a poetic observation of nature expressing the spirituality of his beliefs - was still very attached to the world and the beauty of nature: that was the source of his endless wandering, both physical and spiritual, and the origin of a particular tension between being delighted by nature’s beauty and at the same time being perpetually questioned by it.
As it was for the poet, the piece tries to create a tension between contemplation and active perception, capable of creating a sudden insight, made of minimum sound events and a few related gestures. One gesture in particular is the egg shaker’s movements: towards the end of the piece the Noh performer drops the eggs, implying the definitive quit of Saigyō's mundane life, Buddhism being considered in decline and no longer valid as an effective means of salvation. From that moment on in the hands of the musicians, no longer playing their sublime instruments, the egg shakers become trivial buzz sources, imitating the sound of the wasted times (the period that Buddhists call Mappo, or “End of the Law” in which the Japanese had the premonition that the demise of their culture was imminent). Floating above this, the Noh performer conveys Saigyō’s last message, like a sung pray: “suenoyoni hitono kokoroo migakubeki tamaomo chirini mazete kerukana” (“In this declining age man should refine his mind, because people cannot distinguish jewels from rubbish”), “hanani noru satorio shihouni chirashiteya hitonokokoroni kooba shimuramu” (“Nirvana of cherry blossoms spreads everywhere and burns incense in people's mind”), “haruo hete hanano sakarini aikitstsu omoide ooki wagami narikeri” (Spring has come and in the cherry blossoms blooming everywhere I see plenty of living memories.).
In the background, the string quartet mixes “war sounds” and nature sounds...
 
S.G. 17.8.16
Text(s)
Poems by Saigyō Hōshi (also called Sato Norikiyo) (1118 – 1190)


I
Nushiikani
Kaze watarutote
Itouran
Yosoni ureshiki
Umeno nioiwo


II
Minitsumoru
Kotobano tsumimo
Arawarete
Kokorosuminuru
Mikasanenotaki


III
Kumamonaki
Tsukino hikarini
Sasowarete
Ikukumoimade
Yukukokorozomo


IV
Yononakawo
Itoumadekoso
Katakarame
Karino yadoriwo
Oshimu kimikana 


V
Mirumoushi
Ikanikasubeki
Wagakokoro
Kakarumukuino
Tsumiyaarikeru


VI
Touhitomo
Omoitaetaru
Yamazatono
Sabishisanakuba
Sumiukaramashi


VII
Nanigotono
Owashimasukawa
Shiranedomo
Katajikenasani
Namidakoboruru


VIII
Tsukiwanao
Yonayonagotoni
Yadorubeshi
Wagamusubioku
Kusano iorini

Yoo sutsuru
Hitowa makotoni
Sutsurukawa
Sutenu hitokoso
Sutsuru narikere

Suenoyoni
Hitono kokoroo
Migakubeki
Tamaomo chirini
Mazete kerukana

Hanani noru
Satorio yomoni
Chirashiteya
Hitonokokoroni 
Kooba shimuramu

Haruo hete
Hanano sakarini
Aikitstsu
Omoide ooki
Wagami narikeri
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