Noh Voice and String Quartet
"FujiDaiko Écho" is a commission by Ars Musica Festival (Brussels)
Premiered on 2021 November 14th by Ryoko Aoki, Noh Voice and Quatuor Amôn at Bruxelles-BOZAR
The story is about a woman whose husband (a famous drum - Taiko - player - was murdered when being at the Emperor courtyard. She did not know about it and now she searches the truth about what happened to her husband.
Here is the text sung by the voice (English translation)
However, the night after he departed, I had an alarming dream that rain was falling on a moonlit night. The dream worried me and I could not stop feeling uneasy.
That is a drum. / How pathetic, that is a drum. What are you looking at? Why do you think it is a drum?
The drumsticks in my hands I think of as swords,
and the flames of my rage should rise up to the heavens and disappear together with the decoration of flames embellishing the drum. Speaking of the heavens, as my husband visited the imperial court, he must be residing above the clouds.
Cherry blossoms blooming at the foot of Mount Fuji are tossed about and scattered in all directions by the relentless gusts blowing down from the mountain. Just like the cherry blossoms, a musician wears beautiful dance garments that are sent fluttering, forward and backward, by the movement of his dancing arms. For such dances, my husband played his drum, unparalleled as a master player in deed as well as in name. Oh, how I miss him.
Japanese text from the Noh play Fujidaiko (14th Century) :
So no ban, tsukiyo ni ame ga furu to iu ki ga karina yume o mite,
Nantomo munasawagi ga shite naranakatta nodesu.
Are wa taiko de gozaimasu.
Aa, asamashii, are wa taiko desu yo.
Nani o goran ni natte, taiko to iwareru no ka.
Motte iru bachi o tsurugi to sadame,
ikari no hono wa taiko no hōka to tomoni ten ni agatte kiete shimae.
Ten ni agaru to ieba,
Watashi no otto mo dairi ni sanjō shitanaraba,
Kumo no ue hito de arou.
Ano Fuji no susono no sakura ga, taezu fuji oroshi ni momarete,
shihou he batto chiru no you ni,
hana no you ni utsukushii maigi o,
Sashide, hikute de hirugaeshite reijin wa mau nodakeredo,
Sono taiko no yakuwotsutomeru otto wa,
Meijitsu tomoni rui no nai meishudeatta yo,