Midaregami
(tangled hair)

Composition Date: 2007
Duration: 00:20:00
Genre: Solo Voice, With Chamber Ensemble, , String(s) Bowed

Instrumentation:

Instrumentation Set Number 1:
  • 1 x Mezzo Soprano
  • 2 x Violin
  • 1 x Viola
  • 1 x Violoncello
Programme Note:
This song cycle and accompanying video are all about the senses and spectrums: visual, aural, olfactory, and psychological.
The order of the selected poems (tanka) weave a loose narrative that follows the path of an affair: the beginning, the fleeting moments as it ends, the disappointment and anger that follows, and finally the sweet memories.
The role of the voice is quite syllabic and brief with minimal text repetition. This mirrors the brief and delicate nature of the tanka that presents epigrammatic moments in time. I have used the wonderful English translation by Sanford Goldstein. Mostly English is used with moments of Japanese creeping in.
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Midaregami (Tangled Hair) is the title of a collection of tankas by the Japanese poet Akiko Yosano (1878-1942).
This song cycle and accompanying video are all about the senses and spectrums: visual, aural, olfactory, and psychological.
The order of the selected tankas weave a loose narrative that follows the path of an affair: the beginning, the fleeting moments as it ends, the disappointment and anger that follows, and finally the sweet memories.
Her works are from the period of the new school of tankas – the move of Yosano and her husband Tekkan to a more overtly sensual style of Japanese poems. Tankas have a syllabic count of 5-7-5-7-7. There are 7 songs in this song cycle. The first and last are essentially a prelude and postlude. The middle 5 are representative on the macro-level of a five-line tanka. There are many metrical and rhythmic references to 5 and 7 throughout the work.
Tankas were originally sung and the melodic line follows a minor pentatonic scale. This is also the tuning of the koto, the instrument used to accompany the ‘performance’ of tankas, and which is featured in several of the poems. The main pitches of the tanka are used as the pitch centres for each of the song.
The spectrum of smell is used for the basis of the basic pitch selections. The accepted theory of smell is by molecular shape. Luca Turin has hypothesized and proved that it is in fact the frequency of the molecule that determines actual smell. He graciously provided me the frequency spectrum of rose geranium that I used as the basic pitch structure/frequency spectrum for the pieces.
The role of the voice is quite syllabic and brief with minimal text repetition. This mirrors the brief and delicate nature of the tankas that presents epigrammatic moments in time.
Commissioned by Penderecki String Quartet with the support of a commissioning grant from the Canada Council for the Arts.
Premiere March 10, 2007 with the Penderecki String Quartet and mezzo-soprano Kimberly Barber at the Music Gallery in Toronto, Canada.

Credits: Veronika Krausas
Creator: Veronika Krausas
Subject: Tanka | Japanese poetry | Akiko Yosano
Date Created: 2007

Premiere Information:
Commissioned by Penderecki String Quartet with the support of a commissioning grant from the Canada Council for the Arts. Premiere: March 10, 2007 at the Music Gallery in Toronto with mezzo-soprano Kimberly Barber and video artist Robert Drummond.

CATALOGUE INFO:

  • Call Number:
  • MV 1203 K91mi
  • Genre:
  • Solo Voice, With Chamber Ensemble, , String(s) Bowed
  • Date of Acquisition:
  • July 25, 2008
  • Type:
  • Print-music, Published by CMC
  • Physical Description:
  • 1 score (42 p.) ; 28 cm.
    42 Pages
    Height: 28 cm
  • Additional Information:
  • Text by Akiko Yosano (translated Sanford Goldstein)
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Midaregami (tangled hair)
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