Friday, May 31, 2013

Music from Haiku: A Musical Setting of Richard Wright by Judah Adashi

Recently I found that some of Richard Wright's Haiku have been used as the basis for some music.  Judah Adashi, a composer who is new to me, has used eight of Wright's Haiku as the basis for a suite of eight movements.  The composition is called "Suite: Eight Haiku by Richard Wright".  These are not songs, that is to say the Haiku are not sung.  Rather, the eight Haiku by Wright have been used by Adashi for their atmosphere which Adashi then translates into a musical medium.  The Suite is for violin and marimba; a pleasing combination, by the way.  I noticed that for the most part the violin is confined to its lower register which means that the violin and marimba often share a close relationship in sonic space.  The compositions vary as to pacing, rhythm, and harmonic content.  Yet there is also a strong sense of unity among the movements.  I think my favorite, after having listened only twice, is the second of the set: The harbor at dawn :/ the faint scent of oranges/On gusts of March wind.

I have often found Wright's Haiku to be lyrically and rhythmically compelling; so it makes sense to me that a composer would find them to be a good resource for composition.  Some critics have suggested that there is an infusion of blues elements in Wright's Haiku.  Wright had a longstanding interest in blues, so this connection is not surprising.  This musical aspect of Wright's Haiku is one of the primary reasons that they are so attractive.

Fortunately, the Suite by Adashi is online at soundcloud.  Here is the link:

And here is Adashi's online home page, if you want to know more about him:

P.S.  For some reason the link to soundcloud doesn't seem to be working.  Go to google and put in the search terms: Haiku Adashi Cloud.  That should bring up the soundcloud page at the top of the search, then you can click on that and it should take you to the composition; at least it worked for me.  If people have problems locating the page, let me know.

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