ADACHIGAHARA - Connecting the classic to our contemporary world –

26 Jan 2022

Image of ADACHIGAHARA - Connecting the classic to our contemporary world –

Noh, created before medieval times, and us, living now. The series is an attempt to search for this new connection focusing on the most eminent genius of Noh and classical music.

Adachigahara is a fable about an ogress living as a recluse in the wilderness of Mutsu. A travelling Buddhist priest requests lodging in Adachigahara after night has fallen. The inn-keeper is an old woman who laments her miserable life in the shabby isolated house. Late at night, when the old woman goes out to collect firewood, the priest peeks into her bedroom and sees corpses piled in heaps.
Even though an ogre, this ogre is actually a sad woman who needs to eat people in order to stay alive, ashamed of her pitiful destiny.
The ogress, even though she is trying hard to hide it, seems as though symbolizing the people piled up in her sleeping quarters. The pile of rotten corpses resembles the limited days of our lives, distracting thoughts accumulating like sediment and the yearning for times forlorn.

Adachigahara includes a scene where the old woman laments her splendid past while turning the spinning wheel. When thinking of a spinning wheel in the world of classical music, Shubert’s Gretchen am Spinnrade comes to mind. In this song that includes directly quoted phrases from Goethe’s drama Faust, the young girl Margarete, who is in love with Faust, turns the spinning wheel while yearning for him after his visitations stop. Accompanying arpeggio symbolizing the turns of the spinning wheel also expresses Margarete’s reoccurring thoughts. The embodiment of thoughts gridlocked by the spinning wheel is universal.
In Adachigahara the spinning wheel is also a device for inducing distortion of time and space.

When the soprano, violin and clarinet intertwine with the sound of the Noh world, the never changing sorrows of life connect, surpassing space and time. We look forward to bringing this tale to the modern audience in a new form.

June Iyeda
(Director/Translator, Associate Professor at Senzoku Gakuen College of Music)