Balogh's Noh-song premiered by Ryoko Aoki

Balogh's Noh-song premiered by Ryoko Aoki

Since 2010, renowned Noh-singer, Ryoko Aoki, has organized Noh × Contemporary Music to commission international composers to write new pieces for Noh voice. In this year’s project, Máté Balogh’s composition, Matsuo Basho’s Song was among the commissioned works that were premiered on 14 May 2021 in Tokyo.

Balogh's piece has been written for solo Noh-singer and is based on Matsuo Basho’s famous travel-book The Narrow-Road to the Deep North (Oku no hosomichi). The piece contains the very first phrase of the book, putting the text in different contexts using various manners of the Noh-singing-tradition, such as Oshirabe, Nanori, Issei, Sashi, and Sageuta. These singing techniques are used as different personalities or viewpoints, representing different interpretations of the same text. Balogh’s piece suggests that the person – the reader or listener of the book – can imagine more than one exact meaning of Basho’s intellectual message. The one who is able to see all the meaning of a phenomenon is unsecure but open-minded.

Photo: Masanori Akao

See video of the premiere