Six Songs of Old Japanese Wisdom

for voice and piano

Richard Whalley

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for voice and piano

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Composer Richard Whalley
Year of Composition 2004
Duration ca.9'
ISMN 9790570682331
Student Difficulty int-adv
Categories (all composers) , , ,
Catalogue ID ce-rw1ssoojw1


Two versions available – one with bass clef baritone part and one with treble clef vocal part. Both are included in the download.

Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827) was one of Japan’s most important haiku poets. Though he lived a life full of tragedy, he found solace in nature and was known for a sympathetic attitude towards small creatures; this comes out very strongly in his poetry.

As a composer I find these beautifully poignant ‘snapshots’ of life by Issa so powerful, offering through minimal means insights that tell us an inestimable amount about humanity and the world we live in. What better justification for why, as human beings, we need art? These modest songs aspire to the status of the frog in the following: Yase gaeru makeru na Issa koko ni ari.

You skinny frog, you
don’t be beaten, don’t give up!
Here stands Issa by you.