Isamu Noguchi conceived of his Museum as a continuously changing “total environment” where one’s awareness may be celebrated and expanded. Each of the musical compositions presented in this program maps unique sonic spaces for contemplation. Presented amidst and in dialogue with Noguchi’s sculptured environment, they will take on new and unexpected resonances.
The final work in this four-part program will be the premiere of Borrowed Landscape, which originated as a German-language radio play with music by Dai Fujikura and text, scenario, and direction by tauchgold. BlackBox Ensemble and The Noguchi Museum are honored to present this work for the first time in a live concert setting, with a new English translation.
The play tells the story of three special instruments: a Stradivarius violin walled up in a cellar in Budapest, a double bass left behind on the flight to Erez Israel, and a piano left behind after the bombing of Hiroshima. As the musicians of the trio play these instruments, they unlock the histories and secrets they carry.
The work is inspired in part by the story of Akiko Kawamoto, a young American-born Japanese girl living in Hiroshima during the time of the 1945 atomic bombing. Though she tragically did not survive that horrific incident, her piano, an upright Baldwin, did, and is played every year on the anniversary of the bombing. Honoring Akiko’s life and her piano, and other surviving instruments that were almost lost to history, the work is meant to reflect on the nature of memory and loss contained within objects. The title of the work alludes to the ancient Asian gardening technique in which faraway views—perhaps of distant mountains—are incorporated into the garden design, and speaks to the worlds gathered and contained within the environments we construct.
The performance of this work coincides with The Noguchi Museum’s reinstallation of Isamu Noguchi’s model for his unrealized Memorial to the Atomic Dead. In 1952, Noguchi designed a memorial for Hiroshima Peace Park to honor the victims of the bombing of Hiroshima, a proposal which was ultimately rejected. In the 1980s, Noguchi adapted his original concept and proposed an updated memorial—meant to honor all victims of atomic weapons in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and beyond—to be installed somewhere in the United States. Although this was also never realized, Noguchi placed his model for the memorial on permanent display at the Museum.