Rakka (1970) by Glenn Glasow
for violin and tape

Rakka was begun in Tokyo in the summer of 1970. Its title was taken from a l0th century haiku by Tomonori. My own translation reads:

On this mild spring day,
Windless with brilliant sun,
Blossoms fall
Without tranquillity of soul.

The work was conceived for four channel electronic tape with live violin soloist. The sound sources on the tape are mainly small Japanese temple bells and wind chimes, an idea which came to me when I was presented with a small bell by the composer M. Higurashi. These sounds are electronically processed, frequently beyond recognition, and are sometimes mixed with other concrete and electronically generated sounds. The long central section is made up of white noise and prerecorded violin harmonics which also sound bell-like. During performance these sounds move among four speakers with the soloist in the middle, playing against them, sometimes reacting to them.

As important as the traditions of Noh and Gagaku are to me and the temple bells and title notwithstanding, the composition was not an attempt to write Japanese music. (I am, in fact, not interested in imitations of non-western music.) After hearing the quotations in the last minute of the music the listener should have no doubts about my spiritual fathers in music.

— G. G.    

[from program for May 19, 2003 concert]