9 Haiku for flute and piano (2005)

Duration c. 14 minutes Commissioned and premiered by Marcel Worms and Eleonore Pameijer as part of their 6 Continents Project, February 23, 2005, Hartt School of Music, Hartford, CT.

Published by DINSIC Publicacions Musicals, Barcelona, Spain.

Click here to order: https://www.dinsic.com/ca/publicacions-clasificacio-general/partitures-avancat/card/partitura-mi086-9_haiku

Recording available on “Same Rivers Different” by Michael Fiday, Innova Recordings (https://www.innova.mu/albums/michael-fiday/same-rivers-different)

Program Notes

9 Haiku are a set of varied musical reflections on texts by Basho.  Haiku pose a paradox in terms of scope, their concise forms revealing an entire world within.  In keeping with this, some of the reflections are as long as 3 minutes, others barely 30 seconds.  I chose the texts, then arranged them in a specific order based on subject (birds, moon, bells), framing them by two outer texts suggesting the beginning and end of a life journey.  The first setting does make use of an actual rice planting song (Ta-ue-uta), which recurs from time to time.  The last haiku is significant in that it is Basho’s “death poem” – the last haiku he ever wrote.  9 Haiku was originally composed for Eleonore Pameijier and Marcel Worms as part of their ‘6 Continents Project’.


The beginning of art –
a rice-planting song
in the backcountry.
attached to nothing,
the skylark singing.
Harvest moon –
walking around the pond
all night long.
As the sound fades,
The scent of the flowers comes up –
the evening bell.
Lightning –
and in the dark
the screech of
a night heron.
Where’s the moon?
As the temple bell is –
sunk in the sea.
Clouds come from
time to time –
and bring to men
a chance to rest
from looking at the moon.
My eyes following
until the bird was
lost at sea
found a small island.
Sick on a journey,
my dreams wander
the withered fields.

Matsuo Basho
Translations: Robert Hass


a satisfying set, some of the movements delicate and ephemeral, some enigmatic, some ingeniously clever. – AllMusic