Ashi Day: The Green Child (2020)
The Green Child was commissioned by Whistling Hens in 2019. Whistling Hens gave the world premiere on March 7, 2020 at the Music by Women Festival at Mississippi University for Women in Columbus, MS. The Green Child is a version of the fairy tale The Green She-Devil by Marcel Schwob from a collection of translated French decadent fairy tales called Fairy Tales for the Disillusioned.
This tale is an adaptation of the legend of the green children of Woolpit in which a girl from a rural village finds a green child in the woods when she's out with her woodcutter father. The green child is inconsolable with tears. The girl makes sure her father takes her with them, and the green child joins them willingly. The family takes her in. The green child gets along in the village and doesn’t seem unhappy, but she never speaks, never fully adjusts, and never fits in. The other villagers are suspicious of her. The green child and the daughter are very close. When the daughter is older, her family, out of need, decides to put her into domestic service for a rich family. The girl is devastated, and the day before she is to leave, she is up all night, inconsolable. The green girl finds her, takes her hand, and leads her out into the freedom and wild of the woods.
In this adaptation, the clarinet represents the green child, the character who does not use spoken language. The green child and the daughter share a bond of saving each other and also present two sides of inner life - the side that needs community and society, and the side that is wild and never fully tameable, and portraying these sides of a person as loving and helping each other, that each side can be helpful and necessary at some time.
Thursday was written by Ashi Day in 2019 for Whistling Hens. It was premiered at Collington Retirement Community on March 26, 2016. This short and theatrical duo includes non traditional markings for both performers. The soprano is marked "the spurner," while the clarinet is "the spurned." The singer is "joyfully callous throughout" while the clarinet is agitated, disturbed, and desperate trying to win her affections. The soprano taunts by saying she loved her partner yesterday, but that was then - today she does not love them. It includes an improvised clarinet section in the middle.
Ashi Day is a composer and educator working in Washington, DC, interested in exploring unconventional intersections between music and theater, using the voice as a compositional tool, and creating meaningful works for all ability levels and ages. She also writes a lot of songs about animals. Ashi creates vocally driven works created as much for the experience of the performers as the listeners. Recently, she has been a festival artist at New Music DC, Opera From Scratch 2018, the 2018 Music by Women Festival, and the 2017 Women Composers Festival of Hartford. She has collaborated to co-create theatrical works for Cultural DC’s Source Festival and the Capital Fringe Festival.
Ashi earned a B.M. and M.M. in Composition respectively from Bucknell University and Westminster Choir College. Composition teachers include William Duckworth, Jackson Hill, Stefan Young, and Joel Phillips. She now works in arts education administration, creating opportunities for people of all ages to experience, explore, learn through, and train in music and opera. As a soprano, she is an active choral and church musician, and regularly holds section leader positions for professional octets or quartets in various church choirs. Visit her website at www.ashi-day.com