Program Notes

The Wind Whistling Through the Pines

This work adapts ‘samples’ from the traditional  ‘Bei Guan’ ritual-festive overture of the same title.

The original music genre contains interplays of percussion section and suo-na (a loud wind instrument cross between trumpet and oboe) fanfare.  Structurally, it is composed of recurring short phrases, each repeating 4-5 times before transforming into a variant.  The variations vary in degrees of difference.

The new work characterizes these features.  The alternations of drum points and sou-na were re-orchestrated.  Ban-di (a bamboo flute) coupled by sheng (a bamboo pipe-harmonica) replaces the role of sou-na.   The percussive strokes of koto (gou-zheng in Chinese) supplement the solo percussion to substitute the original percussion section.

This work preserves the traditional modal-pentatonic sound property.  The dissonance only springs out the simultaneity of different gestures or serve as the point of departure after repetition.  The chords add colors to the prominent lines without attaching any harmonic significance, as often seen in the performance practice and the capacity of the instruments.  The music is non-developmental, merely repeats, transforms, combines patterns, and changes orders.

The sections are delineated by minutes—one-minute unit of the 1st six sections, two of the seventh.  In the 1st two minutes, the two elements of festive theme and long-breathed, ornamented lines are established, so are the two crucial tempi.  In th next two minutes the two distinctive materials intersect, a new motto of collective chords from all instruments starts to punctuate phrases.  The important dyads of D-A in the 1st  section switches to A-E in the 3rd section.  The 5th section based on the B-F# festive motives entails simulated folk tune on Er-hu (fiddle).  The line no sooner establishes, starts segmenting in minute six, Pi-pa continuing the transition, enfolds a whole transitional section on a new mode including C#.  The accel. to rit. form a temporal curve.

In the last two minutes the prominent elements reoccur to form new context.  The festive themes start to juxtapose and chase one another.  The top notes are distorted as if heard from afar.

The mosaic texture being spliced into shorter moments, depicts the perception, the remembrance…… A homage to the street ritual celebration from the composer’s childhood.

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