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THE HOMING FISH (1993)
The music is inspired by observation of the life cycle of the salmon - a
most touching life story - from a young fish struggling for survival in brooks,
then as he grows, swimming towards the sea, experiencing violent storms and
mighty waves, until finally he feels duty-bound to return home up-stream, sacrificing
his own life for the sake of procreation.
is treated in a cheerful and concise manner. Narrating the life process of the
salmon, the composer uses one main theme throughout, allowing it to be
developed in both traditional (mainly romantic) and contemporary (mid-20th
was specially composed at the invitation of Singaporean choreographer Goh Lay
Kuan for the 1994 Singapore Art Festival.
'NUO' DANCE (1993)
The music is taken from the dance drama "Nu Wa" and is one of
the vigorous sections.
time, when calamities befall mankind, people would dance the "Nuo"
dance as part of the ritual seeking help from Heaven.
character "Nuo" .contains two parts, on the left is 'people, and on
the right "disaster"
"Nuo" dance in China are performed differently from place to place. The
"Nuo" dance that you are going to listen to bears no origin. It is
entirely the subjective realization of the composer based on his personal imagination
and understanding through certain descriptive records.
of music consists of three sections:
It is also
specially composed at the invitation of Singaporean choreographer Goh Lay Kuan
for the 1994 Singapore Art Festival.
HAN SHI (1984)
The music is based on a poem by the Tang Dynasty poet Han Hong, translated
in town flowers abound blossoming,
"Han Shi" days the East Wind blows inclined the royal willows,
Han Palace at dusk candles are lit in relay,
soft incense disperse in all noblemen's mansions.
flourish is continued by the violins, who establish an accompaniment for the
noble principal theme, introduced by trombones and lower strings, and then
horns in canon. The music builds up in intensity, broadens out and arrives at a
agitated, reaching the main climax of the movement, assisted by the percussion
battery. An adagio calmato winds down the tension, creating a restful and
somewhat meditative atmosphere with harp and piano in triplet octaves over the
gentle ostinato of triangle, tam-tam and timpani. Two solo violins weaving
their way in the upper reaches help to end the movement in contemplative
was premiered by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra on 19th, 20th October 1984 at
the Victoria Concert Hall.
Ping-Diao - a reminiscence of some events in the Chinese history. This piece
was specially written for performance by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. Using
serial technique in various presentations, the composer has deliberately utilized
the pentatonic scale in his serial arrangement in order to retain an ethnic
colour, and he attempts to express as a capriccio his meditation on some ancient
At the very
beginning, the solo trumpet enters with a questioning recitative-like phrase,
followed by sectional entries of winds and then brass in similar vein. A
crescendo ensues for winds and brass only, terminated by tam-tam and bass drum.
As the tam-tam shimmers, the violins, followed by the rest of the strings, continue
in the spirit of the solo trumpet. The strings switch to pizzicato and the
change in tone colour is accentuated by harp and vibraphone. Winds and brass
weave a contrapuntal texture above the pizzicato, but the brass settles into
overlapping chords which swell out and recede, while the strings break into
agitated phrases. The pace quickens and a climax, marked by short sharp tutti
chords, is reached. As horns and bassoons hang on, harp and vibraphone set off
another pattern of overlapping wind phrases, which is soon taken up by the strings
with enthusiasm. The music accelerates and arrives at an energetic march-like
allegro which broadens to a powerful climax. From here there is a gradual winding
down and the textures of the initial section return. A harp glissando over a
timpani roll leads to a flute cadenza, and the movement dies away on a sustained
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PHOON: Symphonic Works