Apparitions - a fantasy for chamber ensemble (2010-11)
Apparitions – a fantasy for chamber ensemble is scored for a chamber group that consists of flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, two percussion, piano, two violins, viola, cello and double bass. The work has three major sections that loosely build an arch form. The beginning section explores how sound and timbre are gradually transformed through different means of harmonic progression and orchestration. The middle section is vivid and rhythmic, with frequently changing meters. The last section extensively utilizes aleatoric technique. Throughout the work, various melodic and harmonic motives tie the sections together.
The piece is essentially an abstract sonic representation of how I envision apparitions–ghostly figures that represent the human imagination of the afterlife. They are often invisible, but are traditionally imagined or perceived as human-like figures that can suddenly appear. Many people claim to have seen apparitions, but their actual existence is yet to be proven. This mystery has inspired me to write music that is transparent and glassy. In Apparitions, pairs of half-steps in the high register circle through the ensemble and portray the transparency of apparitions and their movement through time and space. A set of returning chord progression represents the appearance of apparitions.
The word “apparitions” has been used as a title for pieces by composers such as György Ligeti and George Crumb. While my work has no connection to theirs, it is influenced by them to a certain extent. I have learned how Crumb’s sense of time, space and resonance dominants his thinking, and how Ligeti’s sophisticated use of rhythm often governs the form of his compositions. Other influences have come from Tōru Takemitsu’s colorful orchestration and Witold Lutosławski’s absolute control of the aleatoric technique.
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