Blooms late when spring is gone…
for erhu, calligrapher-reciter & visual projections (2016)
duration: 10′ 23″
publisher: Australian Music Centre
score available from AMC
Blooms late when spring is gone… takes its departure point from Lindy Li Mark English translation of the Young Lovers’ Edition Peony Pavilion in its discussion of the metaphor of the peony as late a blooming of the possibilities within the beauty of dreams. The ghost of the Chinese opera Kunqu tune “Zao Luopao” from the Peony Pavilion hovers about as sonority possibilities within a slow melodic unfolding to ghostly harmonic moments and energy, that reveals the bones of the tune and its sonority relationship to Japanese Gagaku harmony. Structurally, the first section has fragments of the tune appear with stretched still moments that gradually focuses to the second section’s faster, energetic permeations of the material within horse-bowing sounds, vibrato and expressive slides as well as frenetically free high passages. Again, in the third section, ghostly versions of the Kunqu tune appear in sketchy harmonics which are propelled to a climactic fourth section of bends, vibrato and frenetic activity; these suddenly collapse to a returning dream-like breathy and still harmonics to close the work in a lingering way.
1st Poem (Mandarin): from scene 3, ‘The Interrupted Dream,’ The Peony Pavilion, A Ming Dynasty Musical Drama by Tang Xianzu. English title translations by Lindy Li Mark are used in the musical score.
2nd Poem (Mandarin): Shen Wednesday (calligrapher).
dedication note: Ying Liu (erhu)
It was first performed by Liu Ying (erhu), Shen Wednesday (painter/calligrapher/ reciter) & Ian Stevenson (visual sequencer) at Poetic Energies Across Sonic Space sponsored by Professor Jocelyn Chey and the Australia-China Institute for Arts and Culture, Western Sydney University in the Night Concert on Thursday, 20th July 2017, at Penrith Campus, Kingswood. The event was filmed by: Addy Fong – film/director; David Rapicano – sound recording engineer; and Ian Stevenson – sound mastering engineer.
The work was commissioned by Professor Peter Hutchings for Ying Liu (erhu) in celebration of the birth of the new research centre at Western Sydney University—Australia-China Institute for Arts and Culture.