Fragrant Rain Clouds of Love
for percussion and piano (2016)
1 percussionist (Filipino kulintang, crotales, vibraphone, hi-hat cymbals, suspended cymbal, Peking Opera gong [high], 1 Korean ching (suspended), 2 bongos [high, medium], 1 snare drum, 2 tom-toms [medium, low], bass drum; strikers: medium mallets, soft mallets, wire brush, percussion bow or double bass bow); piano; duration: 12′ 37″; publisher: Australian Music Centre
dedication note: for Michael Kieran Harvey (piano) and Tim Phillips (percussion)
score available from Australian Music Centre
Fragrant Rain Clouds of Loveis inspired by the lucid English translation by Lindy Li Mark of the Chinese opera Kunqu classic, Peony Pavilion; its subtle evocation of the fragility and awakening of love found fragile and sonorous musical responses. The work awakens with fragile timbres of lingering metal responses and stopped-piano sounds gently awaken to lush Kunqu-based sonorities, before erupting to climactic jazzy extemporization-like piano sounds interwoven with Filipino Kulintang gong-chimes and soft skin-sounds of drumming patterns. After the euphoria of the climactic moments, stillness returns in transient and distilled chordal sounds as a type of breath in the structure—as if suggesting lovers’ tender moments—before erupting again to the main climax, but this time with free mobile sections that allow the players room to awaken in quasi-improvisations. Symbolic Peking opera gong sounds recalling the Chinese opera origins of the inspiration undergird the final cacophonous climax. The work closes with a return to transient metal timbres of crotales and bowed vibraphone emergences, all amidst whisperings of the Young Lovers’ Edition Peony Pavilion text—“fragrant rain clouds of love.”
Fragrant Rain Clouds of Love was premiered by Michael Kieran Harvey (piano) and Tim Phillips (percussion) at the Creativity Unlimited Music Festival, Western Sydney University, 2 September 2016.
Fragrant Rain Clouds of Love was part of the Shy like Blushing Flowers multimedia project with Simon Killalea (filmmaker/projectionist), performers (recording) Michael Kieran Harvey (piano) and Tim Phillips (percussion), musical direction Bruce Crossman (composer) with sound design/diffusion by Ian Stevenson at The Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre—Q Theatre, Penrith, 3-4pm, 11 October 2017. Supported by Create NSW, Arts NSW Development and The Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre.
Fragrant Rain Clouds of Love was performed by Chu-Han Huang (piano) & Ya-Hsin Cheng (percussion) at the Contemporary Composers Forum, Kaohsiung Cultural Centre, Taiwan, 2 May 2019.
Shy Like Blushing Flowers, featured at the online showcase of music in ROOM 2: Intercultural Explorations at the Western Sydney University, Create NSW & Make Music Australia: Make Music Day 2020. The showcase was curated by WSU academics A/Prof Sally Macarthur and Dr Clare Maclean with state partner, Augusta Supple, CreateNSW, on 21 June 2020.
available on events and writings pages
See story of the film on the event page, Shy like Blushing Flowers Music-Theatre Project