Fragility and Sonorousness (2021) for solo piano
duration: 8′ 08″
publisher: Australian Music Centre
score available from
Kane Chang (pianist)
The music for Fragility and Sonorousness was developed in a conversational way with Melbourne-based pianist Kane Chang to capture the fragility of experience with the richness of sonorous piano textures. It is both pure sound—lingering moment and explosive virtuosic piano textures—and philosophical, drawing on contemporary Chinese architects Rossana Hu and Lyndon Neri’s ideas of memory and surprise. Hu and Neri’s concepts of revealed raw memory of place and the sudden intimacy of a Shanghai nong tong alley “full of discovery and surprise” (Hu and Neri 2017) governed the structure of the piece. The music works as a triptych: the middle inner space is a distilled and disrupted interior sonic room with hints of Hu and Neri’s glass framed bath at the centre of a room; whilst the outer sections sit astride the ‘inner room’ moving in arching forms from nothingness to massive movement and back again, perhaps with hints of the architects revealed raw red brick of memory. The musical content came from our discussion; to resonate with Kane’s love of Bach spirituality, Chopin longingness and ancient Chinese guzheng virtuosity, the music veers from lingering tones to massive sonority conglomerations through juxtapositions of inspirations from ancient Japanese Gagaku spectral chords, Korean Gugak kyemyŏnjo modal lyricism, the New York free-jazz of Matthew Shipp, and Chinese traditional guzheng-like virtuosity but with hints of European baroque and romantic lyricism of Bach and Chopin. The structure of the triptych is organic in its flow: its inner central room of slowness explores Gagaku-like spectral colours disrupted by New York-influenced free-jazz, psychologist Kylie Lapierre’s conceptual ideas on stasis, and cheeky hints of Afro-Cuban salsa son clave whilst the outer flanks’ nothingness to movement have elements of surprising hints of son clave appear at the close, and the opening’s lingering kyemyŏnjo-inspired melodic fragments push into the distilled inner room. In pure music terms its triptych of fragility and sonorousness falls into the organicism of: A (a, b, a’, b’’, a); B (c, [b’’], d, c’): A (b a [c/d]).
Fragility and Sonorousness was commissioned by the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) as part The ANAM Set (2021) and written for Kane Chang and given its world premiere on the 1st December 2021 at the Abbotsford Convent, Melbourne. The ANAM Set was funded by the Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund – an Australian Government Initiative.
14 & 15 May 2022: Fragility and Sonorousness (solo piano) was performed by Melbourne-based ANAM virtuoso pianist, Kane Chang at the ANAM Set Festival in the ‘Sounds of an Agenda’ at Abbotsford Convent in Melbourne, Australia.
14 May: ABC Radio National, The Music Show, 2.30pm, The Linen Room (Delayed Broadcast Recording)
14 May: ‘Sounds of an Agenda,’ 3.45pm, North Magdalen Laundry
15 May: ‘Sounds of an Agenda,’ 1.45pm, North Magdalen Laundry
15 May 2022: Fragility and Sonorousness (solo piano) was performed by Melbourne-based ANAM virtuoso pianist, Kane Chang on Andrew Ford’s The Music Show, ABC Radio National, 11.05am, in ‘Tailoring a composition—live from ANAM Set Festival,’ The Linen Room, ANAM Set Festival, Abbotsford Convent in Melbourne, Australia.