Category Archives: Uncategorized

Rushing Spirit Breath details

Rushing Spirit Breath
for Taegŭm and Percussionist (voice, crotales, Filipino kulintang [8 bossed gongs], suspended cymbal, 2 Peking Opera gongs [high, medium], Korean ching and k’kwaenggwari, Japanese Temple bowl [high] (with bead striker), 2 tom-toms [middle, low], bass drum) (2017)
duration: 7′ 01″
publisher: Australian Music Centre

score available from Australian Music Centre

film sample

Bruce Crossman introduces Rushing Spirit Breath’s spiritual and colour concepts

program note
Rushing Spirit Breath explores the Korean Sanjo concept of scattered melodies that gradually accrue tension, in my case, to express the Judeo-Christian idea of the Holy Spirit presence as being something that rushes into being. The work is structured as a series of accruing segments. It emerges from breath-like stillness of fluctuations of taegŭm breath and emergent percussive colours into fast, wild ranging register colour and upper emergent membrane excitations of the flute together with percussive barrages at the climax. The final segment keeps this momentum with high long-breath phrases on taegŭm, shrill and fluctuating, over metal and skin percussion punctuations to recapitulate the quieter low breathed opening as a more tension filled, ecstatic atmosphere coda to the work. Symbols of Judeo-Christianity open and permeate the work through whispered sprechstimme utterances as transcriptions of glossolalia—speaking in tongues—that gradually merge with the Korean words of joy and inner spirit rhythm connection in “chŭlgyŏyo, möt.”

dedication note: Hyelim Kim and Claire Edwardes

Bruce Crossman, Rushing Spirit Breath (bars 1-4)

first performance:

It was first performed by Hyelim Kim (taegŭm) and Claire Edwardes (percussion) as part of the Creativity Unlimited Music Festival 2017, on the 11th August 2017, at Western Sydney University with support from the School of Humanities and Communication Arts.

Hyelim Kim (taegŭm) and Claire Edwardes (percussion) in action at Creativity Unlimited Music Festival 2017 (photo: Petar Jovanov)

Strange Invisible Perfume details

Strange Invisible Perfume
for Guzheng, 1 Percussionist (voice, crotales, kulintang [6 bossed gongs], hi-hat cymbals, suspended cymbal, 2 Peking Opera gongs [middle, high], Korean ching, 3 bongos [high, middle, low], 2 tom-toms [middle, low]) (2017)
duration: 11′ 46″
publisher: Australian Music Centre

Chiu Tanching (guzheng) & Claire Edwardes (percussion) – Hong Kong-Sydney synergy

film sample: 

Poetic Energies Across Sonic Space – Night Concert (last work)

score available from AMC

program note

Invisible Perfume explores the drifting sense of time and moment as expressions of spirit through subtle timbre graduations of the guzheng with muscular colour resonances of sonority and driving percussion qualities to suggest the sensualities of texts from Shakespeare, Tang Xianzu and Song of Songs. The form the work takes is of opening and closing sections with subtle changes of tone colour from wriggling string possibilities on guzheng and sharp Chinese opera percussion and lingering crotales sounds as types of perfumes of sound of stirring ‘invisible perfume’ of the sensuality of Cleopatra. Inside these frames, are balanced muscular sections with the guzheng’s full string arpeggios and skin and metal percussion barrages to express the sensual and joyful suggestions of the Biblical ‘I arose to open for my lover’ and ‘fingers with flowing myrrh’. The ‘strange perfume’—a central image from the Shakespeare—is explored as a central section of the musical structure and expressed through trembling strings and half-spoken whispered voice amidst guzheng chordal resonance; these are intended as evocations of an invisible sensuality and spirit which ‘hits the sense’ in a Shakespearean bold-moment and Daoist quivering nature of ‘sun rouged blush, damp with rain’.

dedication note:

Strange Invisible Perfume is dedicated to Chiu Tan Ching (guzheng) and Claire Edwardes (percussion)

poetry:

Poetic libretto: from English title translations by Lindy Li Mark with Romanisations of the Chinese script by Milky Shan Man Cheung from the Young Lovers’ Edition Peony Pavilion, original play by Tang Xianzu; Romanisations of the Chinese script by Jocelyn Chey of Shakespeare’s Anthony and Cleopatra; Romanisations of the Chinese script by Jocelyn Chey of Song of Songs

Bruce Crossman, Strange Invisible Perfume (bars 139-57)

first performance:

Chiu Tan Ching (guzheng) and Claire Edwardes (percussion) premiered Strange Invisible Perfume as part of the Night Concert at Poetic Energies Across Sonic Space, on 20 July 2017, at Western Sydney University with support from the Australia-China Institute for Arts and Culture

Chiu Tan Ching & Claire Edwardes – sensuous sonic synergies in Poetic Energies

 

 

Garden of Fire details

Garden of Fire
for mezzo-soprano, percussion (crotales, vibraphone, kulintang, hi-hat cymbals, 2 Peking Opera gongs [middle, high]), & piano (2017)
duration: 17′ 46″
publisher: Australian Music Centre

Linda Yim (piano), Claire Edwardes (percussion), & Anna Fraser (soprano) – organic motion of thirty-foot Jackson Pollack-like slipping fish motion in Killalea’s merged with undulating soprano lines of sensual ‘birds in flight’

showreel version (ca. 5mins.)

film version (ca.17 mins.)

score available from AMC

program note
Garden of Fire takes its point of departure from the sensuality of Tang Xianzu’s Peony Pavillion poetry through lucid translations from Lindy Li Mark and Mandarin as well as the structured sense of revelatory space from the Chinese Gardens in Sydney. The music explores the poetry’s static sense of understated erotic tensions that suddenly strike the senses through nature allusions through inside-the-note vocalizations and operatic vibrato through the mezzo-soprano line, and accentuates the colours through drawing on both traditional Chinese and extended European instrumental techniques in the percussion and piano. The living colour aesthetic from Chinese Confucian thought that underpins the vocal line, is extended through the Chinese opera percussion sensitivity to sliding gong timbres and resonances as well as prepared string vibrations on piano. The structure of the work is composed of flanking distilled sections of colour transformations at the beginning and end of the piece around static colours which gain propelling motion to a form multi-sonority climax, with elements of Peking Opera modal pitches, percussive freedom, free-jazz intrusions and pulsations. The timelessness of a free section presents the “shyness” after the climactic and dissolves back into an emergent colour labyrinth where distilled colour wrestles with jazzy ruptures. The macrocosmic idea is flow between differing sections of a Chinese Garden around the dream-like states of the Peony poetry through dreams of distilled, climactic, free and wrestling emotions as the sensuality dream portion of the larger sequence of Shakespearean and Tang Xianzu dream tableaus.

Linda Yim (piano), Claire Edwardes (percussion), & Anna Fraser (soprano) – slipping fish motion in Killalea’s back projections

poetry:

Poetic libretto: 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.

dedication note:

Garden of Fire is dedicated to Colleen, my beautiful wife of over thirty years. It was written for Anna Fraser (mezzo-soprano), Claire Edwardes (percussion) and Linda Yim (piano).

Bruce Crossman, Garden of Fire (bars 80-84)

first performance:

Anna Fraser (mezzo-soprano), Claire Edwardes (percussion) and Linda Yim (piano) premiered the work with video artist Simon Killalea and sound diffusionist Ian Stevenson as part of the Shy Like Blushing Flowers Create NSW Development at Q Theatre, The Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre, on the 11th October 2017. The event was filmed by: Simon Killalea – film/director; and Ian Stevenson – sound recording/mastering engineer.

Linda Yim (piano), Claire Edwardes (percussion), & Anna Fraser (soprano) – sensuous depth-plunging fish of Tang Xianzu & Kowloon Tong to Shatian in polyrhythmic statements; Simon Killalea (film stills)

commission:

The development of “Garden of Fire” within the Shy Like Blushing Flowers Project was supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW, The Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre and Western Sydney University.

Anna Fraser (soprano) – trans-sensory motions with differing rail-motion tracks

article
available on writings page (see Brutal-Shy Resonances)

Blooms Late When Spring Is Gone details

Blooms late when spring is gone…
for erhu, calligrapher-reciter & visual projections (2016)
duration: 10′ 23″
publisher: Australian Music Centre

Liu Ying (erhu) & Shen Wednesday (painter/calligrapher/reciter) – shimmering emerald greens with qiyun actions

film sample

score available from AMC

program note
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.

poetry:

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)

Bruce Crossman, Blooms late when spring has gone… (bars 1-10)

first performance:

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.

Liu Ying (erhu) & Shen Wednesday (painter/calligrapher/reciter); Addy Fong (film still), Petar Jovanov (photo)

commission:

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.

Liu Ying (erhu) & Shen Wednesday (painter/calligrapher/reciter) – swirling blues & red sounds

Emergence from Autumn Darkness to Spring details

Emergence from Autumn Darkness to Spring
for Jiari-Shakuhachi and Jinashi-Shakuhachi (2015)

duration: 10′ 00″

1 Jiari-Shakuhachi (lacquered), [1.8 shaku length]; plus voice; 1 Jinashi-Shakuhachi (un-lacquered), or soft-toned wooden or unlacquered bamboo shakuhachi [1.8 shaku length]; plus voice and crotales [1 pitch D; sounding two octaves higher than written] with brass mallets, rubber mallets and percussion bow (or double bass bow)

score available from
AMC

Emergence from Autumn Darkness, (bars 28-32)—Emerging Breath and Ritual Sound

Emergence from Autumn Darkness, (bars 28-32)—Emerging Breath and Ritual Sound

Performance note: Miyoshi Izumi commissioned Emergence from Autumn Darkness to Spring for performance at the Japan Federation of Composers concert in Tokyo on the 24th February 2016.

program note

Emergence from Autumn Darkness to Spring is emotionally about an emergence from a long darkness into an ecstatic heavenly release, as if autumn had been transfigured into spring. The changing seasons are a metaphor of the burden of a friend’s death and coming to terms with it through music. The music draws on traditional Japanese Noh play’s jo-ha-kyū, using its five-part dan structure to create an intensification of instrumental colour from breath, to ecstatic pitch flourishes, and a quick return to air sounds. Symbolic sounds interlace and emerge in the structure of the music; Christian glossolalia (speaking in tongues) chanting frame the work, whilst Japanese Gagaku court music emerges in tangled, overlapping lines as type of heart cry at the most intense part of the structure—the third dan. The spiritual symbols of heaven and higher dimensions within an arch shaped musical intensification design are about loss and transcendence of the individual, who moves to perhaps a heavenly dimension.

Emergence from Autumn Darkness to Spring is dedicated to my friend and encourager Jack Body.

Mulgoa Nature Reserve in Spring--Alive with reverberant sounds

Mulgoa Nature Reserve in Spring–Alive with reverberant sounds

Emergence from Darkness details

Emergence from Darkness
for solo harp (2015)

duration: 15′ 00″

Yukiko Hirao (harp), Chamber Music Hall, Aichi University of the Arts, Japan

Yukiko Hirao (harp), Chamber Music Hall, Aichi University of the Arts, Japan

Performance note: Yukiko Hirao (harp) performed Emergence from Darkness at the East Meets West concert in the Chamber Music Hall, Aichi University of the Arts, Japan on the 17th December 2015.

score available from
AMC

Emergence from Darkness, (bars 67-72)—Gagaku colour and Koto Gesture

Emergence from Darkness, (bars 67-72)—Gagaku colour and Koto Gesture

program note

Emergence from Darkness is structurally and emotionally music that is about an emergence from darkness—the almost inaudible sounds and tensions arising from violent atmospheres into stronger utterances. The dirty ‘blues-like’ sounds that perforate the music come from rapidly changing pedal positions whilst a note is in play to create textural roughness and are complimented by single sliding notes as melodic emphasis devices. These colours span out into an array of colouristic techniques including Korean gayageum flicking techniques and Japanese koto grace-note gestures to energize both single notes and melodic phrases. What emerges in the work, from the opening cluster sounds, is the revealing of Japanese Gagaku-based sonorities and sadly arching melodic phrases, that sit still and aching in the air but ruptured by bluesy fragments. The Yokohama skyline and its sudden juxtaposition of shapes that allow for the flow of peoples through the city inspired the structure of the music. In the music, near silent sounds gradually emerge, reappear and end the work amid denser sections that suddenly emerge in a series of juxtapositions; here the musical flow through time moves into sudden emergences of emotion and cathartic sound as its point.

Akira Kobayashi commissioned Emergence from Darkness (harp) for performance at Aichi University of the Arts as part of a Collaborator residency. Both Aichi University of the Arts and the Australian Commonwealth through the Australia-Japan Foundation, which is part of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, supported the residency.

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Where are the Sounds of Joy details

Where are the Sounds of Joy?                                                                                  for trumpet, percussion, piano (2015)
(Trumpet (Bb) [notated at pitch in the score] (harmon mute, plunger [wow-wow]); 1 Percussionist; (Filipino kulintang, crotales, vibraphone, hi-hat cymbals, tam-tam cymbal [low], Peking Opera gong [high], 2 bongos [high, medium], 2 tom-toms [medium, low], bass drum; strikers: medium mallets, soft mallets, wire brush, percussion bow or double bass bow); Piano); duration: 10′ 00″

Where are the Sounds of Joy?, (bars 68-70)—Soft motion and rich colour

Where are the Sounds of Joy?, (bars 68-70)—Soft motion and rich colour

score available from AMC

program note

Where are the Sounds of Joy? takes its inspiration from Australian Gallipoli warrior, Billy Sing, and re-envisages his life through Kunqu—the mother form of Chinese opera, specifically the Peony Pavilion with its fragile transitory image of imagining beauty amidst the broken. It reimagines the Gallipoli war from the Chinese perspective with the metaphor from Kunqu in Peony Pavilion, of a broken down garden as the site for dreaming of the ideal lover, used as a parallel of Gallipoli as broken down walls from which one dreams of escape. The work opens and closes with half-sung, half-breath sounds on trumpet alongside emergent ‘broken’ prepared-sounds on piano, and Mandarin whisperings, whilst pure percussion colours focus to war-like Peking opera gong bursts. Restless energy starts to emerge with insistent repeated-note rhythms, whose notes fragment the Christian “Dies Irae” plainchant. These hidden fragments mix with others, such as the Turkish Kalenderi scale (related to the wandering dervishes) and makam Saba as whirling, arching quick-note bursts in the texture; they work together with explosive improvisatory generated piano licks, extended Peking Opera accelerando figures, and Filipino kulintang gong-chime repeated-note insistence as Qi-like energy. The trans-morphed gestures all push towards a chaotic cacophonic climax. A gentle section emerges centering the work with a subdued trumpet plunger tune, related to Kunqu melodic fragments; it sits amidst rich piano resonances, including silent-string evoked half-sounds, and eerie bowed crotales as an imagined dreaming of love. The music returns to short bursts of the cacophonic section, before being subdued by the recapitulation of the opening half-voiced sounds on piano and trumpet, and crotale tremolo. The work ends amidst half-resonances on piano and Mandarin whisperings—“shui jia yuan?” over the lingering Kunqu dream harmony.

WASJ Luping images 2

Where are the Sounds of Joy (oil; water colour), Luping Zeng, ©July 2015

WASJ Luping images 7

Performance note: Tristram Williams (trumpet), Peter Neville (percussion) and Michael Kieran Harvey (piano) with a short film by Iqbal Barkat and Vincent Tay (Filigree Films) with images by Luping Zeng (artist) at the Melbourne Composers League-ABC Classic FM ‘Where are the Sounds of Joy’ concert, Iwaki Auditorium on 26 September 2015.