A solo piano piece that contemplates letters that are solely written on the walls of our memories. This piece is a sneak preview of a future collaboration between me and Salome Scheidegger (playing here) of a multifaceted project inspired by Swiss artist, Annelies Strba.
This short song cycle for mezzo-soprano and piano is set to a collection of Japanese love poems written in the ancient court by Izumi Shikibu in the first century. My roommate, who is a writer, had “The Ink Dark Moon” lying around the apartment for weeks before I perused the poems a few at a time, to avoid being emotionally overwhelmed. With a sense of nostalgia and hopelessness, the theme of love had and love lost permeated its pages. I was astounded by the poems’ powerful brevity and use of language; one can only imagine how much more moving they are in the original Japanese.
I set “In this world…” first. Caught by the image of love staining our lives, I never fully reconcile any text sung to the piano music.
Performed by Kyoko Hirota and Tal Heller, mezzo soprano.
Fireflies was composed for Su Lian Tan specifically with the pairing of two flutes in mind. The combination of such melodious yet potentially penetrating winds inspired in my mind images of fireflies in a dark, mystical forest. Jabs of light, invisible lines, surround-sound for the eye incited me to explore the relationship of fireflies between each other and later on, the woods they live in.
Simultaneously attracting lovers and repelling predators, these bioluminescent creatures awe the woods with an alien-like presence. They thrive: nocturnal, dashing, unprecedented. Amidst the smell of undergrowth and vegetation they are confronted by a threat to their livelihood, they are forced to take on a more rhythmically and melodically defensive stance after attempts to glissando and adapt prove futile. Our fireflies conclude with a virtuosic rush, ironically enough, convincing us of their relief.
The lingering menace seems to have disappeared, but our queries - unanswered.
Originally for piano and flute, my Walkabouts encounter harmonic and rhythmic extremes in the wilderness. The contention between listlessly wandering and intentionally seeking pervades both short movements. I adapted this for electric guitar to expand the sonorities that were single flute lines.
Performed by me and Salome Scheidegger.