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A Carp Emerges (2014)

concerto for marimba, percussion and orchestra


picc. (timp.+3 perc.*) solo marimba. strings

*Percussion 1: Rain Stick (ossia: tremolo on suspended cymbal), Glockenspiel, Bass Drum, 7 Drums [Eg. Bongo, 2 Congas and 3 Toms - arrange drums from high to low], 5 Flower Pots [Different pitches - arrange from high to low]

Percussion 2: Crotales (Bow and Mallets), Suspended Cymbal (soft timpani mallets), Tam-tam, Rain Stick, Bass Drum, Sizzle Cymbal

Percussion 3: Vibraphone (Bow and Mallets), Suspended Cymbal, Crotales (Bow), Glockenspiel

Duration: 15'

This work was inspired by the poem kitaro's koi by Singaporean poet Eddie Tay, Professor of English at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The reproduction of the poem had been generously approved by the poet.

When I chanced upon this poem, I was surprised at the musical qualities of the subject matter especially regarding percussion, as I was at the early stages of planning this concerto. My curiosity urged me to write to the poet to find out who was Kirato was. It turns out that there was a misprint of the title on the collection of Singaporean poems. It was misprinted as kirato's koi instead of kitaro's koi. This poem is in fact depicting 'Koi', a piece by Kitaro (Takahashi Masanori). The author humbly describes that "[t]he poem is in the form of a haiku but because it takes 3 haikus (3 stanzas) instead of one to express it's idea, it is a failed haiku". Nevertheless, the evocative poetry exploring the sounds of nature and the hypnotised state of mind is simply charming and leaves the reader enchanted. It was also fascinating to embark on writing music inspired by poetry that was written in reaction to another piece of music (albeit of a different genre), but without listening to the original music.

kitaro's koi

                              Eddie Tay

A fallen petal

guided by his haunting flute

drifts upon this pond.

I stand hypnotised

by persuasive percussion

drizzling against skin.

A carp emerges

from a forestry of sounds;

and poetry is mute

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