for erhu, ruan, percussion and wind ensemble (2019)
soloists: erhu, ruan, paigu/marimba
ensemble: [126.96.36.199] 188.8.131.52. (2 perc.*) harp, contrabass.
[woodwinds: fl.1(=picc.), fl.2(=alt.fl.), ob., cor anglais, cl.(A), bass cl., bsn.1, bsn.2(=contrabassoon)]
*Percussion (2 or 3 players)
Vibraphone, Xylophone, Glockenspiel,Tom-toms(4), Bass Drum, China Cymbal (sus.), Gong, Tam-tam, Cencerros (tuned cowbells, 1 octave), Temple Blocks(5), Wood Blocks(4)
This concerto is written for erhu, ruan, paigu/marimba soloists Likie Low, Sulwyn Lok, Lee Yuru, the YST Conservatory Orchestra, and principal conductor Jason Lai. I have had the privilege to hear these three musicians play these instruments on separate occasions, beyond their conservatory studies (of composition, audio arts, and 'western' percussion respectively). In discussion with our Dean Bernard Lanskey, it was a natural choice to cast the three of them as soloists for this project namely because of this other aspect of their musical pursuits. In my mind, with a dramatis personæ of three soloists, it begins to resemble the trio dynamics of a recent chamber opera – Kopi For One, which I have composed as part of "A Singapore Trilogy".
In this 'triple' concerto, I have divided the orchestra of winds, percussion, harp and double bass into three ensembles, serving as supporting ripieno sections for each concertino player. The mandarin subtitle of this work may provide another clue to how a trio might work together or against one another in this work. It comes from the Confucian Analects: “When travelling in a group of three, there is always something that one can learn from others” (三人行必有我师). In terms of the structure of the narrative, discarding the traditional and obvious three-movement-form, I have made an attempt to emulate Murakami’s literary style of short episodes that eventually intersect and interact with one another.