Vanda (2014-18)

Instrumentation:

2.2.2.2.  4.2.3.1. (timp.+4 perc.*) harp. solo violin. strings

*Percussion 1: Tam-tam, Triangle, Crotales (with bow), Marimba (movements II & III)

Percussion 2: Suspended Cymbal, Bass Drum, Triangle, Tam-tam

Percussion 3: Glockenspiel (mainly), Tam-tam (movement III only)

Percussion 4: Vibraphone (mainly), Marimba, Triangle, Tam-tam

Duration: 20'

Vanda ‘Miss Joaquim’ is commissioned by the Ministry of Education for the Singapore National Youth Orchestra, in celebration of Singapore’s 50th year of independence. The title is borrowed from the national flower Vanda Miss Joaquim, which is named after the horticulturist Miss Agnes Joaquim. The title is also a play on the name ‘Joaquim,’ which sounds like ‘Joachim,’ the great violinist for whom Johannes Brahms wrote his violin concerto.

In the first movement, the idea of nature and horticulture infuses the musical thinking. Where the hybrid of two beautiful parent plants (possibly Vanda Teres and Vanda H.) yields the lovely Vanda Miss Joaquim; musically, the first and second themes are eventually fused together harmoniously.

The middle movement ‘Scherzo Cosmopolitan’ paints an image of the cosmopolitan city where an oasis of Jardin balances the skyscrapers and man-made structures. It is in fact a musical reference to the nickname ‘garden city,’ synonymous with the sunny island.

The finale ‘A Renaissance’ sports a moto-perpetuo rhythmic drive that could be an analogy to bustling city life. A middle section of repose and reflection pares down to the solo violin’s cadenza that eventually picks up energy and momentum.

© 2020 by CHEN Zhangyi