Above Light: A Conversation with Toru Takemitsu

The elegance and colorfulness of Takemitsu’s imaginary soundscapes drew my deep love and admiration. The style of my compositions is quite different from Takemitsu’s. However, I believe the beauty of music is its diversity and the coexistence of difference. I see struggles in my life, so do my music. And I love both of them! There are two fundamental components in Above Light. The first material—a delicate melodic phrase played by piano, flute and harp, opens this piece. It reminisces and is a tribute to Takemitsu’s music. It is soon interrupted by the second material—heavy strokes from percussions and a dark, low, sustained note played by bass instruments. These two contrastive materials are juxtaposed several times, and are developed in length and density each time. Later there comes an attempt to combine all the materials vertically. The first material—a lyrical melodic contour is now played by piccolo and violins at the high register, producing a mist to shroud the rest of the orchestra. The other materials sweep in gradually, but violently conflict with the first. The orchestra reaches its saturation and is taken over by the massive sound from percussions. After reaching the forceful drum climax, the music collapses onto one long note played by violins at the extremely high register. It leads to a short recapitulation of the first material, with an aloof reminiscence of Takemitsu’s music.

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ACO Performances

The Philadelphia Orchestra Earshot New Music Readings (2018)

September 5, 2018 7:00 pm
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

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