Love and death, are two revolving themes in the novels of Japanese writer Haruki Murakami, particularly in his Norwegian Wood and Kafka on the Shore. In his seductive and enigmatic narration, death is sorrow but also beautiful. I am deeply impressed by his stories and decided to write a series of works in 2008. Beyond the Life is the title given to this series of works. But it is by no means that I am depicting any scene of his story in the music, indeed, the music is a mystical reflection upon the reading experiences. The title means the death of a beloved one has become part of another's life; death and life are not in opposite direction, indeed the death of a beloved one would somehow determine how the people around live their lives.
The music divides into four sections. The opening section starts with a wistful oboe melody, representing the longing for a beloved but lost one. Two motives from this melody will be further developed and transformed in the later sections. There is a transition leading to an exciting section that develops rhythmically by means of changing meters and metric modulations, and it contrasts with the pervious section as well as the next one, which is quite static and features a transparent orchestral texture and color. In the final section, materials form the second section comes back, and getting more intensified. When the music is approaching its climax, a vibrant orchestral texture is created by accelerating the tempo, and increasing the dynamics and musical activities.
The oboe melody comes back in the coda, the music ends with a surprising chord, letting the tension suspended in the mid air.
Though in the same series, Beyond the Life I, which is scored for solo violin, only shares the same philosophical concept with Beyond the Life II. These two works are not required to perform side by side, and should be musically treated as independent works.
American Composers Orchestra (ACO) is dedicated to the creation, celebration, performance, and promotion of orchestral music by American composers. With commitment to diversity, disruption and discovery, ACO produces concerts, pre-college and college education programs, and emerging composer professional development to foster a community of creators, audience, performers, collaborators, and funders.
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