7 APRIL 2022 / CHAMBER
I started writing this set of pieces while Hong Kong was experiencing one of our numerous ‘lockdown’ periods. This particular lockdown prohibited the gathering of more than
two people, so our quartet wasn’t allowed to rehearse. We had selected some repertoire that we wanted to prepare for a potential recital but with no real end in sight to the lockdown we had no idea if we would even be allowed to play together, let alone have an audience. As I write this
now we are still in lockdown but we are optimistic for a relaxing of restrictions soon. These kinds of prohibitions to the natural habits of humankind have a profound effect on creativity. These effects have not all been negative, but they have certainly influenced how my music
comes out. This isn’t the first piece I have written under these circumstances, I simply offer this information as a way to understand the music from a different perspective.
The first movement Passacaglia is an expression of timelessness. The repeated chord progression initially introduced by piano, morphs and moves. Unlike a traditional passacaglia, this movement builds strength from the chord progression’s ability to adapt rather than its
consistent repetition. Movement two, Millions of Particles Exchanging Places, is a frantic burst of energy. It is like musical chairs for protons and neutrons. The Eternal Patience of Objects is a
meditation at first, and a playful counterpoint second. This movement is clearly divided into
three sections; the first is the string trio playing alone, the second has the piano playing alone, and the third has the full ensemble playing together. Finally, this brings us to the last movement: Syntax of The Half-Asleep. Movement four opens with a piano and viola duet playing a romantic melancholic melody that builds gradually. All of the melodic material in the movement is based on this opening line. The other main element of this movement is a needling rhythmic figure that grows in intensity until it overwhelms the piece completely.
Piano, Ella Xunhuan Zhou
Violin, Amanda Suet Yeng Tse
Viola, Samuel Kwok Tsz Xin
Cello, Brian Patrick Bromberg
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