In Talentum of Light (2016)  Score Recording

Essentially, this is a musical expression of what happens when a piece of precious stone is examined under the penetration of a radiant light from different angles. The word Talentum was an unit of weight used in old Babylonians, Assyrians, Romans and Greeks. It also is a the word that later developed to become talent - a word that describes an individual’s special gift in some pursuit, given at birth. In further exploring the dissonance between the origin of the word and what it is known nowadays, the title of the work, In Talentum of Light expresses a scenario where an object’s worth is determined by how it accommodates and reacts to the examination of light and its inherent colors - the frequencies that vibrate so violently within itself. 

The ability to let the light penetrate through validates the object’s ability to reflect and refract portions of the expectation that the light insists, is what would make one a worthy commodity in the public eye.

A substantial amount of the musical elements weights on the sound world provided by the various percussion instruments used here - the standard ones, and the auxiliary glass objects. For me, the combination of these timbres represents the purity and precision that is light, through the spatial arrangement of the musicians around the concert venue, these razor beams of sound permeates through the object that is composited with the stacked multiphonic sonority of the woodwinds, gradually crumbles, disintegrates and shatters it into disjointed pieces.

Scattered everywhere, it glistens patiently and, peacefully, air-born, at last.

Icy Disintegration (2009/2010) Score Recording

The number of icebergs in Antarctica is diminishing at an unprecedented rate. Despite the normal calving processes in the life of a berg, this acceleration of melting and breaking is an alarming and potentially catastrophic phenomenon that, it has been suggested, is the result of climate change or global warming caused by human activities.

This work was inspired by the disintegration of iceberg B15-A – once the world’s largest free-floating object – in 2005. Although in one movement, the descriptive program articulates the structure into different sections corresponding to different stages of the event: it portrays a pristine object in the sea, the gradual appearances of fissures and cracks, the eventual ‘breaking point’ and the nostalgic aftermath as the newly-formed ice floes drift in their separate directions.

The principal ideas presented in the work are assembled from various audio recordings gathered through mediums such as YouTube videos and relevant scientific research centres around the world. These samples were then translated into pitch materials and various instrumental timbres that form the basis for gestures and motives of the work, which in all resulted in a ‘metaphorical’ use of orchestral colours and texture.

The serenity of icebergs has long been a staple image of the great white continent, but in this new era of climate change, the image has extended to that of uncertainty and concerns of the modern world. Whether global warming exists or not, we should be aware of such dramatic changes in our surroundings. This is the underlying conception of Icy Disintegration.

Dust, Sand and Storm (2009) - for full orchestra

Australian painter Fred Williams (1927-1982) is one of the country’s most eminent artists and one of the twentieth century’s major painters for landscape. His work Silver and Grey (1969) from the Art Gallery of South Australia’s collection has inspired the composition of Dust, Sand and Storm during my visit to the venue in 2009.

The colors and sparse layout of the artwork have in many ways encouraged one to mentally “complete” the painting in their own ways. In this instance, the blend of earthy colors in the plantations and the off- white/beige backdrop have triggered the imagination of a dry, harsh, and almost sun-burnt environment where the confronting sand-wind and storms swift across the land, much like the conditions one usually find in deserts. Furthermore, the scattered dots and strokes have inspired a loosely devised musical structure mirroring the quasi-abstract presentation.

For more info on Fred Williams' Silver and Grey, please visit: https://cs.nga.gov.au/detail.cfm?irn=115740