听说… heard that… (2013)

for combined Western & Chinese strings ensemble

Instrumentation

8 Vln.(div.), 3 Vla., 3 Vc., 2 Cb. — 2 gaohu, 2 erhu, 2 zhonghu

Duration

c. 5'20

Premiered

Nov 2013, School Of The Arts Concert Hall, Singapore
Wei Shing CHAN (conducting), Raffles Institution String Ensemble and Chinese Orchestra strings section

Score & parts available upon request

Programme note

听说… heard that… is a fun piece that plays with the rhythmic and pitch inflections that we use to punctuate and intonate our speech in every conversation, but almost always take for granted. The huqins (Chinese strings) playfully mimic the conductor’s Mandarin (Chinese) speech patterns using glissandi, ‘spreading rumours’ of an ensemble coming from a place far-away. Subsequently, his speech rhythms and pitches are motivically transformed into a waltz-like theme played by the Western strings, whose tone quality contrasts starkly with that of the huqins, creating two distinct layers in the musical texture.