31 Oct 2009

KLCMF 09: We Built This City

The KLCMF 09 featured three days of non-stop new music explosion in the city of Kuala Lumpur as never heard before. Here is the detailed programme as well as samples of the concerts:

Friday 27 Nov 2009
ensemble mosaik presents
WE BUILT THIS CITY
Malaysian voices and their songs of the city
Performed by Ensemble Mosaik
Guests: Nicholas Ong (piano), Ong May Yi (zhong ruan), Muriz Contemporary Trio

The festival opens with a concert of Malaysian composers and their reflections on life in the city, performed by Ensemble Mosaik, a leading German new music ensemble.

Hear the cacophonies of the city in Adeline Wong's Paces, the dichotomies of city life in Ng Chong Lim's Morning Mist. Among others, CH Loh questions the legitimacy of the highrise structures in the city, while Ahmad Muriz escapes the choking Klang Valley smog for some refreshing sea breeze.

The concert features a Special Festival Commission from Tan Zi Hua, winner of the HSBC Young Composers Workshop 08 with his constantly thought-provoking inspirations. We Built This City will be an evening of kaleidescopic sounds, and includes collaborations with gamelan, zhong ruan and a myriad of sounds familiar or frightening.

Programme Notes:

Malaysian cities, indeed Malaysian life, epitomises harmony and discord at their most extreme. It is a dissonant symphony of wildly opposing voices in eternal fugue, unresolved, each constantly crying to be heard over the others. This unprecedented meeting of Malaysian composers attempts to present a tapestry of voices, some beautiful, some grotesque, for the two are never apart.

Programme

1. Ahmad Muriz Che Rose - Desir Angin Cina Selatan for 2 traditional players and flute
2. Tan Zi Hua - Under the Homotopic Silhouettes for flute (picc), clarinet, piano, violin and cello (Special Festival Commission)
3. Adeline Wong - Paces for piano and tape (2008) (Nicholas Ong, piano) *

Intermission

5. CH Loh - Illegal Structures III for flute (bass fl), bass clarinet, percussion, violin, viola, cello and tape
6. Tazul Izan Tajuddin - Torrent of Images - A Memorial for piano solo (Nicholas Ong, piano) *
7. Ng Chong Lim - Morning Mist for cello and piano
8. Ngiao Tzu-En - A Precipitation of Sparrows for flute solo
9. Hardesh Singh - Jasper Singh Pestonji for bass clarinet, cello and tape

All World premieres except *

1. Ahmad Muriz Che Rose - Desir Angin Cina Selatan (The Sound Of The South China Winds)

The locals who live by the sea shore of East Malaysia listen to the winds of the South China Sea, from which they comprehend the news that comes with the breeze, whether it is a good time to harvest the sea, or if a disaster is waiting to be unleashed. This work depicts the winds as 'spoken' by the interaction of the bonang, saron pekin and flute.

2. Tan Zi Hua - Under The Homotopic Silhouettes

During the daytime, Kuala Lumpur is a manic city. For most of the office-bound city dwellers, a remarkable uniformity prevails - everyone seems to be in a hurry and looks amazingly identical from afar. As the night falls, however, the city is blanketed by vast silhouettes of skyscrapers. Sharing the same starting points, these homotopic* silhouettes seamlessly metamorphose into others of varying shapes, textures and intensities at different points along the cityscape. Many of the inhabitants under the silhouettes - emerging from the homogeneity portrayed earlier - also diversify into unique individuals with personalities of every hue; that is, until the daybreak returns.

In this piece, sets of partials (each based on a single sound) serve as the 'common points' while the modulations of those partials paint a picture of the deformation process. The timbral and textural aspects of the piece are inspired by the mood emanating from the intricately woven silhouettes and all the happenings underneath.

This piece is dedicated to all those who safeguard the liberty of the people of Kuala Lumpur.

*Formally, two mathematical objects within a defined region are said to be homotopic if one can be continuously deformed into the other with the mutual points remain fixed.

3. Adeline Wong - Paces

Paces is a portrait of city life. Blaring car horns, sequences of traffic, the garbage of noise, the mechanical rattle, hum and distant rumblings of our electronic world, mobile ring tones - these are just some familiar sounds that you will hear in this work. The use of electronics and samplers suggest technology in our culture. The piano is treated as an individual coping and integrating with city life. At times the piano is playing together with the electronics, at times competing with it and at times intervening and being part of the electronic sounds.

The first section is entitled Construction, Industrial where sounds of construction and piling sounds are heard. The second section Metal Grating fuses into the sounds of gamelan, which leads to the third section, Piano Solo. Sounds of digital mobile phones, playstation and gameboy provide soundscapes for the next section Gameboy, Digital. The last moments of the work closes with sound of children's voices, which signifies the future generation who would determine the sounds and pace of city life to come.

4. C H Loh - Illegal Structures III (The bigger of the three)

This work takes off from my earlier piano piece 2 Portraits for piano subtitled Chris Dances, Illegal Structures and an unfinished vocal piece Illegal Structures II (hence the subtitle perhaps, or not?). The title is borrowed from a phrase that I had read in the local newspapers, which I turned into a musical joke about formal structures in music.

And similar to the first piece, which was based on a collage of quotes from various pianist-composers of the past such as Liszt, Prokofiev and Stravinsky, this makes references to Shostakovich's 14th Symphony, Nielsen's 4th Symphony as well as sounds common in Malaysian life. The connection with Shostakovich's symphony goes deeper into the structure, mirroring his 11 movements with 11 sections in the piece that alternates between meditative calm and uncontrolled chaos. Illegal Structures III was inspired by footage of the autopsy report of A Kugan, excerpts of which is heard in the closing bars of the piece. This work is dedicated to my dear friends from the town of Kapar and to my late father Loh Kum Wah, who passed away in 2007.

5. Tazul Izan Tajuddin - Torrent of Images - A Memorial: Irrational

This piece was written in tribute to the victims of the tragic terrorist bombing of the holiday resort in Kuta, Bali on 12 October 2002. Planned in three sections, this presents the first, called Irrational. This piece is constructed using a Balinese gamelan scale, which is transposed, permutated and dislocated. There are 12 small sections (patterns) in which the scale is distributed, and there is also a hidden structure: the piece is built around a series of 5 numbers. Erratic, randomness and displacement of notes are characteristic, associated with the word "irrational".

As the title suggests, metaphorically, it is like a torrent of images flooding one's mind after such a tragedy that affected everyone. The piece irrationally goes from an obvious Balinese pentatonic scale and to more obscure suspended clusters when the scale is played a doubling shadow and the sustaining pedal. The images become more intense and eventually the tension is released, with a loud chord played in the lower register. This gesture is complemented by a solemn, repeated octave that ends the section. The gesture (repeated octaves) is symbolically (and perhaps metaphorically), a thoughtful reflection, a meditative and mourning gesture for the tragedy and the lost ones.

6. Ng Chong Lim - Morning Mist

A short poem by Denise Levertov (from The Life Around Us) inspired me to compose an impression on these few simple and subtle verses:

white stillness; vanishing trees & hills; tranquil in solitude

During the last few years, I have written several pieces based on or inspired by nature, such as A distant voice
of the rain forest, Daun (leaves) and Rimba (forest) and this work continues the thread. A particular motif in the piece is the Chinese character "Yi" which means to change or to shift. As the 3rd Century Taoist philosopher Chung Tzu once said, with every movement there is change; with every moment there is alteration.

7. Hardesh Singh - Jasper Singh Pestonji

This piece celebrates life. There is an Iban saying that goes, "agi idup, agi ngelaban," which loosely translates to while I breathe, I fight. I am fascinated with the idea of perfection and the spirit of striving for it even though we know we can never really reach it. This piece is dedicated to my nephew, Jasper Singh Pestonji, born in February this year and who will have a lifetime ahead of him dedicated to the pursuit of perfection as a human being.

8. Tzu-En Ngiao - A Precipitation of Sparrows


This piece is based on an Islamic tile work from the Middle East. The breathtaking and hypnotizing depth and space of the tile work is achieved through an intricate superimposition of vine tendrils interspersed with flowering blooms in blue. The complex and multitudinous intersecting segments of curling tendrils appear to be more a web weaved in mathematically precise punctuations than a mere chaotic assembly of spiralling lines.

Viewing these curling tendrils in terms of a mathematical approximation of a spiral according to the famous Fibonacci Series, the entire artwork has been reconstructed on musical terms by deriving all spiral tone-rows, rhythmic structures, counterpoint and harmony from the Fibonacci numbers and weaving them into a coherent canvas based on a set of mathematical and algorithmic rules also extracted from the tile work itself.

Sat 28 Nov 2009 HKNME presents
SONGS OF THE SOUTH SEAS
Connecting the cities of South East Asia and beyond
Performed by the Hong Kong New Music Ensemble
Guests: Moritz Eggert (piano)

Programme Notes:

Music is the common language that connects cities and communities. For the first time the many musical languages of our region will be heard at one sitting, and we can at last enjoy their collective harmonies and discords, and explore the diversity and commonality that makes us South East Asian. Guest composer Moritz Eggert lends a German perspective to this concert, in ways that you would never imagine!

Programme

1. Tony Prabowo (Indonesia) - Quartet for oboe, cello, piano and Vibraphone (2007)
2. Narong Prangcharoen (Thailand) - Sunyata for violin, cello and piano (2007) *
3. Chinary Ung (Cambodia) - Spiral VI for clarinet, violin, cello, and piano (1992)
4. Moritz Eggert (Germany) - Haemmerklavier III: One Man Band for piano solo (1994) (Morizt Eggert, piano)

Intermission

5. Slamet Abdul Sjukur (Indonesia) - The Source for clarinet, cello and piano
6. Teh Tze Siew (Malaysia) - The East for Dizi, oboe, clarinet (bass clt) and cello *
7. Moritz Eggert (Germany) - Haemmerklavier XX: One Man Band 2 for piano solo (2009) (Morizt Eggert, piano)
8. Jonas Baes (Philippine) - PATANGIS-BUWAYA version for 2 dizi, oboe, clarinet and audiences (100 bamboo bird whistles)

* World premiere


1. Tony Prabowo (Indonesia) - Quartet (2007)

This work employs a sequential technique that is not strictly followed, and a horizontal (harmonious) arrangement of notes with a system of intervals that is both symmetrical and asymmetrical, so that the four instruments proceed in a free polyphonic pattern that sometimes connect to each other and at other times have no inter-relationship at all. The mixture of narrow and wide intervals arranged within a varied rhythmic pattern is one of the characteristics of this composition.

2. Narong Prangcharoen (Thailand) - Sunyata

Everything one encounters in life is empty of absolute identity, permanence, or 'self'. This is because everything is inter-related and mutually dependent - never wholly self-sufficient or independent.

The Sanskrit word "Sunyata" is loosely translated as "emptiness" in English. It is one of the main teachings of Buddha. In Buddhism sunyata is translated as an emptiness of phenomena that enables the individual's release from the limitations of form in the cycle of uncontrolled rebirth, an attainment that leads to Nirvana or Nibpan in Thai. The musical contexts of Sunyata are expressed in the state of constant thematic material and pitch organisation, which creates the energy that flows through the entire piece. With the course of time, the rhythmic patterns may be transformed, and idea derived from the teachings of sunyata.

Sunyata directs all of the musical contents to the emptiness section where none of them are real until the end of the piece, which is the real silence and true emptiness. This piece was composed in memory of my beloved grandmother, who passed away on 7 April 2007.

3. Chinary Ung (Cambodia) - Spiral VI

Spiral VI is the sixth work in the succession that follows a metaphorical spiral through a multiple series of manipulations. It was commissioned by Harold Newman for the Aeolian Chamber Players in 1992, premiered that same year by in Strasbourg, France. Each of Ung's spiral pieces is similar in that they all have individual notes or phrases that are constantly being reworked, but each is unique and, according to where they fall in the colour spectrum (blue-yellow), display different shades of green. Both Asian and Western elements are readily discernible in Spiral VI, probably one of Ung's best examples of achieving a true integration of these ideas.

Spiral VI begins with a rapid series of intervals outlining a diminished seventh, establishing a firm ground on C-sharp. This pattern is heard once more toward the end with a softer perfect fifth interval and a cadence on G. From the initial C-sharp the piece moves forward through a progression of pitches, enunciated by the piano, that function as harmonic spheres. It is no accident that this progression outlines a diminished fifth, an interval used repeatedly in Spiral VI. A soulful violin solo that briefly recalls pre-atonal Schoenberg (Verklärte Nacht comes to mind) winds sinuously over a veiled heterophonic texture and is eventually picked up by both the clarinet and cello. The piece is constantly changing, expanding, or contracting, and has been described as having a floating feeling despite its precise rhythmic notation.

4 & 9 Moritz Eggert (Germany) - Haemmerklavier III: One Man Band & Haemmerklavier XX: One Man Band 2

Composed in 1994, One Man Band has since become Eggert's most performed piece from his Haemmerklavier cycle. Says Eggert, "In this piece I tried to test the limits of normal piano playing - not with massed notes but with unusual actions performed in addition to the playing on the keys. So the pianist has to play with chin and foot, and percussive beating, as well as stomping as integral elements of the music, often in used in a purposefully exaggerated way that makes fun of contemporary piano playing conventions. "

After a 15-year gap Eggert composed the sequel, as it were. "In Hollywood there is an iron rule for a film series - each new part has to be bigger. One Man Band 2 is a much quieter and more lyrical piece in a way, though. At the same time it explores new dimensions of multi-tasking or virtuosity, that is, the pianist takes on a mouth organ, a toy piano, as well as a foot pedal with wood block attached."

5. Slamet Abdul Sjukur (Indonesia) - The Source (where the sound returns)

In his typically Zen manner Slamet Sjukur explains his piece simply as, "Everything is music and it is everywhere. It concerns our ability to perceive it or not. In this piece, I try my best to be as close as possible with the material."

6. Teh Tze Siew (Malaysia) - The East

The word East has several connotations, it can mean this direction of sunrise, and it can refer to an oriental sound. This is a piece that can be simultaneously interpreted as the sunshine that lights the bushes and stirs the singing bird or as an oriental sound which the composer once heard.

7. Jonas Baes (Philippines) - PATANGIS-BUWAYA (...and the crocodile weeps....)

In 2002 and 2003, groups of disparate indigenous peoples in the Philippines left behind their ancestral domain in the mountains to escape escalating military operations. The Iraya-Mangyan were among those indigenous minorities who had to suffer the trauma of militarisation, and face a future away full of insecurity, away from their land and traditional way of life.

Composed in 2003 while on fieldwork among those internal refugees, PATANGIS-BUWAYA represents a symbolic covenant with the Iraya-Mangyan with whom I have been engaged with since my research on their music and culture in the 1980s. PATANGIS-BUWAYA means music that could make even the crocodiles weep. It represents the affective culture surrounding traditional Iraya-Mangyan bamboo flute music. The term is said to have emerged when the legendary hunter Alitawu, in hearing the rape and subsequent death of his wife, summons his dog with a flute call so anguished, it brings even the crocodiles to tears.

The work is a timely expression of my advocacy for the present plight of the Iraya-Mangyan people. Written for four wind instruments from any culture, renditions of this work have presented several protean versions in Japan, Indonesia, Hungary, Vietnam, Australia and Malaysia which, in every case, the instrumentation and sound varied according to where the performance is taking place. Tonight's version will feature the Chinese dizi, an oboe and a clarinet; the sounds of which will be magnified by 100 bamboo bird whistles to be played by the audience.

Sat 28 Nov 2009 HKNME & friends present
REMIXED: CITY AFTER DARK
The alternative avant garde
Performed by the Hong Kong New Music Ensemble
Guests: Jerome Kugan, Otto Sidharta (laptop), Leow Pei Yu (percussion), EMACM (Ng Chor Guan, laptop, Yong Yandsen, bass clarinet, Tham Kar Mun, clarinet and Kok Siew Wai, voice), Wong Eng Leong, Wong Min Lik, Lim Keh Soon & Tey Beng Tze (various)

As night descends on the city a transformation takes place. We see things in different light, familiar shapes take on new forms, sometimes playful, sometimes menacing. Night distorts reality, or does It reveal it? Find out as the Annexe resonates with an assemblage of electroacoustic works unlike any other that puts a twist in classical music performance. Prepared to be challenged! Leave your batik and dinner jacket at home, and bring your dancing shoes instead.

Programme Notes:

Music is the common language that connects cities and communities. For the first time the many musical languages of our region will be heard at one sitting, and we can at last enjoy their collective harmonies and discords, and explore the diversity and commonality that makes us South East Asian. Guest composer Moritz Eggert lends a German perspective to this concert, in ways that you would never imagine!

Programme

1. Jiradej Setabundhu (Thailand) - Fire for bass clarinet and computer (2007)
2. Jerome Kugan (Malaysia) - Kat & A Shadow for CD playback with poems and illustrations (2009) *
3. Ng Chor Guan (Malaysia) - Polygon for clarinet, bass clarinet, voice and laptop (2009) * (performed by EMACM)
4. Hoh Chung Shih (Singapore) - Frissons for viola and live electronics (2009) *
5. Chong Keat Aun (Ji-An) & Neuyabe (Malaysia) - «thgilnooM akkaH» for CD playback, video & performance art (2009)
6. Goh Lee Kwang (Malaysia) - God Of Small Things for 4 musicians (2009) * (Performed by: Wong Eng Leong, Wong Min Lik, Lim Keh Soon & Tey Beng Tze)
7. Otto Sidharta (Indonesia) - 6ta for laptop (2009) *
8. Boonrut Sirirattanapan (Thailand) - La 3 Rua Reverses for oboe, cello and tape (2009) *
9. Samson Young (Hong Kong) - Ageha. Tokyo for amplified violin, electronics and video
10. Javier Alvarez (Mexico) - Temazcal for Maracas and tape (Leow Pei Yu, percussion)
11. Jiradej Setabundhu (Thailand) - Dancing Queen for audio visual algorithmic composition (2009)

* World premiere

1. Dr Jiradej Setabundhu (Thailand) - Fire

Fire was commissioned by the Nation Multimedia Group for the Concert for the Green Global Village, the concept of which was the four elements water, earth, wind and fire. The piece is based on a sound synthesis concept called granular synthesis, where sound is spliced into many small grains, which in turn are recombined in various ways to create clouds of new timbre, different from, and yet related to the original sound.

In this piece recorded sounds of the performer are spliced into small bits. These grains are controlled in real-time by the algorithm coded in Actionscript and has a general tendency of moving from the first stage to the last (the tenth). This tendency however is offset by a controlled probability that at times reverses the direction. The score, a translation into graphic symbols of selected passages from Mark Z Danielewski's experimental novel House of Leaves, is likewise controlled in real-time by the script and is dependent on which grains are selected. A performer can either resist or support the progression of the piece by tapping various keys on a computer keyboard, an analogy to adding combustibles or water to the fire.

2. Jerome Kugan (Malaysia) - Kat & A Shadow

Jerome Kugan performs two of his MIDI compositions from an unreleased recording entitled Summer Diary, written between 2004 and 2007, and gives it new life using multimedia.

3. Ng Chor Guan (Malaysia) - Polygon


Dots maybe be small,
And easy to draw,
To naked eyes they are fine,
Connected dots become a line.

Lines can be found anywhere,
Some as thin as hair,
Join them up on each end,
Be sure not to intersect them.

The length can be different or same,
Leave no open plane,
The result is no longer a dot,
The new name is called polygon!
(Text by Ian Ding)

4. Dr Hoh Chung shih (Singapore) - Frisson II

shiver; friction; shudder; thrill...

The work is a musical landscape in 2 parts - LEFT up and DOWN right - for one (or more players) to explore, a game consisting of 2 grids of musical modules, each independent, yet sequenced in time. Each performance is a joint creation by the performers as they wander through the imaginary musical spaces that I have set up. I explore the acoustic nature of the violin through the distorted lens of DSP environment created by Max, MSP.

5. Goh Lee Kwang (Malaysia) - God Of Small Things

Goh takes small and simple sounds from daily life's objects and brings them into attention.

6. Otto Sidharta (Indonesia) - 6ta

An unexplainable explanation:

This piece is composed specially for the KLCMF 09. It uses important elements of the city as materials, but those elements are not easily recognised because of their transformation and manipulation. Like water on the river, flowing but not finding or remembering the way to come back.

7. Boonrut Sirirattanapan (Thailand) - La 3 Rua Reversed

This piece is based on a Thai traditional song called Rua, which literally means Roll. This song is normally played 3 times and Thai musicians refer to it as Rua Sam La which means Roll 3 times as a farewell. What I've done with that song was to reverse and distort its melody by using oboe and cello runs in competition with each other until they reach a core note of the traditional Rua melody. By that arrival point, the processed audio of my version of Thai Rua in Thai tuning will be triggered and mixed with the acoustic sound. It will return like this 3 times with different colours and intensities.

8. Samson Young (Hong Kong) - Ageha. Tokyo

Ageha is Japanese for 'swallowtail butterfly.' It is also the name of one of the largest nightclubs in Tokyo city. Ageha.Tokyo was completed in March 2007 for violinist Olivia De Prato. The violin strings are de-tuned to E, B4, B4 quartertone sharp, and B3. I like to feed text through the Google Translate machine, I find the mistakes and inaccuracies to be intensely poetic:

Slow Vomit (In Tokyo)
it is the end of the bed
between them
the small animal
feeds tender red smelling musk
babies
it is a piece of their body
embracing the light
arts and navel
to the boundary line
in a safe area they can call slow vomit
as suction
deep memories
and suction

- Original Chinese poem by Ron Lam, translated by Google Translate machine, edited by Samson Young

9. Javier Alvarez (Mexico) - Temazcal

The title of this work stems from the Nahuatl (ancient Aztec) word literally meaning water that burns. The maracas material throughout Temazcal is drawn from traditional rhythmic patterns found in most Latin-American music, namely those from the Caribbean region.

Commonly used as a rhythmic instrument, in the Venezuelan flatlands the maracas takes on the role of a solo instrument in its own right. It was from this instance that I imagined a piece where the player would have to master short patterns and combine them with great virtuosity to construct larger and complex rhythmic structures, which could then be juxtaposed, superimposed and set against similar passages on tape, thus creating a dense polyrhythmic web. This would eventually disintegrate clearing the way for a traditional accompanimental style of playing.

The sound sources on tape include harp, a folk guitar and double bass pizzicati for the tape's attacks, the transformation of bamboo rods being struck together for the rhythmic passages and rattling sounds created with the maracas themselves for other gestures.

10. Dr Jiradej Setabundhu (Thailand) - Dancing Queen

Setabhundhu, with his typically wry sense of humour, explains, "I think the title says it all. You'll see the Dancing Queen all right like in ABBA's song. She can dance, she can jive, and she's having the time of her life. Although it's not Friday night, still the lights are low. With a bit of rock music (well, there's a guitar), everything is fine. Dancing Queen is feeling the beat, alas, not from the tambourine, but from a strange algorithm, leading her from one dance to the next. She may not be as young, sweet, or even seventeen as portrayed in the song, but you will agree that she can dance…."

Well, you can dance, if you want to. Anything's possible at the Central Market Annexe - after all, in our City After Dark, stranger things have been known to happen.

Sun 29 Nov 2009 Building the Future
The new generation takes on the city
Performed by Ensemble Mosaik

Programme Notes:

The young are our only hope. In the first-ever regional Young Composers Competition nine outstanding representatives of a pool of budding talent pitch their skills and scales against one another under the guiding hand of a panel of regional adjudicators. Listen to their response to the theme cityscapes and find out how they stack up against the jury's expert hand.

Programme

Young Composers Competition Presentation:

1. Kittiphan Janbuala (Thailand) - Motion in Statis for flute, viola and percussion
2. Juro Kim O Feliz (Philippines) - Sa Kanyang Paglingon (In Her Glances) for flute, bass clarinet, violin, cello, piano and percussion
3. Lee Chie Tsang (Malaysia) - Autumn's heart.Maple.Fragrance for flute, clarinet, violin, viola, cello and percussion
4. Thatchatham Silsupan (Thailand) - Because We Are Together for flute, violin and piano
5. Chow Jun Yi (Malaysia) - A Night Without Voices for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano & percussion
6. Zurazak Ut-Sa (Thailand) - Urban Silhouettes for violin, viola, cello and piano
7. how Jun Yan (Malaysia) - When Stillness Meets Motion for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano & percussion
8. Tan Tuan Hao (Singapore) - And The Sleeping City Dreams… for flute, clarinet, viola, cello and percussion
9. Neo Nai Wen (Malaysia) ) - The Forgotten Sound for flute, clarinet, violin, viola, cello and percussion

Intermission

Jury Showcase:

10. Johan Otman (Malaysia) - Neutral Space for piano solo
11. Dieter Mack (Germany) - Trio IV for flute, percussion, piano *
12. Anothai Nitibhon (Thailand) - Mut(e)ual Dialogue for clarinet, cello and piano
13. Moritz Eggert (Germany) - Interior at Petworth - 8 variations on a picture by William Turner (2005) for flute (picc), clarinet (bass clt.), percussion, piano, violin, viola, and cello *

All world premieres except *

Young Composers Competition Presentation:
Category A (Malaysia)

1 Chow Jun Yan: When Stillness Meets Motion

I have conceptualised this piece by drawing an imaginary frame around a city, and in that frame there are static elements such as a tree or a building, and there are also subjects in motion such as animals, cars, people and so on.

All the subjects are carrying out their own tasks, sometimes working individually, sometimes in interaction with others. Therefore in this piece, overlapping motives and unique sounds present themselves in various permutations.

2 Chow Jun Yi: A Night Without Voices
Have you ever talked to yourself?

This work represents city dweller whose outer appearance looks happy and content, but his inner self suffers from the pressures of life in the city.

The piece begins with a Music Box theme that represents sweet memories, along with a Darkness theme. The Darkness theme initially covers the Music Box theme, just like how a person cannot escape from his outer tensions. In the middle section time freezes as the person stops himself from the daily pressures and attempts to escape from reality into his world of sweet memories. However, time never stops. In the final part, the two themes exist alongside each other as the person realises that although he cannot stop time, he can hold on to his memories, however brief.

3 Lee Chie Tsang, Isaiah: Autumn's Heart.Maple.Fragrance


The city I come from doesn't just contain sounds of its inhabitants. It is itself a city of voices. ?o?o? carries with it a glimpse of these voices. It presents an image of a city whose spirit accepts not only one, but many; who smiles at a thousand scents whose sweetness cannot be named, carried through the wind as they glide around falling maple leaves.

It asks its listener to abandon the authority of singular descriptions, and allows that which is of variety to be heard. Their sounds are that of differences, of mixtures, of light at the same time dark, of delight at the same time sorrow, of colours visible and invisible, and of feelings that cannot be grasped.

4 Neo Nai Wen: The Forgotten Sound

If a city had a voice, It would be the voice of expectation or of hope. In this work, I try to create an extremely chaotic atmosphere at the beginning of the piece, because when we listen to noise, we always expect or hope for silence or calmness in its wake.

Therefore my conclusion is modelled like a Buddhist chant; this is the voice of the city that is in my imagination. It is in essence the sound that has long been absent from our city life. My music attempts to create, contrast and find balance between chaos and peace, and to explore elements of Buddhism in music.

Category B (South East Asia)

1 Juro Kim O Feliz: Sa Kanyang Paglingon (In Her Glances)
...sa kawalan na nasisilayan sa kaligiran (...to the abyss as seen beyond the horizon)

Saan pa ba hahanapin
Kundi sa sariling panaginip
Lupain na abot-tanaw ang kawalan

( Where else does one find
Except in one's own dreams
A place where nothing exists beyond the horizon)

2 Kittiphan Janbuala: Motion In Stasis

The inspiration for this piece comes from environmental pollution such as a noise, expressed in timbre changes and musical expressions. The work consists of simple materials such rolls, trills, increasing lines, decreasing lines, rhythmic repetitions and tiny Thai melody within that.

3 Thatchatham Silsupan: Because We Are Together

As someone who has been growing up in different landscapes, both suburban and urban, I am always impressed by the sound structure of the environment that surrounds me. It prompts me to think about the beauty of emancipation in the sound itself.

The sound can be broadly ranked from dense noise to one pure beautiful sound, which also changes with our perception at the moment of listening. What I found quite interesting is that we actually contribute our own sound to this sonic environment. So that we are not only listening to it but am also sharing and contributing to it. So when thinking about this piece I am also speaking my voice into that environment surrounding me, 'because we are together'.

4 Tan Tuan Hao: And The Sleeping City Dreams...

Perhaps a city is a living thing. Each city has its own personality, after all ...
So, if a city has a personality, maybe it also has a soul. Maybe it dreams.
- The Sandman, by Neil Gaiman

By day, Southeast Asian metropolises are icons of dynamism and change, seen for example by the continually changing skylines of all our major cities. This piece, however, focuses on the dreams and nocturnal musings of its people; dreams in which the ancient voices of convention and tradition speak as loudly as those of progress and modernity. Against the gradually fading backdrop of Western colonialism or influence, these voices converse and discuss, agree and disagree, and even temper each other's manifestation in the everyday lives of any city's citizens.

5 Zurazak Ut-Sa: Urban Silhouettes

This work is a reflection of Bangkok, the city that never sleeps. The city dwellers' lives, like automatons, are in constant restless loop. The music consists of two parts. The first is a portrait of the city, the bustling activity and chaos of passers-by, its various cultures and languages, created in music using numerical additives of 1,2,3 and so on. In addition the word BANGKOK is decoded into primary numbers and mapped to sets of notes (0,1,2,5,6,7) and (0,1,2) and they form composite elements.

The second part represents the silhouettes of the city in the form of abstract and impressionistic processes of minimalism. This part of the soundscape reflects the atmosphere of a city at dusk, with echoes of loops from the first part swirling around the city's melody till the end.

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10. Johan Otman (Malaysia) - Neutral Space

There are parts of the city where a space does not have any particular identity. It is generally neutral in terms of its look as part of a city. It does not give away any hint of belonging to a specific country, culture or functional identity within a city. These spaces can be identified as part of a city and yet have the possibility of belonging to another. These spaces also contain signs that do not spell out specificity in relation to other spaces nearby or in other parts of a city.

In this piece I am exploring the concept of neutrality of spaces. The idea of movement is also being neutralised by an attempt at placing the piece within the state of stasis within movement and movement within stasis. Generally to spell out the idea of a soundscape that behaves similar to a neutral space.

11. Dr Anothai Nitibhon (Thailand) - Mut(e)ual Dialogue

From where Winston stood it was just possible to read, picked out on its white face in elegant lettering, the three slogans of the Party:

WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
- 1984,George Orwell

Inspired by the her recent curatorial works relating to the sounds of urban Thailand, Anothai sets out to explore the frequently unheard entity of urban environment, namely 'People,' and the sounds that can reflect Bangkok's urban mentality.

She derives her musical materials from the computer analysis of three sounds: 1) the word brothers shouted during the street protests, 2) the sound of the Instant Messenger signal, and 3) the Thai word khaa, meaning the servant of the lord.

In the first part of the work War is Peace, the music starts with the memory of the Red, Yellow protests in Thailand, reflecting the situation in which people are bombarded by political conflicts that ultimately leave them with nothing but poorer and defenseless. The second part Freedom is Slavery depicts the life of city dwellers who subserviently surrender to the magical influence of technology, using it to communicate but yet creating no dialogue. The final part Ignorance is Strength reflects the most common symptom of the city's mentality, where ignorance becomes the tool for human survival, a shield against the wicked reality of society.


12. Moritz Eggert (Germany) - Interior at Petworth: 8 variations on a picture by William Turner


"I did not paint it to be understood, but I wished to show what such a scene was like." - J.M.W. Turner

Interior at Petworth is the most mysterious of painter Turner's late works and one that has puzzled generations of art scholars. The puzzle begins with the fact that no one really knows for sure what is being represented in the painting.

Far more than the picture itself, the idea of such a painting has always fascinated me. It is a space completely free of boundaries, a more or less associative collection of apparently recognisable objects which, even in their arrangement, break out of the corset of the recognisable. "I did not paint it to be understood," a famous statement of Turner's, is fulfilled here to a greater extent than in any of his other works. Its intention as a kind of farewell to something that was once full of meaning is painfully clear.

In certain way, my 8 Variations on a Picture of J.M.W. Turner are an expression of my increasing discontent with what increasingly comes across as a self-reproductive, self-referential "genre" in "new music." It is an expression of my boredom with pieces the beginnings of which already evoke a definite ending, a clearly defined "style," a definite course, along with a frequent lack of vitality, feeling of freedom and genuine surprise. At the same time, my work represents distrust towards a task of any significance in favour of an utter indeterminacy, perhaps in the sense of Cage, since a removal of boundaries is of course only possible within recognisable limitations. It is not for nothing that the "Interior" at Petworth is indeed an interior turning up towards the outside, as it were.

Interior at Petworth is not an intentionally puzzling piece; everything is in fact presented nakedly and openly, but it renounces any form of pre-drilled meaning. They are variations, but no theme. The piece constantly breaks the rules that prescribe a "proper" composition, but not for the sake of a joke or an "action" or performance - more in the sense of fathoming the boundaries of meaning itself. A quoted biography of a contemporary composer (completely interchangeable in its wording), fragments from piece-texts of diverse composers, quoted catalogues of instrumental effects, instructions in the score which are invisible to the listener and puzzling for the interpreter - these are not used in the sense of a persiflage, but stand for symbolic "husks" of something that, in this form, should perhaps be finally overcome in the traditional designation "new music." A farewell, therefore, founded upon a certain sadness, but behind the open coffin light breaks out and the removal of boundaries is not an end but a new departure.

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Malaysian premieres since 1995

Here is a roundup of premieres of Malaysian works at home and abroad. Since the mid-90s Malaysian works have been performed largely abroad, ...

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