A Journey into Desiresolo guitar (2009)
|Commission||South Bay Guitar Society, made possible in part by a grant from Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s Donor Circle of the Arts|
|Premiere||November 18, 2009; San Jose State University; Steve Lin, guitar|
The composition was written in response to the request by guitarist Steve Lin who asked me to compose a piece inspired by Honglou meng (Dream of the Red Chamber)written bythe 18th century Chinese author Cao Xueqin. In order to create a musical parallel to the story on a limited scale, I chose one thread in the story, and used core pitches to represent the protagonist Boyu and his journey down to the human realm where he encounters the twelve female beauties of Jinling, represented by twelve chords. Interpreted from a Buddhist perspective, Boyu is to discover that the human realm is ultimately an illusory world. His journey into desire becomes a means to transcend desire.
The structure of the piece follows a cyclical narrative that builds on infinite variations of the basic material – a strategy commonly used in Chinese traditional instrumental music. It is as if the music unfolds endlessly, without a focal point or a climax. It depicts the transitory moods and an overall atmosphere.