for six saxophones(1996)
|Commission||Commissioned by Shyen Lee|
|Premiere||March 20, 1996; Brown Hall, Boston, MA; New England Conservatory Saxophone Ensemble|
I have composed a series of pieces entitled Gardens as a tribute to the Ming Dynasty Yuen Yeh, the earliest and the most exquisite Chinese horticultural treatise. Gardens, in this discourse, are not treated as a confined enclosure, but as an extended environment. A Chinese garden is a visual world as well as a world of other senses. Passing clouds, remote mountains, sound of ancient temple bells, transience of seasons...all are part of the extended space. When we recite a poem or play the seven-stringed zither, our spirits immerse into the garden as we remain reflective observers.
These pieces are musical gardens. To perform one of them is to walk through a garden of sounds.
Garden Six consists of six parts of music, titled “Tian,” “Di,” “Dong,” “Nan,” “Hsi,” “Bei,” that is, heaven, earth, east, south, west, and north. There are six written pitches (transposed), six relative duration, and six modes of production. It is dedicated to a friend whom the composer had seen six times before composing this work. The six parts can be performed separately by a solo piano, as in its companion piece Garden Eight.