for eighteen solo strings(2009)
|Commission||Commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, Alan Gilbert, Music Director|
|Premiere||December 17th, 2009, New York Philharmonic, Magnus Lindberg (conductor), Symphony Space, New York City|
|Rental||Performance materials are available for order:|
This piece was composed on the verge of an exciting moment in my life: the birth of our son Albert Shin Liang. Albert’s musical name – A, B (Bb), E, D (re) – asserts itself in different configurations and disguises as basic harmonic and melodic material. His heartbeat also makes an appearance in the form of changing tempi and pulsations. In a sense, I composed the piece in order to make a musical amulet for Albert.
On a technical level, I was fascinated by the dialectical relationship between the convergence and divergence of musical voices found in the traditional heterophonic music of Mongolia. There, the functionality of a principal line and its accompaniment can interchange, and often not synchronously.
The 18 strings are divided into antiphonal groups: left versus right, front versus rear. They diverge into various sub-ensembles, quartets, and also appear as 18 virtuosic soloists. Near the end, they converge into a singular voice.
Verge was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic and its Music Director, Alan Gilbert. It was premiered on December 17th, 2009 in Symphony Space at the inaugural concert of the Philharmonic’s new music series CONTACT!, conducted by Magnus Lindberg.
– Lei Liang