Together as One We Breathe一息, 2020
for Erhu, Dizi, Sheng, Pipa and Zheng
Chinese landscape paintings and the concepts behind, such as “presence-absence”, “understanding-articulating”, ‘form-spirit”, inspire me to rethink composing for Chinese instruments. Intense discussions in seemingly binary opposing concepts in Chinese landscape paintings, same as “tradition” and “innovation” in Chinese music, are never resting. For me, the definition of “tradition” and “innovation” are always changing. Composers’ incentives are always changing. Therefore, the definition of music is also subject to change. Once we never stop insisting on creating works, both “tradition” and “innovation” will persist and keep on changing in our history.
Together as One We Breathe preserves sublimes in Chinese music, which are presented in a particular manner. Musicians sometimes improvise as solo or accompaniment, and sometimes follow the score strictly in tutti. These sections flow restlessly throughout the piece. How musicians as individuals insist on sustaining and developing the music motif, as a metaphor for “breathing together as one”, is the only abiding idea that lingers. There are ideas can’t be told and articulated explicitly, perhaps what being untold could only be experienced by standing companions.