for clarinet, bass clarinet, erhu and pipa
commissioned by Birds and Phoenix
I composed this piece imagining myself in a garden of images, sonorities and aromas that all merge in an idyllic moment in time. I have taken a line from one of T.S.Eliot’s poems in the Four Quartets, for my title, Other Echoes Inhabit the Garden. The poem, Burnt Norton, concludes with the poignant truth that “human kind cannot bear very much reality.” I often wonder whether my work as a composer really has any significance or meaning beyond helping my listeners temporarily escape their personal realities. In recalling Eliot’s line, “What might have been and what has been/ point to one end, which is always present” I am reminded that a melody, a single line of lyric pitch flow evokes memory in the mind of the listener and that rhythm and accent often draws our attention to the future. So, with these inherent powers
of music in mind, it was my goal to create a vibrant and engaging music that relentlessly draws the listener into the present. Eliot also alludes to a timeless merging of present and past in this poem. His line, “then a cloud passed and the pool was empty” brought back memories of being a child watching clouds almost unnoticeably move across the sky. I was similarly inspired to conclude Other Echoes Inhabit the Garden with music that evokes an ecstatic stillness tempered with a longing for the past.
premiere was scheduled for April 11th, 2010:
Wentz Concert Hall at North Central College in Naperville, IL
Wang Guowei, erhu , Yang Wei, pipa
John Bruce Yeh and Teresa Reilly, clarinets.
Audio from the premiere
Other Echoes Inhabit the Garden
Excerpt from Score: