Percussion Keyboards Strings Winds Mixed Ensembles Electronic              

for solo vibraphone

Work no. 253


    This was the third vibraphone solo of 2023, and the second to be inspired by Chinese literature. The title refers to a poem by Su Dongpo (Su Shi), one of the most famous Chinese intellectuals from the Song dynasty period. It's a melancholic poem from a difficult time in Su Dongpo's life; the title can be translated as "Setting Off Early on the Huai River", and the poem itself reads roughly as:

    Thin crescent moon, slanted clouds, the sad sound of conches at dawn
    A soft wind blows, the water is bluish-green like the scales of a fish.
    My life is destined to end while traveling on rivers and lakes,
    For ten times already I have gone up and down the Huai River.

    The music is a sequence of several melodies, repeated several times, gradually submerged as if in river water: first in ornaments, then in fast runs, then in silence. At the end, out of the silences a new type of texture appears, like an undercurrent, or the muddy bottom of the river. By the end of the piece, nothing remains of the original melodies but single-note echoes and nervous fifths and tremolos, the metaphorical water level still rising.

    A simplified version of the same procedure was used in the next vibraphone solo, also inspired by Chinese poetry. An earlier piece, Freedom Street, uses the same logic, but realized using different means (and I would say with a more positive message).

    淮上早发 – PDF score

    Creative Commons License

    Except where otherwise noted, content on this website is licensed
    under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

    Artist Statement