flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, piano, 2 percussions, violin, viola, cello and double bass

Commission: Festival MNM — Société Radio-Canada (SRC), Festival Présences — Radio France

These “scenes from an imaginary opera” (an imagined ghost opera) reveal my long-standing pre-occupation with an integration of Eastern and Western approaches in my music. Much of my music develops from the philosophy of (extreme) contrast and balance rooted in the principles of Yin and Yang. More specifically, one finds the influences of Japanese instruments such as the hichiriki (a small double reed instrument), the shakuhachi (a vertical bamboo flute), and the sho (a multiple-piped double reed instrument), which inspire the use of such devices as bending tones, control of vibrato, and dense chord clusters.

The «Prologue» reveals many of the compositional elements which are revisited in the following movements. «By The River» alludes to an imagined dramatic event, moving to a turning point near the end – a heightened emotion after a quiet and mysterious central section. The harmonies slowly but inexorably move to a quiet unison note. «Frozen Rain» is a compact movement which explores the most ephemeral of sounds. «Pursuing The Dragon», a “break-out” movement, is a flash of virtuosic intensity heading toward a finale comprised of a flurry of Chinese opera gongs.

Alexina Louie