Microcosmos (小宇宙) : for a Percussionist (2010)

commissioned and premiered by Shih-San Wu 吳思珊, Jun. 2010, Taipei, Taiwan

Program Note:

This musical piece is inspired by Microcosmos: 100 Modern Haiku, a book of poetry by Chen Li (a contemporary poet in Taiwan). Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry, consisting of 17 syllables, in three phrases of 5, 7, and 5 syllables respectively. However, Chen Li adds contemporary interest to the traditional poetic form, attempting to explore new possibilities for modern poetry. In these three-line short poems, the poet conveys an abundance of ideas and stimulates readers’ imagination with refined and concise language. Within the restricted form, every modern haiku in the book is very much like a microcosm rich in tremendous energy.

In this piece, the composer borrows the concept of Microcosmos mentioned above. In musical material, the two elements of “motion” and “motionlessness” dominate the whole piece; in instrumentation, only the timpani and the Zheng (a Chinese plucked zither) are employed. The composer attempts, by using simple and limited material, to explore multi-acoustic effects, exploit new possibilities of music, and create a simple but substantial musical microcosm.

The composer selects three short poems from Chen Li’s Microcosmos as the original concepts of the three sections of this musical piece. She transforms the energy she has felt while reading the poems into material to develop musical motives. The three sections are developed by using two materials in contrast to each other, which can be viewed as a process of the inter-transition and the rise and fall of accumulating musical energy and intensity.

The three haiku are not necessarily or absolutely related to this musical piece, though the inspiration originates from them. The purpose of listing the three poems is to provide the performer and the audience with greater room for imagination and association.

1
A swift and downward glissando:
someone puts a ladder
against my childhood window.

2
I wait and long for you:
a turning die in the empty bowl of night
attempting to create the 7th side.

3
Silent soybean milk: day after day
from my bowl to my body flows
the blank music.


本曲創作理念來自詩人陳黎的《小宇宙:現代俳句100首》。俳句源自日本,是三行的短詩體,陳黎以日本俳句為原型,為它加上當代的趣味,試圖賦予現代詩新的可能性。在這些二、三十字的三行短詩裡,詩人以精鍊簡潔的文字,傳達豐富的意念,激發讀者的想像。雖然置身狹小有限的文字載體中,每首現代俳句宛若一個蘊含極大能量的小宇宙。

在此曲中,我借用「小宇宙」的概念,在音樂素材上,以「動」、「靜」兩種元素貫穿全曲,在配器上,也只選用定音鼓與古箏兩種樂器作為主要的樂器,試圖運用單純、有限的素材,探索多元的聲響效果,開發音樂的可能性,創造出簡單卻豐富的音樂小宇宙。

我選用《小宇宙》中的三首短詩作為本曲三個段落的原始概念,將作曲者在閱讀詩作時所感受到的「流動」與「靜止」的能量,轉化為音樂的動機素材。曲中三段皆運用兩種具對比性的主要素材加以發展,可視為音樂能量與張力逐漸累積並相互轉移、消長的過程。這三首俳句雖是樂念的發想,但音樂本身與文字並不存在絕對必然的對應性,其目的在於提供演奏者與聽者更多的聯想空間。

1

快速而下行的滑奏:

有人在我童年的窗口

放了一把梯子。

2

我等候,我渴望你:

一粒骰子在夜的空碗裡

企圖轉出第七面。

3

靜默的豆漿:日復一日,

從我的碗流到我的體內的

空白的音樂。

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