This solo cello piece’s each movement reflects some of my moods, such as fury, imagination, meditation…etc. The first movement is very lyrical and poetic. A guitar slide is used in 2nd movement to create a voice-like quality. The 3rd movement is a fast rhythmic writing. It has many syncopations and sonority changes. Though it is somewhat atonal, it’s still very melodic.
The last movement contains many uncommon cello techniques that I invented. The sound modulation idea is more or less derived from synthesizer technique. There are some very simple and very complex textures. The movement mainly focuses on the most basic music element, “sounds”. Unlike the first 2 movements, it sounds very modern but many ideas are influenced by nature and Chinese art, such as Chinese calligraphy and painting. However, when I was writing the piece, I didn’t really think about it much. Everything actually came out very naturally. This piece could be performed with different combinations of movements. Of course the 4 movements’ arch-like form works best, especially since each movement is more away from tonality, it not only creates a sense of direction but also increases tension.
I was very lucky to work the cellist, Jan Muller-Szeraws. In my humble opinion he is one of the best cellists in Boston. Because it’s a very difficult, different, virtuoso cello piece, it took us a long time to work on many performance issues. In order to capture the sonic details of the music, I visited many studios and concert halls around Boston. In May 2009, we spent 3 nights to record it in the Chapel of Phillips Academy in Andover, MA. Finally the recordings came out very well!
- I Movement: Flying [YouTube , 8’14”]
- II Movement: Lament [MP3, 4’24”]
- III Movement: Fury [YouTube , 3’50”]
- IV Movement: Illusions [MP3, * excerpt, 7’42”] ； Illusions Video [YouTube , 11’34”]
First Movement “Flying” (720p video)
2nd Movement: Lament [MP3, 4’24”]
* Sorry, there is no video for the second movement. Only audio!
3rd Movement “Fury” (720p video)
4th Movement “ILLUSIONS” (1080p video)