Virtual Piano Concerto is my electro-acoustic composition finished in 2008. In cubist artworks, objects are broken up, analyzed, and re-assembled in an abstracted form. In the first movement, I recorded different prepared piano sounds and manipulated the sounds digitally on the computer. Later I use these new piano sounds with a virtuoso piano music writing to create a piano concerto-like form. The different piano textures depict the piano from a multitude of viewpoints to represent the piano in a greater context. The result also creates an illusion of a new sounding piano.
In the second movement, 3 live effect processors are used to shape the solo piano. The stereo echo creates a continuous melody with several layers of harmonies and counterpoints. The effects not only create the richness and texture which can’t be founded on a regular piano, but also create a sense of space and modernism.
I Movement: Master Cubist (demo) [8’10”] (* Except few synthesizer sounds, every sound was originally created on a piano.)
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!
Three Pieces for Solo Clarinet is part of the series works for solo instruments under the name Virtuosity. These works explore the possibilities of each instrument to the fullest, often calling for extended techniques, mixing different personalities and styles. The first movement is fast 12-tone music with strong syncopations and an improvisational feel. The 2nd movement is a simple slow movement which reflects a notion that the most natural thing for the instrument is to imitate the human voice. It also reveals Chang’s less-is-more Eastern philosophy. The last movement uses every kind of extended technique imaginable to produce a wide range of colors and textures. The music evokes polyphony in its architecture and impact. The great complexity and intricacy are challenging to performer, but it still remains natural to the instrument.
I Movement: Improviser
II Movement: Song for the Fading Memory of the Old Days