My recent composition “Down the Rabbit Hole” for String Orchestra was recently selected by conductor Tania Miller and VS composer in Residence Michael Oesterle to be read by the Victoria Symphony on March 16th, 2pm, Alix Goolden Performance Hall in Victoria BC. This free event will feature 6 new compositions from emerging BC composers, and it will showcase the Victoria Symphony led by Tania Miller rehearsing and recording the 6 pieces.
“Down the Rabbit Hole” is a short 6 minute composition for string orchestra. Here is a short description that I wrote to accompany the piece:
Down the Rabbit Hole (2013) is not in any way connected programmatically to the popular novel “Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll. The piece is in a loose ternary form, opening with a fast and exuberant dance for the strings in 5/8 and 7/8. This is followed by a slow but elegant theme and variations section on a melody with vague oriental overtones.
The title captures the movement and energy of the opening section, as one can imagine falling into the earth as the tremolo figures of the strings whirl around and around. It is also symbolic however of a voyage to find ones identity, as the protagonist in “Alice in Wonderland” also does through the falling into the hole. As a composer of Asian heritage, I have never directly explored the music of my background in my pieces. ‘Down the Rabbit Hole” is in no way an authentic representation of music from Asia, but is the first in I hope many attempts to find a balance between the music of my culture and my artistic voice. The middle section is written in a quasi Asian style, similar to Rimsky Korsakov’s Sheherazade and Gustav Holst’s Japanese Suite. At times, it is strangely dissonant with references to the American-Chinese composer Bright Sheng, and I use pizzicato and glissando to capture the expressive playing techniques in Asian music. This imaginary world is snatched away abruptly as the music transitions back into the dance like recapitulation.