樂 絲 silk, 木 wood.

16. April 2015 6:30pm | Exploring the World VI | Ensemble Reconsil Wien | Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst | Haydn-Saal

Silk Wood


silk,

wood.

for violin, viola, cello, double bass, flute, piano & bass clarinet

In this piece I imagine a bamboo forest before me, even before the archer has plucked from the forest his long six foot bow. The bamboo sways; echoing in the expanse of the mountains I hear a treaty being signed, and the archer is still waiting for the most perfect arrow released to fall.

There is a strange recurring echo, as if this Buddhist sacred text has actually been read hundreds of years ago, accompanied by an ancient Guzheng, made of twisted silk and bamboo:

IV. 11,3. THE CARRYING OUT OF THE VOWS MADE IN THE PAST.  It is as with a powerful master of archery, well-trained. He would first shoot an arrow upwards and would then by a regular succession of other arrows prevent it from falling down on the ground. In fact, the first arrow would not fall down on the ground until that man would decide that it should do so. In order that the first arrow should fall unto the ground, he does not send up the last arrow, with the result that the whole succession of arrows falls unto the ground. In the same way a Bodhisattva, who courses in perfect wisdom and who is upheld by skill in means, does not realise that farthest Reality limit until his wholesome roots are matured in the supreme enlightenment.   Source: The Large Sutra on Perfect Wisdom  

The process for creating a piece with the theme of Hong Kong took me on a journey through many political, historical, sociological and spiritual research until I found myself face to face with a place, intricately weaved with its past, where the perfection of the archer’s bow, drawn from the bamboo forests in ancient China drew Buddhists into perfect wisdom; the vow to lease another’s land for one hundred years was a small event in its ancient shores; and the beautifully visual word, music, in the Chinese language is a simple formation of two Chinese characters, silk & wood, in reference to the Guzheng, a musical instrument of long gone times made of twisted silk and bamboo, the strings released, plucked to produce tones.

These ancient shores
can be named
and renamed,
but Winter will
never ask if her dear sister,
Summer
has a new name.