Cave Railroad

Cave Railroad (2011)
for Solo Alto Saxophone

Commissioned by Po-Fang Chang

World Premiere:
March 29, 2012
Po-Fang Chang MM Degree Recital
Bryan Recital Hall, College of Musical Arts, Bowling Green State University, OH
Po-Fang Chang, alto saxophone

Duration: 9 minutes

Program Notes

Cave Railroad for Solo Alto Saxophone is commissioned by saxophonist Po-Fang Chang for his Master of Music degree recital and the performance of the North American Saxophone Alliance 2012 Biennial Conference.  When accepting the commission, I recalled a Taiwanese folk song, Diu Diu Dong, which describes the moment when an old train is rushing through a tunnel.  However, I only use the beginning of this folk song as a motif of this piece.  Containing two neighbor tones (upper and lower) around the main note, the motif is very simple so that it can be easily varied in many ways while functioning as the main strand to unify the whole piece.

Cave Railroad is a single-movement piece with two contrasting sections (slow-fast).  Although I borrowed very little from the original folk song, it nevertheless inspired me to compose this piece about trains.  This music of mine begins with lyrical and sentimental melodies, and they are associated with the image of an old train.  The slow and flowing tune also indicates something vague and obscure, for example, the moment when the train rushes into the dark of the tunnel.  Followed by the fast section, the music sounds mechanical yet is full of momentum.  The interval, perfect fourth or perfect fifth, portrays the sound of the moving old train, and the multiphonics symbolize the whistle of the steam train.  This piece of music depicts how the past can be transferred to the current time, just like a train running through the dark to embrace the brightness of the daylight, and it becomes more and more energetic toward the end.

This is the world premiere recording.

接受了薩克斯風家張柏方的委託,我譜寫了這首為中音薩克斯風獨奏的《山隧鐵道》提供在他的音樂碩士畢業獨奏會跟2012年北美薩克斯風聯盟研討會中演出。譜寫這首委託創作之初,我想到了一首描寫火車穿越山洞的台灣民謠《丟丟銅仔》,不過我只用了這首民謠的開頭幾個音當作動機。這首民謠開頭就是兩個鄰音(上跟下)圍繞著主音,所以這個簡單的動機可以有多樣性的變化,而且成為音樂的支柱來統一整個曲子。

《山隧鐵道》是一個有兩個對比樂段(慢板到快板)的單樂章作品。雖然我只使用了《丟丟銅仔》的一開頭幾個音,但是譜寫一首描寫火車的曲子,這個台灣民謠無疑還是我的靈感來源。曲初的抒情時而多愁傷感的旋律就像是舊時的火車映象,緩慢而流動的曲調也意指著一些晦暗不明的東西,就像是火車進入黑暗的山洞一樣。接著是對比的快板樂段,音樂變成很機械化,而且充滿著能量。完全四度或五度的音程有如舊時火車行進時的聲音,薩克斯風的複音聲響則象徵著蒸汽火車鳴笛的聲音。這首曲子描寫著從過往的時期行進到現今的世代,火車從黑暗的山洞中穿越出來擁抱著明亮的陽光,音樂變成愈來愈有驅動力奔馳到最後。

– Feng-Hsu Lee (October 22, 2011 West Hartford, CT)

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