The Sky Warrior

The Sky Warrior (2014)
for Orchestra

“The Sky Warrior” is the third movement of my Symphony No. 2 “Sky Trilogy”.

Award: The Honorable Mention and Audience’s Choice Award of National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra Composition Competition (2016)

Instrumentation:
Piccolo, 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, English Horn, 2 Clarinets (Bb), Bass Clarinet, 2 Bassoons, Contrabassoon, 4 Horns, 3 Trumpets (C), 2 Trombones, Bass Trombone, Tuba, Timpani, Percussion 1 (1 anvil, 4 cowbells, castanets), Percussion 2 (5 tom-toms, 1 snare drum, 1 suspended cymbal, 1 wind machine), Percussion 3 (1 bass drum, 1 tam-tam, 1 tambourine, 1 rainstick, 1 ratchet), Harp, Piano, Strings.

World Premiere:
August 19, 2016
Final Concert of National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra Composition Competition 2016
Concert Hall of National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra, Taichung, Taiwan
Kai-Hsi Fan conducts National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra
NTSO Composition Competition 2016 2

Duration: 13 minutes

Program Notes

The Sky Warrior for orchestra is to memorialize my dearest father who fought against lung cancer for more than three years. I think of my father as the bravest person I have known because he squarely faced the desperate situation and patiently handled both the mental and physical suffering caused by chemotherapy. Even in the last few months when he was dying, his will made him fight, though quietly, like a warrior against the endless pain and enormous fear for the unknown. In the meantime, I had a strong feeling that he indeed cherished the time he had with my mother, my younger sister and me, and if he would have had the choice, he would have chosen to stay rather than leave his family.

This piece is in variation rondo form or arch form which contains seven parts (A B A’ C A’’ B’ A’’’) in addition to the introduction. Part A is a fast dance-like section that uses a tarantella rhythm. The legend of tarantella originated from a disease that was associated with the poisonous bite of the tarantula spider in Italy. Those who had been bitten by the spider had to dance themselves into a frenzy until sweat purged the poison. Comparing a spider’s bite to cancer, I wish hysterical dances could be a way to keep cancer and the threat of death at bay. With unstable meters in Part B, a sorrowful solo melody combines with a warm background of strings to create an atmosphere of mixed, conflicting feelings. Here, I attempt to describe the cherished and precious old days that would nevertheless be gone forever. Part C is a slow dance-like section that portrays the essence of meditation.

I would like to dedicate this piece to my dearest father who has left me. Were it not for his wholehearted support and profound affection, I would not be who I am today, a composer who is presenting this piece. I will miss him and love him forever.

為管絃樂團的《天空戰士》是紀念曾經對抗過肺癌超過三年的我的父親。我認為正視著絕望的狀態以及面對著生理和心理上的化療折磨的我的父親是一個最勇敢的男人。甚至在他過世的前幾個月,他的意志仍讓他安靜地對抗病魔,就像是個戰士一樣,對抗著無止盡的痛楚跟巨大的恐懼。同時我也強烈地發現我的父親珍惜著過往和媽媽、妹妹跟我相處的歲月,如果他可以選擇的話,他肯定是寧願繼續跟我們生活在一起,而不願遠走高飛。

這首曲子是一個變奏的迴旋曲式,或是拱型曲式,有附前奏加七個段落(A B A’ C A’’ B’ A’’’)。段落A是個快速的塔朗泰拉舞蹈段落,塔朗泰拉舞曲的傳說是源自於義大利的一種有毒的塔朗圖拉蜘蛛,被這種毒蜘蛛咬到的人必須瘋狂地跳舞,藉由流汗來排除身上的毒素。我希望這種歇斯底里的舞蹈也可以是控制癌症以及面對死亡威脅的一種方式。有個不規律節拍的段落B,一條悲傷的獨奏旋律結合著絃樂溫暖的背景營造出一種混合著衝突情感的氛圍,我在這裡試圖描繪著那些永遠消失但彌足珍貴的過往記憶。位在中間的段落C則是一個有著冥想特質的緩慢舞蹈風段落。

我把這個曲子題獻給我最親愛的父親。雖然他已經離開了我,但是如果沒有他全心全意地支持,我不可能會有作曲的能力,沒有他這麼深沉的情感,這個曲子也不可能會誕生。我永遠愛著他。

– Feng-Hsu Lee (April 2, 2014 West Hartford, CT)

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