Under the Darkening Sky

Under the Darkening Sky (2020)
for Chamber Ensemble

Commissioned by Sharing Chamber Orchestra

1 Flute, 1 Oboe, 1 Percussion (Snare Drum, 2 Tom-Toms, Kick Drum, Suspended Cymbal, Triangle, Rainstick, and Metal Wind Chimes), 1 Harp, 1 Piano, 1 Violin, 1 Viola, 1 Cello

World Premiere:
October 15, 2022
Sharing Chamber Orchestra Concert 2022
Chiahu Performance Hall, Beigang Cultural Center, Yunlin, Taiwan
Sharing Chamber Orchestra

Duration: 8 minutes

Program Notes

Under the Darkening Sky for chamber ensemble, composed in the summer of 2020, is commissioned by Sharing Chamber Orchestra. In 2020, the whole human population has been suffering from the serious threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the COVID-19 outbreak, life has tremendously changed, and people have increasingly felt hopeless as if facing the sky that is darkening. People have tried hard to adjust a new norm to survive in troubling times as if to wait for the arrival of sunshine after the thunderstorm.

Inspired by a Taiwanese folk song Ti Oh Oh (The Sky is Dark), I use the three-note motif from the beginning of this folk song to be a central idea of this piece, and give it the image of the darkening sky. Basically, this piece is a ternary form with a slow introduction. After the nostalgic prelude, it comes with a dance-like section. This section sounds regular; however, I put lots of irregular phrases inside this piece of music to symbolize the disruption of our daily routines in difficult times. In the middle section, the tempo becomes slightly slower to reveal a new idea of wind as indicated by several repeating sixteenth notes with the contrapuntal gesture. The music here is calm and warm as if people are waiting patiently for the cessation of seemingly relentless wind and rain. The energy and momentum are restored in the final section. The polyrhythmic pattern in the coda makes the regular tempo become unstable but exciting. As the whole piece suggests, we may be under the darkening sky right now, but in these dark days, we may also try to grasp the glimpse of light, and by extension, hope and faith.  

This is the premiere recording.



– Feng-Hsu Lee (September 2, 2020 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

2 thoughts on “Under the Darkening Sky

  1. Pingback: Sharing Chamber Orchestra Concert 2022 | Feng-Hsu Lee

  2. Pingback: National Chung Cheng University Anniversary Celebration Concert | Feng-Hsu Lee

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