Under the Darkening Sky

Under the Darkening Sky (2020)
for Chamber Ensemble

Commissioned by Sharing Chamber Orchestra

Instrumentation:
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.  

譜寫於2020年盛夏的為室內樂團的《天黑之後》是鄉音室內樂團委託創作的作品。這一年也是全球都遭遇到新型冠狀病毒感染風險的時候,人們的生活型態全然地改變了,像是面對著陰暗的天空一樣覺得灰心無助。為了在這樣艱難的時刻中能夠生存,學習適應著新的常態,像是等待著在暴雨之後的陽光來到。

樂曲一開始的三個音動機來自於台灣民謠《天黑黑》的開頭,這個動機做為此曲的中心發想,而且帶出了天黑的意象。基本上,全曲是慢板前奏加上三段體的曲式,在帶有鄉愁的前奏之後,緊接著是一個舞蹈的主要段落。這段音樂聽起來是規律的,但是卻置放入很多不規則的樂句,象徵著在這個困難時候中人們的日常正在崩解。在中間段落,一個稍微漸慢的速度中,有著反覆十六分音符音型的新的旋律代表著風的對位線條。此時的音樂變得柔和而溫暖,就像是人們耐心等待著無止息的風雨停止的時刻。在最後的段落,曲子回到了充滿能量和活力的態度,複節奏的音型在規則的速度中蘊藏著一種不穩定的興奮感覺。就如全曲意指著,我們也許正在遭遇著天黑的艱難,但處在這些陰暗的日子,我們也試著抓住那有如希望和信念的微弱光線。

– 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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