Exhibition 14: Paper and Strings

Paper and Strings

for dan tranh (Vietnamese zither) and paper

Music By Le Thi Kim

Duration: 5:54

Composer’s notes:

This composition is an attempt to express in sounds my feelings at a difficult time in life.

All sounds and texts  © 1993 by Le Thi Kim


Exhibition 13: Devil’s Bridge

魔橋 / Devil’s Bridge (2010)

三味線、 琵琶 / shamisen and biwa

Music by Marty Regan

Duration: 9:44 

Composer’s notes:

The term “Devil’s Bridge” refers to ancient bridges found in Europe that have myths or legends relating to the Devil. These legends often involve a bridge builder who makes a pact with the Devil, stipulating that the Devil would build the bridge in return for the soul of the first life to cross the bridge. Musically speaking, this piece is based on idiomatic gestures, driving rhythms, and aggressive playing techniques found in biwa repertoire such as Byakotai and battle episodes from the Heikeimonogatari. Using these elements as a base, in this composition I attempted to portray the darkness of the underworld, full of blazing fire, evil, and fear.

Devil’s Bridgeとは、ヨーロッパに存在する、悪魔に関する神話や伝説にちなんだ古い橋の事である。これらの伝説には、しばしば、悪魔との契約を取り決める橋の建築家が登場する。橋を作るかわりに、悪魔は、橋を最初に渡る命ある者の魂を奪う事を要求するのだ。音楽的には、この曲は、楽器の特性を生かした動き、躍動的なリズム、そして琵琶の伝統音楽「白虎隊」や「平家物語」等の戦場場面などで使われる激しい技巧がベースとなっている。これらの要素を曲の基盤として使う事により、暗黒世界の闇、赤々と燃える炎、邪悪や恐れを描こうと試みた。

About the composer

Marty Regan (b. 1972) has composed over 50 works for traditional Japanese instruments and since 2002 has been affiliated with AURA-J, one of Japan’s premiere performance ensembles of contemporary-traditional Japanese music. He graduated from Oberlin College in 1995 with a B.M. in Composition and a B.A. in English and East Asian Studies. From 2000 to 2002 he studied composition and took applied lessons on traditional Japanese instruments as a Japanese government-sponsored research student at Tokyo College of Music. In 2002, his composition Song-Poem of the Eastern Clouds (2001) for shakuhachi and 21-string koto was premiered at the 5th Annual Composition Competition for Traditional Japanese Instruments at the National Theatre of Japan. He completed his Ph.D. in Music with an emphasis in Composition at the University of Hawai‘i, Manoa in 2006. His works for Japanese instruments riverrun (2003), Light of the Rainbow (2003), dragoneyes (2004), wildfire (2005), Maqam (2008), Evanescent Yearning…(2008), Shadows of the Moon, (2008), 21-String Koto Concerto No. 2: “Love” (2009), In the Night Sky (2010), and Shadows of the Flames (2011) have been recorded and released on various record labels. His English translation of Minoru Miki’s orchestration manual, Composing for Japanese Instruments was published in 2008 by the University of Rochester Press. In 2010, Navona Records released a compact disc of his works entitled “Marty Regan’s Selected Works for Japanese Instruments, Vol. 1: Forest Whispers…” The second volume in the Selected Works for Japanese Instruments series, subtitled Magic Mirror, was released in 2012 by the same label. In 2011 he was affiliated as a research scholar at Shanghai Conservatory of Music, where he took applied lessons on traditional Chinese instruments. He is an Assistant Professor of Music at Texas A&M University. For more information, visit www.martyregan.com

今までに50曲を超える邦楽作品を作曲している。’02年以降は、現代邦楽を演奏する主要グループの一つであるオーラJに所属。 ’95年オハイオ州オバーリン大学作曲科及び東アジア研究科卒。国費研究留学生として、東京音楽大学院作曲専攻に在籍していた。’02年文化庁舞台芸術創作奨励国立劇場作曲コンクールに尺八と二十絃箏のための「東雲の詩」(2001) で入賞。’06年ハワイ大学作曲科博士課程修了。「riverrun」(2003)「虹の光」(2003)「dragoneyes」(2004)「wildfire」(2005)「マカーム」(2008)「細雪を想い…」(2008)「月影幻想曲」(2008) 「二十絃協奏曲第二番:愛」(2009)「夜空にて」(2010) 「炎影」(2011) 等の邦楽作品がCD化されている。三木稔著「日本楽器法」(音楽之友社)の英語版翻訳を’08年版。’10年ナボーナレコードによって、自作品CD「マーティン・リーガンの和楽器による作品集第一番:森が囁いて…」がリリースされた。そして和楽器の為の作品第II集となるCD「魔鏡」は、同レーベルより2012年にリリースされた。’11年研究員として上海音楽院作曲専攻に在籍し、中国伝統的楽器の個人レッスンを受けた。現在、アメリカのテキサス州、A&M大学にて助教授として後進の指導にあたる。ウエブサイト参照:www.martyregan.com

All sounds and texts © 2010-2012 by Marty Regan

Exhibition 12: Grit


Music by Brigid Burke
Performed by Brigid Burke (clarinet) and Wendy Couch (vibraphone and Indian drum)
Duration: 8:20


Grit was released on the CD On the Wings of a Butterfly in June 2005

Composer’s notes:

Bowed vibraphone opens Grit to create a timeless scene. The clarinet is aimed to mimic the attack of the Indian drum parts. Its musical context is based on improvisations and experimentation using frequency changes with these fragments of sound through computer manipulation of extreme contraction, expansion, panning and pitch modification. The Indian drum imitates the clarinet as if in conversation and is lyrically thick with the percussive sounds overlapping themselves to form complex rhythms. The Indian drum consists of a thick wooden shell in an hourglass shape and single calfskin head tensioned around the rim with thin rope. The drum is initially played with the fingers. Then various hand techniques and strokes are used to produce different timbres. As the volume and intensity of the piece increases, felt mallets and wooden sticks are introduced to increase the dynamic impact.

Created, performed and recorded for the Australia Asia Foundation’s Sonic Gallery in 2004
All sounds and texts copyright © 2004 by Brigid Burke

Exhibition 11: Ask Not ~ Fear Not

Ask Not ~ Fear Not

for clarinet, shakuhachi, and power pole bells

Music created by Anne Norman
in collaboration with Brigid Burke

Duration: 7:05

Ask Not

Fear Not

Composer’s notes:

Ask Not emerged from manipulating slices of a recorded impro session with Brigid Burke involving bass clarinet, shakuhachi and 9 power pole bells pitched between a flat E and a sharp F (a range of less than one tone). A dark and threatening piece. In response, using the tonal material of this first movement, I created a shakuhachi piece Fear Not, which was initially envisioned for live performance with pre-recorded shakuhachi and 3 of the original 9 bells. A melodic line is shared between live performer and pre-recorded performer, becoming denser as other lines emerge. Here, the “live” performer is embedded in the mix.

All sounds and texts copyright © 2006 by Anne Norman

This work was commissioned by the Australia Asia Foundation in 2005 for Sonic Gallery

This project was supported by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

Exhibition 10: On a Quivering String

On A Quivering String

for dan bau [Vietnamese monochord]

Music composed and performed by Dang Kim Hien

Duration: 7’10”

Composer’s notes:

This composition expresses in sounds the different emotional states that I have experienced during a very happy but difficult period of my life, trying to fulfill working and mothering commitments. My days have been full of contradicting feelings of joy and frustration, of exuberance and tension. These feelings are reflected in the different sonic elements generated from the single string of the dan bau [Vietnamese monochord].

All the sounds and effects were created on the experimental electric dan bau [Vietnamese monochord], designed and built by Mr. Phan Chi Thanh, an experimental instrumental designer in Vietnam.

All sounds and texts copyright © 2005 by Dang Kim Hien

This project was supported by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

Exhibition 9: Melodia Nostalgica

Melodia Nostalgica

Giọt Sầu

for đàn bầu [Vietnamese monochord], piano and a flock of birds

Music created by Dang Kim Hien
Performers: Dang Kim Hien (monochord), Kim Le (piano)

Duration: 5:04

Composer’s notes:

For me Asia is not an exotic place. Asia was my homeland of the past. Asia has been lingering in my mind as a place in which the scents of my memories have been preserved. While living in Australia and engaging in all aspects of an Australian life, a drop of dew, a bird call or the sound of heavy rain on the tin roof may at times trigger flashes of memories. Bitter or sweet, I have always treasured such moments. For me, the memories of the old land are the foundation for my efforts of planting the seeds for future flowers in Australia, my homeland of the present

This piece of music combines the sounds of musical instruments from East and West. The interaction of the piano and the đàn bầu is a manifestation of the power of being able to appreciate and accept the differences. The calls of a flock of birds in the background act as a reminder that many people live a migratory life and are able to appreciate the beauties of all regions of the globe. The experimental monochord đàn bầu, created by Mr. Phan Chí Thanh, was used in this composition to generate low tones which cannot be produced on the traditional monochord. This is the first composition for this experimental instrument.

Chậm lần trên dây cũ
Nắn mấy giọt đàn trầm
Giọt rơi xuống đáy hư không
Giọt âm thầm đẫm vào lòng tha hương

Slowly touch the old string
Drops of deep tunes ringing
Sombrely fall into the fathomless
Silently permeat the exile’s innermost

Sounds and text copyright © 2006 by Dang Kim Hien

This work was commissioned by the Australia Asia Foundation in 2006

This project was supported by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.


Exhibition 8: Shadow Dancing

Shadow Dancing

for flute and power pole bells

Music by Taran Carter

performed by Caitlin Williams (flute) and Wendy Greenberg (power pole bells)
Duration: 9’24”

Composer’s notes:

Anne Norman’s innovative use of Australia’s suburban trees as a musical medium was the inspiration behind shadow dancing.

“Since 1996, Anne Norman has been collecting galvanised iron caps from the top of old electricity poles from various power company depots. These galvanised iron caps were made by the old SEC (state electricity company) to fit electricity poles made from tree trunks of varying diameters. Their function was to protect the poles from the weather and to mount insulators above the poles. These iron caps make marvelous microtonal bells and have been performed numerous times by Anne and her colleagues in Victoria and Japan and have been recorded and broadcast by the ABC. In Anne’s collection of pp caps, the diameters range from 18cm to 32cm with a pitch range of nearly two octaves from approx. 130 Hz to 440 Hz.”
(from Anne Norman’s website)

Shadow dancing, scored for flute and power pole bells, begins slow and meditatively with the flute and bells in constant dialogue. They weave around each other, occasionally finding a step together. Their interaction escalates until it becomes an increasingly more regular dance. This builds to a bold new statement of the opening three notes until we are left with only the whisper of a flute note and a repeated, unison bell tone. Within this framework the piece explores the rich resonance and harmonic diversity of the power pole bells coupled with the purity of flute harmonics. The flute’s material is largely based on the overtone series of the three notes we hear in the opening, which then relates to the dense harmonic overtones of the power pole bells.

Shadow dancing is dedicated to Caitlin Williams and was written for her post-graduate recital at the VCA in August 2003.

About the composer:

Born in 1980 Taran Carter has been writing music since he realised that to be a pop star you either had to look good, sound good or write nice tunes. He chose the latter.

Taran’s music aims to achieve a cohesive synthesis between many musical styles, most often between the popular and contemporary classical worlds. This approach has attracted performances by groups such as the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Opera Australia, the Song Company, Jason Xanthoudakis and Anne Norman.

Taran has written music for film, television, theatre and in 1999 was asked to write two songs to which the Australian Synchronised Swimming Team swam at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Other highlights in Taran’s career include the sold-out premiere season of his first opera, Busking Hugs, (commissioned by Opera Australia) in October 2001 and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra commission and premiere of Moondani Music in March 2004. He has won many awards including the A.S.M.E. Victorian Young Composer’s Competition in 1998, the Art of Percussion Composition Competition in 2000, the Quip Quip Composition Competition in 2001, the Percy Grainger Composition Competition in 2002 and the Magpie Research Dance Collaboration Award in 2004.

Taran also formed the contemporary classical/pop group Tehai which has been an active part of the festival circuit in Australia. Taran is currently busy writing an educational music show, writing a saxophone work (commissioned by Jason Xanthoudakis) and promoting Tehai’s recently released debut album From the Inside-out.

Recorded for the Australia Asia Foundation’s Sonic Gallery

All sounds and texts copyright © 2005 by Taran Carter