I have often wondered what it would have been like if I had grown up 6,000 miles away in Hong Kong instead of London, which was a very real possibility. What would my musical tastes be? Would I be pursuing a different career path? Would my values be different? Who could I be? Who would I be? It can be quite a disorienting experience reflecting on this alternative reality, one that alludes to a notion of ‘distance’ that is at once geographical, temporal and cultural.
At a time when technology has undoubtedly better connected this world and Hong Kong is only a Google search and a scroll away, distances are arguably becoming increasingly obsolete. Suddenly the cultures, traditions and musics of Hong Kong are readily accessible and perhaps aren’t so far after all. Yet these technological offerings shed no light on answers to my questions, and only seem to accentuate the futility of looking for them. It is as if technology is a veil that once removed, reveals unbreakable and untraversable distances.
Spiralling scrolls looks to explore these ideas of distance and their implications on structural narratives and the development of relationships between instruments from distinct cultures. The piece looks to raise questions about the perception of identity and consequently how these identities can be recontextualised, reshaped and reimagined. Indeed, the hope is to reflect the complex and fluid nature of diasporic culture, for although there are questions that will never be answered, there are new possibilities and realities as a result.
Find out more on the LSO blog.
You may also be interested in Rituals and Resonances.
Instrumentation: Clarinet, Viola, and Yangqin
Commissioned by: London Symphony Orchestra as part of LSO Soundhub
Premiered by: Scott Lygate, Paul Silverthorne, and Reylon Yount at LSO St. Luke's in July 2019
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