The concept of a vanishing point has informed the crafting of this work in several ways. On a surface level, the notion of separate entities gradually converging together is crucial to the structure as well as the motivic, harmonic and textural development of the piece. Jonathan Harvey amongst others has remarked upon the spectral predilection for harmony to be subsumed by timbre, and it is this merging of musical parameters that can be understood as the underlying trajectory of the composition. Moreover, this interpretation of a vanishing point as a synthesis between differing ideas also manifests itself in the aesthetic outlook of Vanishing Point. Through the coupling of the Chinese erhu and folksong with a symphonic orchestra as a starting point, a sense of reconciliation between Eastern and Western cultures is attempted.
As a creative impetus, I was interested in the paradoxical implication of closure suggested by a vanishing point. Hence, although the vanishing point of a landscape is literally seen as the end point, the viewer also knows that the landscape continues infinitely further into an unknown realm. Vanishing Point, whilst inherently being a piece in its own right, thus hopes to direct the curiosity of the listener toward this unknown realm, and to consider the question: what is beyond the vanishing point?
You may also be interested in Spiralling Scrolls.
Instrumentation: Erhu and Symphony Orchestra (2+picc, 2+cor, 2+bass, 2+contra, 4, 3, 3, 1, timp, perc, harp, str)
Commissioned by: Shanghai Conservatory of Music
Premiered by: Sun Yaoqi and the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Liang Zhang
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