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This piece is a collection of impressions revolving around the mood of winter in its many aspects. It has an overall form that is not necessarily sequential: the individual movements were composed as a musical frame around a winter-themed concert program. As such, the work is intended to introduce, complement and comment rather than compete.
Yule is a tribute to the tradition of the concerto grosso, in which the leaders of each section move in and out of the fabric of the music as soloists and corps. The essence of concerted effort and celebration is also acknowledged in the title, tying together the elements of modern and Baroque works in the following program in motion and style.
Dryness of Hard Frost is a reference to a description of living in Antarctica as related by New Zealand composer Chris Cree Brown. As the temperature drops, the air is steadily and relentlessly drained of moisture. In a world of frozen water, dehydration is common and the sounds of things become sharper and dryer to the ear.
Snow is Falling on Water, Wind is Blowing out to Sea carries its rhythm and meaning in the title itself. Inspired by Balkan choral music, it is a song without words about wordless regrets, lost chances, and hopes buried under cold snow awaiting the coming spring.
Pale Sun over Cold Land uses as its form an improvisatory melody over a simple, descending chord progression. In the long middle solo, elements of contemporary Western and Eastern musics are combined in synchronicity, bringing the emotional contour of the overall work toward a close with yearning and optimism.
Snowblind depicts the harsher side of the season, with icy little 16ths flurrying and building to a storm that brings many of the themes and elements of the suite together in one last blizzard of notes.
Concerto grosso in five movements
2. Dryness of Hard Frost
3. Snow is Falling on Water, Wind is Blowing Out to Sea
4. Pale Sun over Cold Land
29 Dec 2001: Performed by the Santa Rosa Symphony Young People's Chamber Orchestra, directed by Linda Ghidossi-DeLuca, with Xiaofeng Zhang (erhu) at Luther Burbank Center for the Performing Arts, Santa Rosa, California, USA
Performed by the Santa Rosa Symphony Young People’s Chamber Orchestra, directed by Linda Ghidossi-DeLuca, with Xiaofeng Zhang (erhu) at Luther Burbank Center for the Performing Arts, Santa Rosa, California, USA