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The River Flows On...

for mixed chamber sextet

Year:  2011 Instrumentation:  for violin, cello, piano, chhing bowl, narrator, soprano, khloy, drums, paipork and sneng

Year:  2011
Instrumentation  for violin, cello, piano, c...

Films, Audio & Samples

Gillian Whitehead: The rive...

Embedded audio
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Sample Audio

Sample: 1'39" - 2'39" III: the river flows on...

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There is a Cambodian proverb - "the rowing boat passes, the river bank remains" - which to me suggests that isolated events in history, or in a person's life, eventually pass, while history, or life itself, flows on. Within the O CAMBODIA project, I wanted to present a narrative which moves on from the Khmer Rouge times into the future, moving from the hard times that affected every Cambodian who is now over 35, into a profoundly altered world.

The first section of the river flows on... is Prophecy, which presents an ancient saying whose source is not remembered today. The second section, Sokha's Story, tells the story of Sokha Mey, who currently lives and works in Wellington. She was a young girl living with her family in a small village near Siem Reap when Lon Nol's forces were defeated and the Khmer Rogue came to power. The final section, "the river flows on..." places Sokha's story into the future, where she was able to make a new life for herself in New Zealand.

I would like to thank Niborom Young, Sokun Chiv and particularly Sokha Mey for their invaluable help.

Commissioned note

Commissioned for the O CAMBODIA programme with funding from Creative New Zealand.

Contents note

  1. Prophecy
  2. Sokha’s Story
  3. The river flows on...

Performance history

17 Mar 2011: Performed by NZTrio and Tray So Ensemble at the Auckland Arts Festival 2011 at the Auckland Town Hall Concert Chamber

18 May 2014: NZTrio | O Cambodia - Beijing Modern Festival

20 May 2014: NZTrio | O Cambodia - Shanghai

22 May 2014: NZTrio | O Cambodia - Composers Association of Zhejiang Province

24 May 2014: NZTrio | O Cambodia - Sichuan Conservatory

27 May 2014: NZTrio | O Cambodia - Guangxi Festival of South East Asian Music

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