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Early spring that no one sees : for viola, percussion and piano

by Bruce Crossman (2012)

Early spring that no one sees


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Early spring that no one sees : for viola, percussion and piano / Bruce Crossman.

Library shelf no. Q 785.3413/CRO 1 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

Early Spring that No One Sees draws its inspiration from Kunqu, specifically Lindy Li Mark's translation of the Peony Pavilion with its fragile transitory image of emergent hidden beauty that 'no one sees.' This is used as a metaphor of hidden moments of sonic colour on the cusp of emerging, that suddenly then flourish as ecstatic climaxes. Labyrinths of emergent sonic colours recur as hidden moments throughout the piece. The viola's use of subtle variations of vibrato, harmonics and noise techniques merge with transient East and Southeast Asian gongs (including either Filipino kulintang or Cambodian korng thomm), bowed crotales and vibraphone; all of these are undergirded by moments of overtone resonances from stopped-strings and interval-colours on piano. Momentary utterances of Sydney Blue Mountain frog-inspired rhythmic counterpoint, largely on viola, abruptly interrupt the quieter hidden colouristic textures, before combining with kulintang-driven repeated note rhythms jousting with free-jazz inspired chains of fourth-based chords on piano. The macrocosmic structure works as emergent colours towards two swirling climaxes of ecstatic joy with the quieter colours weaving around them and utilising vocalizations to reveal the poetic heart of the work-the sensory moment of 'zhe yi sha tian' (this brief moment).

Work Details

Year: 2012

Instrumentation: Viola, percussion (1 player: Filipino kulintang or Cambodian korng thomm, crotales, vibraphone, hi-hat cymbals, suspended cymbal, Thai nipple gong, Peking Opera gong [medium], Japanese Temple bowl [high], Korean ching [suspended], 2 bongos [high, middle], 2 tom-toms [middle, low], wood block [high/hollow], bass drum), piano.

Duration: 15 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — Advanced — Complex rhythmic detail and changing colour nuances

Dedication note: Dedicated to Lynn Varton, Susan Ung

Commission note: Commissioned by Susan Ung (viola) and Lynn Varton (percussion)

The composer notes the following influences/styles/genres associated with this work:

Chinese Opera (Kunqu), Filipino kulintang and Cambodian korng thomm; East coast Australian frogs; intercultural Asian-Pacific.


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