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Singing Red Juxtapositions : for erhu, guzheng & pipa

by Bruce Crossman (2021)

Work Overview

Singing Red Juxtapositions takes its point of departure from the singing red painterly colour infusions against earthy-brown and black/white plains as juxtapositions, cut across by linear energy strokes by American artist, Monica Kim Garza. This colour and line energy from painting sparked a series of sound colour juxtapositions made from rich chordal conglomerations with linear cutting by erhu, guzhengand pipa, but fragmented by living colour noise explorations of pressured bowing, nail-flick, glissandi washes and bends of colour and bell-clear harmonics. The energy is contained within an emerging envelope of colour from extremely slow to frenetic to distilled slowness within a palindromic ABCBA form; but its shape is slightly skew-whiff as in the chaotic energy Monica Kim Garcia's approach to painting-'full of joy and give zero fucks' (Farr, Kristin, Juxtapoz, Summer 2018, p.102). The music's fast paced frenetic central climax on driving erhu line juxtaposed guzheng and pipa sliding in section C, is nearly derailed by a later balancing slowly emerging frenzy of an elegiac pipa solo with Japanese hiraj├Áshi modal touches. The music's sadness is a tribute to my friend and fellow composer, Isao Matsushita, who passed away in the middle of the creative process of this work.

Work Details

Year: 2021

Instrumentation: Erhu, guzheng, pipa

Duration: 12 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — Complex rhythmic detail and changing colour nuances

Dedication note: dedicated to Isao Matsushita

Written for: Nicholas Ng

Commission note: composed for Nicholas Ng (erhu) for his Sydney-based trio for a recording project of Australian compositions

The composer notes the following styles, genres, influences, etc in relation to this work:
Contemporary American painter Monica Kim Garcia, Japanese hirajõshi modes, Gagaku, Chinese opera (Kunqu and Cantonese Opera) and free jazz improvisation (Matthew Shipp Trio)

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