The Appearances of Snow
The Appearances of Snow: Live recording in pianist Chu-Han Huang’s piano recital Brilliance In Gray at the Kaohsiung Music Hall in 2015, October 16th, 7:30pm.
Commissioned and performed by pianist Chu-Han Huang
Written in Aug 2015
Chien-Yu Huang: Nocturne
Written in March 2013
The Dawn, a small piece for piano was written by me on Nov 7, 2010.
Pure Sound Waves
Pure Sound Waves (2006 – 2007):
There are various sounds consisting of clamors, cheers, laughs, and cries in a metropolis as Taipei, Taiwan. In Pure Sound Waves, I present abstract relationships between these sounds by not only depicting their concepts from the original definitions but also embodying them musically via string quartet, one of the oldest conventional instrumental settings of the world of classical music.
I convey innovative ideas and complex emotion into this piece. By combining unusual harmony, experimental acoustics, irregular rhythm, and exclusive strings’s timbres, I expect that the audience will experience the varying degrees of the tension and all the unexpected sonority.
The composition comprises eight sections that are Chant, Laugh, Whisper, Dialogue, Silence?, Chatter, Cry, and Lament in sequence. I build up these musical sections with both the traditional and spatial notations in order to clearly express the miscellaneous sounds that resonate in my memory of living in such a bustling metropolis.
Moreover, in addition to the graphic notation, I also exploit the technique of pitch class in the middle section of the music that also consolidates the musical structure without getting the complexity sloppy or uncontrolled. I also create the Density Line and the notation of blowing air into the f-shaped hole of the sound boards of the strings.
This composition is a milestone of my study in memory of the time of 5-year life in Taipei.
Film Noir Sound
Film Noir Sound was written for the Composition for Film and Television Class in February 2009. This is recorded at the orchestral reading by the UCLA Philharmonia.
(Professor / Supervisor: Paul Chihara; Conductor: Henry Shin; Alto Saxophonist: Ryan Weston)
I wrote the piano piece on June 10, 2011, when I felt kind of lonely.
The beginning motif (Ostinato, repeating idea) first came into my mind naturally and later I felt it might be cool to bring the melody from Ravel’s Pavane for a Dead Princess (Pavane pour une Infante Defunte) into the music. It’s not only a fragmented combination but also a re-creation which is supposed to be something new, inspiring, and based on the memorable tune. The repeating motif created by me symbolizes the flickery appearance, and later, is melted with the sorrowful melody from Ravel, and with the approach, outlining an imperfect beauty which I look for from the work.
Homeland is an orchestral piece written as an expression of my emotions towards my native land of Taiwan.
Atonality and traditional tonality are combined in this piece so that a wider audience can embrace the sentiments of longing contained in Homeland.
According to the musical structures and moods, music can be divided into four parts.
The first part describes a city born to suffering and poverty. A great deal of dissonant acoustics and tense rhythm show the depression of the city and inhabitants’ agitation. The consecutive repetitions of pitches and motifs echoed sharply among the voices sharply bring out the tension in the music.
After a round of acoustic turmoil, the music changes gears to feature the deep sounds of the timpani and the bass drum, and then develops into the dolce second part at bar 70. The mellow and solemn tone brings to mind the prosperity and beauty of the city. Simultaneously, the scattered but restless echoes of trills haunting the voices resemble the unstable moods pervading the city; nevertheless, the trilling fears are soon transformed into the singing of strings as warm light sprinkles the lovely city.
Moving on into the third part at bar 101, the trills return as another danger emerges!? The city remains secure throughout these changes though, as many groups of rapid short notes dart in and out between the voices. This distinctive rhythm endows the section with an uninhibited atmosphere.
At bar 140, with the advent of night, the city seems tranquil!?
Chien-Yu Huang: Dialog – Steinway & Bösendorfer
Sea is a trio for Violin, Cello, and Piano that I composed in the winter of 2009.
In the past year, I have drawn inspiration from movies and other visual arts including illustration, design, and architecture. All of them give me huge impact influencing the philosophy of my writing.
Although I had only thought about music for short animations and films in the past whole year, I started writing Sea as a piece for live concert as I suddenly desired to do so. In this work, I not only consider dissonant modern acoustics and the techniques of contemporary classical music but also dig deeper into fascinating harmony and vibes that are somehow triggered from the diverse arts interesting me. I attempt to blend post-modern sound and filmic styles together and see if I can explore some new frontiers of fantasy and romance. Thus, the music possesses an artistic value while remaining accessible or even entertaining to its audience.
Through its six parts, Sea illustrates the kaleidoscopic nature of the ocean. It is build up with the sections in order:
Sea’s Width and Fantasy, Sea’s Intangible Waves, Sea’s Mystery and Unease, Sea’s Whispers and Tenderness, Sea’s Surge, and Sea’s Tranquility.
A Blooming Tree
A Blooming Tree
May Buddha let us meet in my most beautiful hours,
I have prayed for it for five hundred years.
Buddha made me a tree
By the path you may take.
In full blossoms I’m waiting in the sun
Every flower carrying my previous hope.
As you are near,
The quivering leaves are my waiting zeal,
As you pass by the tree without noticing me.
Upon the ground behind you
Is not the fallen petals
But my withered heart.
In the spring of 2008, I was commissioned by a soprano to compose a piece with Taiwanese poet Xi Murong’s famous poem A Blooming Tree. Xi Murong’s poetry has been known for its simplicity conveying deep emotions. While the moderation of her writing is prevailing, the flow of warmth and sentiment that is built up with delicate rhetoric delivers the thickest level of romance. Her letters remind me of Debussy’s music that discards the hysteria of the chromaticism tracing back to the last half of the Romanticism, and invents a new language of harmony which seems simple, but from another perspective, can truly interpret the artist’s romantic mood.
As a Taiwanese composer born in the universe of Mandarin Chinese and influenced by the tonality of the western music, I obtained my initial inspiration from Debussy’s harmony but in the meanwhile, blurred the boundary between the elements from tonality and mode that together form the spirit of this composition.