The idea of clouds transforming into streams is a meditation on transformation and a meditation on nature and on the ancient world being challenged by the literal abstract modern world. Clouds and Streams Entwine is a celebration of the sound world of the Chinese orchestra. A work modeled as a contemporary musical response to Chinese traditional painting and philosophical ideas.
The work revolves around the duo soloists , english horn and chromatic sheng. They are given a large canvas to sound fantastically vibrant together and apart. In the end the stand as equals.
The music plays out in time as a traditional scroll painting is unraveled scene by scene. In alternate- slow traditional/ fast contemporary - movements, balancing soloists and balancing soloists and orchestra. clouds I and II are centred around two pipa melodies published in Shanghai 1819, in the Hua Collection, Floating on the Clouds and Night Moon Over the Island . The wordless melodies in clouds make audible the primal and distant echoes of voices from the past.They provide a classic, melodic contrast and historical foil with streams I and II , which are angular and highly virtuosic.
In streams I and II, the scale like rhythmic motives are entwined with the contemporary chamber orchestra and here the orchestra uses the multitude of Chinese traditional instruments as a calligrapher uses a brush. The extended techniques bring abstract colours, shapes and sonic references to nature : water, angular rock formations and the chirping sounds of birds.