duration: 12 minutes
Tranced Summer Night
As when, upon a tranced summer-night,
Those green-robed senators of mighty woods,
Tall oaks, branch-charmed by the earnest stars,
Dream, and so dream all night without a stir.
‘Hyperion: A Fragment’ (1820) – John Keats (1795-1821)
At the time when I started composing this string quartet, I had a recurring
dream in which I was observing an immense sculpture in a dark exhibition
hall with limited light source. I never got to see the entire object;
but by observing it bit by bit, I figured out roughly what that sculpture
looked like – but never got to see it properly. This dream remained
for quite a while, and that sculpture was usually different every time.
Finally I decided to use it as a starting point for the central movement
of this piece – in which a lute song by John Dowland is being ‘observed’.
As this piece is a realisation of a dream, its structure reflects the
process of dreaming – a rather personal interpretation. First movement
represents a semiconscious state in which one’s thoughts become blur,
the boundary between reality and dream is disappearing. After ‘observing’
the Dowland song, the mood changes as we leap from one dream into another
one without any interruption. Materials from the previous two movements
are re-used and developed. The eventual return of music from the first
movement signals the beginning of the awakening.
Raymond Yiu is a composer and jazz pianist.
Born in Hong Kong, 1973, he started piano lessons at the age of four and
began writing music as a teenager. He came to England in 1990. He took
up composing again while he was studying Electrical and Electronic Engineering
in Imperial College, from where he graduated in 1996. Having attended
music college, Raymond is mainly self-taught. He has made contacts with
several British and American composers out of admiration of their music,
particularly Lukas Foss. He is currently editing a work by Foss and undertaking
research on his music.
While working as an analytical programmer, he has studied composition
privately with Graham Williams. He has also received informal consultations
from several composers including Lukas Foss, David Matthews and David
Sawer. Works in progress include a chamber piece to be premiered in Bridge
Hampton, New York, at Lukas Foss's invitation in the summer of 2000, a
musical theatre piece in collaboration with the lyricist Eric Presland,
and a concerto for violin and chamber orchestra. Future plans include
a piano concerto based on the life of the jazz composer/arranger Bill
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