Raymond Yiu

Calender of Tolerable Inventions from Around the World

twelve pieces for wind quintet

duration: variable

Calender of Tolerable Inventions from Around the World

Book I
Cuckoo Clock (April) - completed, dedicated to David Sawer
Invisible Ink (May) - completed, dedicated to Ken Hesketh and Arlene Elizabeth Sierra
Electric Sign (June)

Book II
Backscratcher (July)
Soap Bubble (August) - completed, for Oliver Knussen, on his 50th Birthday
Beauty Spot (September) - completed, for Lukas Foss, on his 80th Birthday

Book III
Stilts (October)
Caravan (November) - in progress
Button (December) - completed, for Kim Plowright

Book IV
Ladder (January)
Decalcomania (February) - in progress
Kite (March)

The title is borrowed from the lesser-known French surrealist writer Benjamin Peret. As it implies, Calendar of Tolerable Inventions from Around the World consists of twelve parts, each one corresponds to a month of the year. Peret assigns several objects to each month, and attributes a brief and bizarre story about the ‘invention’ of each item.

Although these objects, their stories and their chosen month seem to have no obvious logical correlation to each other, it is a sense of disjoint, the cnciseness and vividness of the descriptions that make Calendar a very entertaining work.

As for the composition itself, it is designed as a twelve-movement divertimento, divided into four books. Movements (or a selection of the movements) can be played out of sequence. Although each piece has an individual musical syntax/style, a sense of unity is maintained by the use of common and very simple materials. Each piece is unique in terms of the role of each instrument within the quintet and the combinations of doubling, These miniatures are tributes to friends and family – although the titles are no reflections of their personality whatsoever.

Raymond Yiu (b. 1973) is a composer and jazz pianist. He was born in Hong Kong, and currently lives in London. He started piano lessons at the age of four and began writing music as a teenager. He came to England in 1990 and took up composing again while he was studying Electrical and Electronic Engineering in Imperial College, from where he graduated in 1996.

As a composer, Raymond is mainly self-taught. While working as an analyst 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. He is currently undertaking a research on the music of Lukas Foss, of which his article on Foss's recent works is appearing in the July 2002 issue of Tempo magazine.

Raymond's Prelude for Five has been performed by Britten Sinfonia Soloists in 1999. Distance of the Moon for eleven solo strings was selected and conducted by Lukas Foss at Bridge Hampton Music Festival, New York in the summer of 2001. Three of his works have been shortlisted by the spnm: Tranced Summer-Night was performed by the Rubio String Quartet, Tranced by the Nottingham Philharmonic Orchestra and the South Bank Symphony Orchestra, and Calendar of Tolerable Inventions from Around the World for wind quintet will be performed by Lontano in October 2002.

Back to shortlist.