Programme Note

The delicate artform of traditional Chinese embroidery sparked the creation of Shuāng miàn xiù [Chinese/Mandarin for Two-faced Tapestry] for orchestra (2018). The composition specifically focusses on portraying the complex technique of splitting, stitching and weaving two layers of silk forming an image on either side; a technique synonymous with embroidery from Suzhou in China. This practise of producing different results within the same frame forms the basis of the overall musical texture.

Shuāng miàn xiù opens with a series of fleeting gestures, using the orchestral canvas as a mirror. The harmonic environment for the entire work is similarly structured: utilising inverted diadic harmony and coloured with interlocking dissonance. Rhythmically, Shuāng miàn xiù explores the intrinsic mirroring of triple and quintuple time. After exposing the opening material, the work further develops all these musical elements; weaving a thin, fine background texture. This is suddenly contrasted by a calm, celestial middle section, suggesting the purity and lightness of weaving finely split silk. This grows to a climax with rapid figurations and articulations interlaced with a slow, sliding harmonic progression.

Shuāng miàn xiù closes as it opens; a complete mirror of the entire aforementioned structure and harmony is presented, though the colour of the texture now presents a different, elated atmosphere. A final slither of silk hints at the opening fleeting gestures from which the piece was born.

Programme note by the composer

Dedication, Awards & Acknowledges

This work was the joint winning composition of the 2018 Jinji Lake
Composition Competition


3*33*3* – 4331 – Timp + 3 – Hp – Str

* = third plays auxiliary instrument


Performed by: Suzhou Symphony Orchestra

Conducted by: Qi-Yuan Zhu


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