Sui: a dynasty in China 1400 years ago (A.D. 581-618)
Gong: imperial court
There is a very touching old piece of music in which yearning, love and passion in the harem of the Sui dynasty are described. The present composition dedicated to Walter and Julia Auer is based on this original old music and its form consisting of several short picturesque scenes.
In contrast to the pure pentatonicism of the part taken by the medieval flute, modern flutes are used for the extremely complicated part featuring total chromaticism and great virtuosity, in order to create a balance between simplicity and complexity, nostalgia and modernity.
In structural respects the piece adopts the traditional Chinese musical form known as 套曲 (Suite), which consists of many short picturesque sections that all end similarly (合尾).
A few important melodies are stated, varied and ornamented (加花), these mostly being played by the medieval flute. To offer contrast to this pentatonicism, a twelve-note row is constructed from the original melody, and this is performed by modern flutes employing complicated playing techniques.
Vienna, June 2019
Translation: Michael Talbot