Part 1: I. Resonant and fragile; II. Swaying, swirling--Dark, brooding
Part 2: III. Silvery and lilting; IV. Forceful
Part 3: V. Resonant and fragile
The entwined and enwoven puzzle pieces of my Hishuk ish ts’awalk were inspired by a visit to the wild temperate rainforest in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve of Canada a couple of summers ago. To the First Nations people of the Nuu-chah-nulth, the title means “all things are one”, and the music evokes a resonant, forceful, yet fragile musical ecosystem. My idea was to create a musical space full of echoes, noise, and silence.
The large-scale form is in three parts, separated by pauses. There are two movements in part one, two movements in part two, and one movement to finish, making a total of five movements in the piece. Spatial relationships predominate; you will hear the same music reappear in a different register and moving in a different direction, turned upside down and varying in character and speed.
The resonance of the piano’s sostenuto pedal is employed throughout Part one and Part three, against clarinet subtones, and special bowings, harmonics, and swaying double stops in the strings. The clarinet solo at the end of part one, with its interposed noisy multiphonics, falls to complete movement two, and is complemented by the rising cello solo at the beginning of Part three. The center of the piece, Part two, features a silvery and lilting unison line that loops around on itself in movement three. A contrasting and complementing palindrome, movement four rises with forceful, loud snaps in the strings, slaps in the bass clarinet, and a huge culmination and climax of everyone to the top. In Part three, the opening music returns, with piano resonance, trembling strings, and the disembodied clarinet sounds.