Strange Ways Details
Strange Ways (2013)
for three percussionists: vibraphone, glockenspiel, tam-tam, bongos, frame drum
‘Strange Ways’ is a cross-cultural piece originally composed for Macedonian village ensemble instrumentation and now adapted for percussion. This music is inspired from a collection of architectural and landscape images of Sydney and Bitola by photographer Ilia Uzunoski. These photographs were specifically chosen because they are significant to the composer and stimulate the creative imagination in shaping the character of the desired sound. The piece is developed through convulsive rhythms, irregular meters (derived from traditional Macedonian Folk music) in juxtaposition with Bernard Herrmann minor-major and half-diminished seventh sonorities. The image of red poppy flowers has light and dark textures and consists of two elements: red dots and a field of grass. The red flowers appear as if they are floating and ‘dancing’. The grass appears stringent and abrasive in quality with a rough texture that is deepening and manifests into a type of ‘sound mass.’ The dancing flowers are seen as convulsive rhythms and the sound masses establish light/dark textures and colour floats that focus on light/dark harmonic and melodic suspensions, chromaticism bowed vibraphone and sustained tam-tam resonances. The rough abrasive quality is expressed through scraping techniques on ‘Frame Drum.’
‘Strange Ways’ was the official music composition selected to represent Australia in the young composer’s category at the 31st Asian composers league festival. The piece was performed by percussionists James Goh, Bai Jiaxing, Yiang Shan and conducted by Sok Wah Ng on 23 September 2013 at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatorium of Music Singapore.