Soliloquy • Wings
Inspired by Chinese myth “Jingwei filling the sea”
for solo Bb clarinet
Soliloquy • Wings for solo Bb clarinet was written for and dedicated to clarinetist Jun Qian. It is always a challenge to write a solo piece; especially, the goal of this piece is to explore new sound effects and extended techniques to present contemporary Chinese music. The harmonic language of this piece is based on, but not limited to the Chinese pentatonic scales. Also, using different combinations of timbre and extended techniques of the clarinet are developed in the piece. All of these are my attempt to describe the Chinese culture and how a western musical instrument can present this culture.
This piece is inspired by the story “Jingwei filling the sea”. Jingwei(精卫) is the name of a character in Chinese mythology. Originally, she is the youngest daughter of Emperor Yan (legendary ruler of primitive China), she perished at a young age in the East Sea. Just before she was buried by the surging waves, her spirit turned into a beautiful bird. When it flew over the roaring sea, it cried sadly in the sound “jingwei, jingwei”. That is why people named it “Jingwei”. I try to use rapid grace notes and “falling off ending” on long notes of clarinet to imitate the cry of the bird, sadly, but strong!
The bird lived on a mountain near the sea. Jingwei hated the sea so much that it decided to fill it up by carrying in twigs or pebbles from the mountain and dropping them into the sea. The rhythmic middle section of the piece describes the countless to and fro every day, never stopped. This idiom “The bird Jingwei filling the sea” that comes from this fable describe people who have indomitable spirit; they are firm, gritty and will never give up on their goals. The whole piece is like a sound serial cartoon to depict the story of Jingwei.