…after a mountain stream rain (谿山遇雨) (2011)

…after a mountain stream rain (谿山遇雨)
For dizi, sheng, pipa, zhongruan, zheng, and erhu

Score available by request

– Performed by Chai Found Music Workshop: I-Hsien Lin (Zheng), Lung-Yi Huang (Sheng), Chih-Yuan Liu (Erhu), Ya-Hui Wu (Di),  Mei-Yu Sue (Pipa), and Chen-Min Huang (conductor)

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Program Note:

The composition …after a mountain stream rain (谿山遇雨) draws its inspiration from a trip I took with my wife, Chen-Hui Jen, and some of her family to Xitou, Taiwan in July 2010.  The composition represents a sonic retelling and the process of remembering the first walk we took after arriving at our destination.

The first part, approximately one half of the composition, evokes the high mountain forest in Xitou.  This begins with rubbing and breath sounds that represent both literal and metaphorical or nostalgic mists that are similar to the rubbing sounds featured in the classical guqin composition Mists over Xiao and Xiang Rivers (瀟湘水雲). In …after a mountain stream rain these rubbing mist-like sounds occasionally go along with pitch bends in the same way they would on the guqin.  However, as the music progresses, these mist-like sounds begin to develop new identities such as the winds that precede an afternoon Summer monsoon rain and the scratching of forest locusts.  At the same time as these sonic transformations, pitches begin to arrive and gradually begin to descend like the
moisture of a gentle pre-sunset rain shower.

The second half of the composition evokes a grand view of clouds evaporating and lifting from the edges of the mountains near Xitou.  In this passage, the plucking strings play long rising lines to represent the majestic rising mountains; the sheng constantly plays a series of large chords to represent the size of these mountains; and a bandi and gaohu play high glistening lines to represent the quickly moving clouds lifting above and hovering over the mountains.  As this section moves on, gradually the some of pitch sounds return to mist-like sounds.  This represents the gradual darkening and incoming fog that accompanies a setting sun.  Finally in the end, in front of a subtler and rarified twilight version of the musical material from the beginning of the second half, the strings play a few harmonies and multiphonics that represent both stars coming out and the soundsof rare religious bells ringing from distant mountain temples.

I composed …after a mountain stream rain (谿山遇雨) for the Chai Found Music
Workshop Formosa Landscape/2011 Sizhu Music Composition Contest in the
Spring and Summer of 2011 in La Jolla, California and Miami, Florida.  The work
is dedicated to my lovely wife, Chen-Hui Jen.

-Jacob David Sudol
September 13, 2011
Miami, Florida