Performed by Trio Andromeda (Allion Salvador, violin; Hye Jung Yag, cello; Li-Cheng Hung, piano), Seattle, May 30th, 2015.
In the first movement, Tapestry, the piano sonically outlines the structure of the nested rings of a mandala by playing arpeggios and scales with expanding frequency sweeps in a wave-like contour and accelerating and decelerating tempo. On top of this structure the cello and violin fill in the symbolic details of the mandala, repeating patterns and motifs. As we get closer to the center of the mandala, time speeds up and the notes start to blur, lose differentiation, and are on the brink of unification, oscillation, and drone, indicating the true nature of sound and the illusionary, relative difference between pitch and rhythm.
By the second movement, Phosphenes, the music has transcended its initial structure. The minimalist score acts as generative code to manifest sounds that attempt to conjure ineffable metaphysical and emotional resonances. These cascading note clusters are echoes and reflections, like the colorful smears of light imprints lefts on a retina that give the movement its namesake. Phosphenes easily can manifest into hallucinations or illusions, and by the third movement, there are three entities created that playfully arrive as distinct notes, a trinity of fractal spirits from the previous movements. During the third movement each musician is designated a single note to play at any timbre, octave, or rhythm based on their improvisational instincts and the logic they have learned from the piece. In the final movement, the music slows down as it dissolves, inviting moments of space and silence. We are in a new state, altered, but vaguely familiar.
Program note by Rian Souleles