Swan Song

Like some of my earlier pieces, Swan Song is based on transcriptions of preexisting sonic materials: speech, music and noises. For this piece I have chosen the final scene of a masterpiece of Chinese cinema called Farewell, My Concubine by Chen Kaige, a movie that had a great impact on me when it was released in 1993. The movie revolves around a complicated love story and features scenes from an eponymous Peking Opera. Life and theater blend dramatically in the final scene. The rendering of the transcribed materials by the cello and percussion, mimicking the voices and instruments of Peking opera, are accompanied by processed video from the movie as well as electronic and prerecorded sounds. The first two tracks of the master score (written with MaxScore running inside my multimedia performance environment Quintet.net) are being used for real-time part extraction and sent to the players over the network, the third and fourth tracks for the control of audio and video playback and the fifth is a click track, synchronizing the musicians to the audio and video playback.

Link to score