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Stream & Seasons
CD 
List Price: $19.98
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Stream & Seasons on CD

Kawai Shiu is an internationally recognized artist whose interests and achievements explore the essence of music embodied as sound, composition, performance, and thought. His work in various fields calls attention to music as a portal to personal myth. As a versatile artist, Kawai has received numerous awards in recognition of his work. Composition awards include those from the Vienna Modern Masters' Orchestral Recording Award, the Rudolf Nissim Award, Frederic Goossen Composition Prizes, the SCI Commission Award, Kent Kennan Scholarships, and funding from the American Music Center. Other commissions and performances include those from the South Bank Centre for Endymion at the Purcell Room, Cheltenham Festival, International Clarinet Course in Spain, Dartington Festival, World Saxophone Congress, Pacific Contemporary Music Festival, Around Sound Arts Festival, and In Midair Festival. His music has been recorded by CRI, Vienna Modern Masters, Ablaze, and Soy Sauce Records. In praising his winter tide, the American Record Guide writes, it "glitters and soars through it's concise four minutes" while Fanfare declares that it "creates a surprising amount of drama." Kawai has served as the Music Director of the British Royal National Theatre's production of Euripides' Bacchai, directed by Sir Peter Hall. A lecture performance co-developed by composer Sir Harrison Birtwistle and Kawai on Paul Klee has been presented at Hayward Gallery and the British Royal Academy of Arts with the members of London Sinfonietta, and as a part of the Lucerne Festival with the Festival Academy. Kawai is also a published writer of poetry, drama, and musings on music and art criticism. Stream and seasons program notes This is my second CD released by Ablaze Records. If the previous unassuming music had been a double album, stream and seasons would have been disc two because stream and seasons is, in my mind, a mirror or a companion of unassuming music. In addition, both albums aspire to individually create a coherent structure among the juxtaposition of the selected pieces. Stream and seasons focuses again on unaccompanied music. The pair a Leaf by Far and La Rosée fond, along with the other three movements which appeared in unassuming music, complete the solo movements of De Stroom, a song circle for unaccompanied voice and solo strings. Commenting on the theme of nonexistence, the two pieces portray intimately a short yet evocative life journey, one of a drop of dew and the other of a leaf. Both pieces also engage ample nuances of murmur and silence which I refer to as the shadow of music. Like De Stroom, some of the compositions in this album date back to a few years earlier when I worked extensively in Europe. Farewell Bacchae, originally for basset clarinet, was commissioned by legendary clarinetist Alan Hacker, with whom I worked on the Royal National Theatre production of Euripides' Bacchai. Farewell Bacchae embraces one of my fondest musical gestures-non-linear/non-circular progression-here as a metaphor of Dionysian possessive power. Twenty six eighty seven was written in Basel Switzerland. One day looking down to the Rhine through the window of Paul Sacher Stiftung, some mental visions, both aural and visual, came to my mind. Two of these images persisted: one of a woman in a white gown on the water and one of an unaccompanied saxophone piece. Twenty six eighty seven was a result of the latter aural vision. With no sketches, I wrote out the preexisting piece from start to finish without much tug and haul. I titled the piece in memoriam of composer Morton Feldman (1926-1987). The two extra long and distorted notes towards the end of the piece symbolize the desolation of motion and time, which I often observe when listening to Feldman's longer pieces. I have yet come to terms with whether the woman in white was related to the opera Neither. Stream and seasons is enveloped by a set of three season pieces autumn palette, summer ligature, and winter tide. All are for a Pierrot ensemble. Being the oldest piece in the set, winter tide was composed some fifteen years ago. It is a metaphor of gradual temporal progression as portrayed by a solitary tide. Three years after winter tide, I wrote autumn palette. Quite the opposite of winter tide, my interest at the time and henceforth was the possibility of non-developmental music, in which, like a painter's palette, random colors in deceptive chaos are revealed instantaneously. Since autumn palette, it has been my inclination to create a collection of the four seasons to document my shifting musical predilections. I was curious to see how different (and similar) the pieces would be as a result of the distant time and psychological space between them. A decade after autumn palette, my immediate interest in summer ligature was the idea of approximate alignment and vertical relationship in music. The ligature is represented by an uninterrupted piano continuum; other instruments interject variations of the musical crux into this interlude. Jade luster for two pianos serves as an extended coda for the album. As a continuing fascination with propinquity, jade luster investigates simultaneity and minute variation in music. The two pianists read from two closely related laptop movie scores without the traditional "deliberate synchronization" of most piano duo repertoires. If life is a travelogue, stream and seasons will be a chapter of two interweaving stories in which all who have contributed are the main characters. For this, I thank them dearly. kawai shiu a leaf by far take bright light of the sun glaring through my almost symmetric body seven points with veins passing unintentional radiant lines thousands and millions before my eyes another millions just as i as i flutter as the wind blows high and low all of the remains four years thirteen months nine days eight nights a snap a snap floating a leaf leaving onto the soil sleeping drying as mishap sip the bone with laughter cripple crawl look upon a trunk with thousands of millions close my eyes rest a leaf.