Butterfly Variations
3 Oct 2011
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Fung: Butterfly Variations
Composer: Vivian Fung
Recording Date: Wed 5 Oct 2005
The culture of Southeast Asia looms large in my artistic and even my everyday world. My grandparents, for political and economic reasons, settled in Saigon, where my parents spent a good deal of their childhood before moving to Hong Kong and later to Canada, where I was born. The musical language of Indonesian gamelan music has also influenced me in the past five years or so. Works such as my Pizzicato, Kecak! for a cappella mixed choir, and String Quartet No. 1 make prominent use of Balinese style interlocking rhythms and gestures. In Bali on a fellowship from the Center for Intercultural Performance at UCLA, I spearheaded a shadow puppet project involving three musicians (including myself), a dancer, and an actress. We titled our work “I Dream of a Butterfly,” the butterfly being a metaphor for all of us as we floated through life in Bali. The central musical theme of that work was a Javanese lullaby that was sung to us by our program coordinator. The lullaby tells the story of a child who is trying to catch a butterfly but cannot because the butterfly is constantly fluttering. The moral of the story is that one cannot have everything in this world that one desires. The same musical theme also forms the basis for Butterfly Variations. This work is a theme and variations, but the full theme is not stated until the very end of the work. There are six variations, each played without pause.
Butterfly Variations (19:54) N/A
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