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Program note

While listening to the waves


This piece was written in 1997-98 at the request of Josef Fung for his ensemble The Chinese Virtuosi. This Beijing-based group performs new music on traditional Chinese instruments and was featured at the 1996 International Computer Music Conference in Hong Kong.

The piece is scored for erhu, dizi, zheng, and pipa. Unlike most of my recent works, this piece does not include a tape part. The title is taken from James Pritchett's poem, which was written simultaneously with the piece.

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Program note

While listening to the waves (at Island Beach)

1 (looking down)

All that exists now is a strip of sand which the sea occasionally touches, then releases with a transient shimmer (wet sand, dry sand; wet sand--dry sand).

The middle way; neither of the land nor of the sea; balanced and invisible.

2 (looking up)

Two orange kites suspended in the blank blue sky; motionless.

3 (looking back)

A line of wooden posts, each with a gull stationed on top.

Behind that, the snow fence.

Behind that, the dunes--the curving line of sand meeting sky--crossed with strokes of grass.

Behind that, the chimney from the fishermanıs house.

Behind that, a line of birds flying away.

--James Pritchett

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