Instrumentation: Full Orchestra: 3 (1 2, alto) 2 (1, EH) 2 (2/bcl), 2 (2/cb) – 22.214.171.124. – hp. 2 perc. Timp – strgs
Duration: 9 min
Iluwan is an orchestral commentary of the tune “naluwan” from the Taiwanese indigenous tribe Pai-Wan. The tune was sang by a male, included in a field recording by ethnomusicologist/composer Chang-Houei Hsu in 1967. The characteristics of this tune include the initial leap, long held straight tone, and series of broken-chord arpeggiations that roughly match the natural harmonic series. The lyrics describe the reminiscence of the lost love and the longing for reunion. It alters with vocalise after every stanza. The composition concept of Iluwan attempts to realize the solo vocal tune of Taiwanese indigenous people with various orchestral settings and compositional techniques. First of all, the choice of the instrumentation reflects the physical-psychological condition of the human voice, breath, and vowel sounds by employing winds, extending fermatas, changing the combination of instruments on every unison to mimic the phonemes characterized in the tune. Second, the orchestration emulates works known to orchestra concert goers, such as Mahler’s Adagietto, to evoke the association with the emotion – the reminiscence of the lost love – similar to the subject of the Taiwanese lyrics. Moreover, the “feeling of hurting again” as portrayed in the lyrics, finds its musical expression as a disturbing dissonance between the F# of the well- tempered tuning and the F# as the fifth partial in the natural harmonic series of D fundamental. The reconciliation between lovers is made musically possible, symbolized by the superimposition of two F# supported by the full orchestra.
From the composer: Iluwan is commissioned by Council of Indigenous Peoples of Taiwan” or/and the logo (attached). I love this commission very much for its opportunity to use its beautiful melody. The logo also looks like the combination of two clefs!