Three Bagatelles

I. Kyrie eleison
II. Et incarnatus est
III. Dona nobis pacem

Instrumentation: Viola, Piano
Year of Composition: 1999–2003
Duration: 15′ (5′, 5′, 5′)

Programme Notes
Three Bagatelles can be said as my most important religious work; however, these works are not intended for liturgical use (and can’t be said “sacred” at all) – the works are sombre and humane. They are on one human’s meditation, on vulnerability, passivity and incomprehensibility. Partial texts from Ordo Missae are main source of inspiration, and they often prompted for the structure of individual pieces.

The first bagatelle is written between 2000 and 2001, spanning eleven months from the first note to the last. The music tried to depict the man in desperation that no prayer can be said, except murmuring repeatedly. The sensuous music was described, after the première, as “too dark for any joy to seep through.” The viola and piano holds a close relationship of symbiosis, twistingly living together.

The second bagatelle is written in 2003. From Symbolum Nicenum, I chose Et incarnatus est as the key belief. In the music, this faith is sounded as a puzzle: the melody is wandering nowhere; the harmony is too ambiguous to tell; the identity of themes are hidden and reduced. So as the liturgy prompted, the incarnation is a journey of salvation and pain.

The third bagatelle is written in 1999. Dona nobis pacem, as the last phrase of the Agnus Dei, is chosen as a resonance of the never-ending quest; though, the eternal peace is always granted with no intervention of human effort. In this troubled mind, I wrote Dona nobis pacem. The music is featured by wrestle of piano and viola in cross-rhythms.

 

Sample pages of scores

 

Première

Dona nobis pacem

Performers: Jeanne Chiu, Viola. Eos Cheng , Piano.
Sha Tin Town Hall, Hong Kong. June 13, 1999.

Kyrie eleison

Performers: Woody Wu, Viola. Siu Tin-chi, Piano.
Lee Hysan Concert Hall, Chinese University of Hong Kong. October 3, 2001.

Et incarnatus est

Performers: Ng Wah-hei, Viola. Siu Tin-chi, Piano.
Lee Hysan Concert Hall, Chinese University of Hong Kong. February 18, 2003.

 

Recording

This recording is recorded live at Lee Hysan Concert Hall on February 18, 2003.

Ng Wah-hei, viola
Siu Tin-chi, piano