Exploring Mixed Ensemble Series #1

John Oliver: Eagle Flies to Mountain
Little Giant Chinese Chamber Orchestra, Turning Point Ensemble, Conductor: Chih-Sheng Chen, National Recital Hall, Taipei, Taiwan, 2018.6.9.

“The title may imply a traditional story-telling music, but I thought of this title as a symbol of the basic idea of the piece, which is to explore the four elements (earth, air, fire, water) and their implementation in concepts of the zodiac, specifically the personalities of cusp signs. Cusp signs take on the characteristics or personality traits of two adjacent signs of the zodiac. The four elements are attributed to various signs. Cusp signs combine two elements. Here I have named the combination of Earth/Air as “mountain,” and Water/Fire as “eagle.” Each of these combinations contains opposites and represents well the concept of yin and yang. Earth is apathetic, sluggish, grounded, practical and conservative in approach. Air is irritable, changeable, intellectual and abstract, inventive and clever. Water is sad, brooding, flowing, wavering, intuitive and emotional. Fire is active, enthusiastic creative and courageous. The mountain is where earth and sky meet. Eagle flies high near the sun, then dives to catch fish in the water. Eagle can also fly to the mountain. This story is eternal, without an end. Yet we have stories about how it all began. And this is how my music begins.” ~ John Oliver