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The six-movement piano suite Daydreams was written in February and March, 2019. It was commissioned by Prof. Jack Richards, for the young pianist Tony Lin, who gave the works’ world premiere in September of the same year.
These pieces germinate from small and simple daily things, a bit like a musical diary. The everyday happenings, though ordinary and unimportant, nevertheless form the basic colors of our life. If willing to discover, there is no lack of beauty, unnoticed beauty, which perhaps can be called a “quo-tidian beauty”.
In Chinese literature, there was a long tradition of a type of short stories called “Sketches”, or “Literary Sketches”, (笔记) which mainly focuses on ordinary people and subjects. This type of literary form evolved into a prose form favored by the literati writers, but it also preserved a kind of micro-history that was absent in our history books. The Chinese literati painting (文人画) had similar tendencies. The white-eyed fishes, or the funny cats of Ba-da-shan-ren (1626-1705), subjects all a part of his daily life, provide us enduring interest and contemplation, even interpretation into deeper meanings.
Daydreams comes out of this kind of aesthetic background, intending to let the quotidian things, the purposeless caprice, have a chance to make sounds and become music.
The 3rd and the 5th movements form a pair of dances. The first is mechanical and lonely, while the latter energetic and boisterous.
The other movements have distinct personalities, each unique on its own: Twilight (I) blinks scintillating colors. Are they lights from the passing cars outside the window? Or the ephemeral sensations that are so faint that they hardly surface in our consciousness? Song Without Words (II), clear, spacious, is like a carefree moment of watching the clouds moving slowly over the sky; Blues over a Lost iPhone came directly from my experience of losing a phone on a taxi last year. Sung and spoken in Sichuan dialect, the piece is a blend of irony and sadness. The final movement Wind Prayers needs no explanation. Anyone who lives in Beijing would wish for some wind blowing through the city’s polluted sky.
Daydreams are my private dreams, but I also think they are dreams of everyone…
-- Gao Ping --
Commissioned by Prof. Jack Richards
for Tony Lin
II. Song Without Words
III. Dance (1)
IV. Blues Over a Lost iPhone
V. Dance (2)
VI. Wind Prayer