Instrumental Music
Rivers and Thoughts
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Rivers and Thoughts
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Rivers and Thoughts premiered in Adelaide on May 16th 2022 by Yundi Yuan (piano), Mark Gaydon (Bassoon), & Matthew Kneale (Bassoon)

This piece was written as a tone poem based on Miriam Wei Wei Lo’s poem “A Few Thoughts on Multiple Identity”. Miriam describes the struggle with having multiple cultural identities as two rivers. As you can see in the poem that follows, there are two poems describing two rivers and cultures which appear side by side. The imagery invoked in the first column is that of a Malaysian river market (the poet traces her Chinese heritage via Sarawak in Malaysia to Canton in China) and in the second of life near an Australian river inlet.

These two rivers are represented in the piece in seperate sections with different melodic themes and by the two individual bassoons using the sonatina form. The first river is represented in the first section with the use of the pentatonic (five note) scale and in the second with the use of western music’s seven note scale.

After both sections are introduced a development section using those themes in an increasingly fragmented way leads to the climax. This resolves in a recapitulation of the two themes stated separately in reverse order with the two river themes combined in the piano.

The development section thereby signifies the personal struggle between the two cultural identities which ultimately resolves in coming to terms with both in a seperate and unified manner in the recapitulation.