I have completed the transcription of a work of mine for brass octet that I will enter into a competition, so now I am ready to begin work on another piece. A former colleague of mine, Andy Wen, asked me to write a piece for him to premiere at the World Saxophone Congress to be held in July 2009 in Bangkok, Thailand. Naturally, my first thought was to try to use Thai folk music in the composition. After researching Thai folk music on the internet, I found it troublesome to incorporate because the timbres used are very unique and do not translate well for solo saxophone. I then began to researched Thai history and came up with the following ideas:
Title: Lan Na Thai (translation - Million Thai Rice Fields)
Instrumentation: Alto Saxophone and Pre-recorded Sounds
I. Sukhothai - Refers to the period between 1248 and 1438 and is known as "the dawn of happiness". This was an ideal state, a land of plenty, and peaceful. I envision a peaceful movement.
II. Ayutthaya - This is the period from 1351 - 1757. It was characterized by wealth and wars with Burma. I envision this movement to be fast and violent.
III. The Chakri Dynasty - 1782 to the present - General Chakri, also known as Rama I, was the first king of the Chakri Dynasty. He moved the capital to Bangkok. This dynasty witnessed Thailand becoming a modern nation and moving from a absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy. I envision the movement being triumphant in character.
I plan to use composed sounds that are characteristic of Thai music. The sounds will include various percussion, a marimba-like instrument, oboe-like instruments, and flute-like instruments.
As you can see, my inspiration is different from what I originally intended, but still will incorporate Thai folk music. I still marvel at the internet because I am able to sit in my own house and see and hear examples of Thai folk music thanks to utube and amazon.com.
I have a busy concert weekend with the York Symphony as we are doing Mahler's 5th Symphony, so my creative energies are going towards that. I hope to begin actually composing this piece next week.