Instrumentation Erhu, zheng (21-string), and percussion
Percussion requirements marimba (low A) and opera gong (ideally) tuned to F#4. The opera gong is played with two mallets, one in the centre and the other on the rim.

Timing 9′

Composed 2023

Commmissioned by Orchid Ensemble (Lan Tung, erhu; Dailin Hsieh, zheng; Jonathan Bernard, percussion) with support from the SOCAN Foundation

World Premiere Upcoming in 2024

Programme Notes

When sea water that is home to the bioluminescent algae Noctiluca scintillans is disturbed, these micro-organisms produce a blue glow known as “blue tears.” In recent years, in part because of sea waters warming due to climate change and man-made agricultural fertilizers leaching into rivers, there has been an increase in blooms of noctiluca around the world, in particular in the East China Sea and around Taiwan. While the glowing blue water is a stunning natural effect—even a tourist attraction—when the algae proliferate, they can become toxic to other marine life, and create dead zones by depleting the oxygen in the water. Thus noctiluca can be both beautiful and dangerous. This work for a trio of erhu, zheng and percussion explores both sides of noctiluca, ranging from colourful undulating ensemble passages to expressive laments with a threatening undercurrent.

Noctiluca was commissioned by Orchid Ensemble with support from the SOCAN Foundation.

PDF perusal score

Noctiluca perusal

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