Peng Liu | Photo: Peng LiuPeng Liu, born in 1986, studied composition at the Sichuan Conservatory of Music (2006-2015), where he earned his bachelor and master’s degree studying with Professor Chang Yingzhong. He is currently a doctoral student of composition at the Music College of Capital Normal University in Beijing under the supervision of composer-pianist Gao Ping. His works have won many awards, including the Excellence Award of the 2nd China National Percussion Composition Competition, the Third Prize of the 7th and 13th SunRiver New Music Competition, the First Prize of Sichuan Opera Music Competition and several awards in the competition of ASEAN Music Week and Traditional Music Festival. His work includes orchestral music, chamber music, electronic music and dramatic music, and has been performed by groups such as the Teana Zheng Ensemble in Chengdu, The Jian Chamber Orchestra in Beijing, the New Zealand Trio, the New Zealand Quartet, the PEP (piano and erhu project) in Toronto and the Kammer Musek Veräin Lëtzebuerg. Peng has been selected for support by the China National Art Foundation for two consecutive years in the Sichuan Opera Music Talents Program (2017) and the Music Theory Research Program (2018). As a researcher and a music critic, he has also published several articles in academic journals. Peng is currently interested in exploring the mixture of traditional Chinese opera and the theme of spirits with Western compositional techniques.
“Eclipse II (2018)” for flute, clarinet, percussion and string quintet
Photo: Peng LiuEclipse II was composed in 2018. The title refers literally to the changing phases of the moon and to the quiet slipping away of time. From my perspective, time is two-sided. On the one hand, it maintains a static character in the microscopic view, making it difficult to be measured. On the other hand, comparing it with a constant object such as the moon, the scale of time is clearly visible in the macroscopic view, in which every waxing and waning movement and every recurrent cycle records the process of life, like the growing rings of a tree. Eclipse II consists of six sections that must be played continually and correspond to the phases of the moon, and a series of pitches extracted from natural harmonic serials based on the pitch C, which can also be combined into an important chord throughout the whole sections. Fragments of sonority superimposed by several semitones and the symmetrical form language are both essential elements of the musical construction. In the second section, a fixed twelve-tone sequence expresses the changing phases of the moon, and turns into established textures in the subsequent sections, metamorphosing and fusing. The significance of structure begins to take form through this mechanism. Changing phrases refer to passing time and the timbre of the harmony seems to reveal a feeling of nostalgia for the past. Finally, an inter-connective network, integrated into the eight different sections, attempts to capture the listeners’ flow of memory.