BLOG: 'Peach Blossom Garden'

Last night my new piece for harp quartet, 'Peach Blossom Garden', was performed in the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) Chamber Music Festival 2016. The festival was influenced by Mendelssohn’s ‘songs without words’ and therefore ‘Peach Blossom Garden’, like the Mendelssohn, focuses on the creation of imagery.   The visual inspiration for the piece was taken from the sculptural art of the Yangjiang Group with their work ‘Calligraphy Peach Blossom Garden’, 2004, which I saw at an exhibition in the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, earlier this year. They adapted the ancient art of Chinese calligraphy painting into a highly expressive art form by creating a blooming, utopian garden, which results in strong visual imagery. The piece focuses on creating a delicate textural sound landscape with the combination of harmonic and non-harmonic tones creating the sense of abstract falling blossoms. Built out of a cycling harmonic progression, the piece replicates the continual drifting of the flowers through different textural treatments resulting in subtle variations in atmosphere.  I really enjoyed writing the piece and the performers commented that they equally enjoyed playing it, which for me is always rather important when writing a new work!