Audio Samples & Notes: Mark Armanini
1. Excerpt from Sacred Flowers (1997, 2001) (16′)
Koto, Shakuhachi, Erhu, Pipa, Yangqin, Ruan and western chamber orchestra
Sacred Flowers was premiered at the November 2001 Sacred Music Festival, and was composed especially for the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra. The piece is in three movements: I. Jasmine II. Blackberry and III. Sunflowers and Marigolds. It is scored for 4 Chinese instruments – erhu, pipa, yangqin and ruan – plus 2 Japanese instruments – koto and shakuhachi – and western chamber orchestra. The form of the piece is a baroque style concerto grosso with the ethnic instruments as soloists. The title of the piece uses the image of a flower (an image common to everyone) as a musical offering to harmony and peace in the world.
2. Excerpt #1 from Incense and Flowers (2002) (20′)
Tabla, Guzheng, Erhu, Yangqin and intercultural orchestra
3. Excerpt #2 from Incense and Flowers (2002) (20′)
Incense and Flowers is a double concerto for harp, yangqin, and intercultural orchestra. The title refers not only to the visual images but also to the ethereal feelings the sounds of harp and yangqin evoke. Lightness and dazzling colour, an escape into the virtuosic, cascading blossoms of sensuous sound… The duo soloists reflect the dual lyric/rhythmic character of the music, creating a natural ebb and flow to the formal structure. The duo also represents the combination of two cultures and two distinct musical heritages.
The desire to compose Incense and Flowers came directly from working with the two soloists, Heidi Krutzen and Vivian Xia. The combination of harp and yangqin, flowing and fluid much like incense, directly inspired the opening melody. It is this flow of sound that I most identify with the spiritual or sacred. The art of musical performance is the sharing of a common spiritual experience. Incense and Flowers is an offering of music An offering to increase the beauty in this world.
Mark Armanini was raised, educated and lives in Vancouver, Canada and holds a Bmus (1981) and Mmus (1984) in composition from UBC. Since 1989 Mark has been composing for various combinations of Chinese, Asian, and Western instruments, and has received numerous commissions and awards for his work. Mark’s catalogue includes of over 60 works for choir, solo voice, chamber and orchestral ensembles; his work has been performed by the CBC Radio Orchestra, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Edmonton Symphony, the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra, the BC Chinese Orchestra, Orchid Ensemble and Silk Road. Mark’s ‘Vancouver style’ is noticeable in his several concertos: …of Wind and Water for Pipa; Concerto for Erhu; Concerto for Yangqin; Dance of Many Colours for two Dan Bau, and Incense and Flowers, a double concerto for Yangqin and Harp with intercultural orchestra. Mark is an associate composer of the Canadian Music Centre and since 1994 has been a composition instructor at Capilano University in North Vancouver.