To the Ice Mountains (2020) by Hyo-shin Na
for oboe, clarinet, viola, and cello
Earplay commission

I began to imagine this piece while I was reading Franz Kafka's short story The Bucket Rider: "Coal all spent; the bucket empty; the shovel useless; the stove breathing out cold; the room freezing..." The narrator is desperate to survive the winter and must beg the coal dealer to give him just a shovelful of coal. How does he get to the coal dealer's cellar? He rides his bucket, and floats high above the coal dealer sitting at his table. But the coal dealer's wife takes over and waves her apron, wafting the narrator away as he shouts insults at her. "And with that I ascend into the regions of the ice mountains and am lost forever."

To the Ice Mountains was commissioned by Earplay.

— H.-s. N.