Wu (1999) by Leilei Tian
for flute, clarinet, violin, viola, cello, piano, and percussion

Wu is a Chinese word which means "to feel, to comprehend and be awake to the truth." It is often used in the Chinese philosophy, Buddhism and also daily life. We often say that "to understand a thing itself, the best way is to feel it and comprehend by yourself, but not be told or taught by the others". That is called the sense of wu. And the nature of a truth is actually very simple, but usually we are not able to see it through its complex and confusing appearance (we may call it illusion), so we need to wu. In this piece, I try to express what I understand about wu and what I hear from my personal wu of the sound. Based on this idea, I aim to display a transparent texture with a poetic sense of concentration.

Being technically as simple as possible, I use less complex notes, rhythms, and form, but emphasize exploring the possibilities of the timbres of different instruments and their combination. Besides, to have a free but well self-controlled musical timing is very important for the piece. That gives a necessary space for the poetic concept and its expression.

— L. T.    

[from program for March 17, 2003 concert]