#Musique: MAY (1972), Percussion – NGUYEN THIEN DAO

May, for percussion (1972) –  Sylvio Gualda, percussion

May by Nguyen Thien Dao was written in 1972 and is in seven sections, each of which is strongly characterized. The first, with its metallic resonances, seems to emerge from the abyss of time. The keyboard passage calls for considerable agility on the part of the performer, who has to play directly upon the piano strings. « Vietnamese Night », preceded by a mass of notes which are repeated tirelessly, fortissimo, conjures up the true night of Vietnam. It is interspersed with bells to mark the subdivisions. The skin passage contrasts with the brass one and the whole work merges together in a logical unfolding of sound which is an exploration not only of sonority but also of silence. The rhythms used are most unusual, either very slow or very fast, corresponding to a conception of time that is more oriental than Western. Dao calls it a « cosmic conception of oriental rhythm » and admits to having « gone to extremes in quest of silence and of strange, unfamiliar and even fantastic sonorities » in order to create a « new kind of poetics for percussion instruments, involving a new way of listening to the phenomena of sound ». –Anthony Laude


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