Composition

UNWRAPPING FORTUNE – a new opera

Synopsis:
Dinnertime approaches at the home of Grace and Simon Blumenkrantz, and Kwan Fai Luk delivers their order of Chinese food. Grace finds out that Kwan Fai’s parent’s delivery business (Gr8 Wok) is struggling because of a competitor that has proliferated a newly invented Chow Mein Sandwich. During the delivery, Kwan Fai secretly asks Ivy to meet him for a date after school the next day. She accepts. On their date, Ivy is given a fortune cookie with Lotto numbers which she plays on the way home. Grace is irate when Ivy arrives home later than usual and suspects that she was with Kwan Fai. Simon tries to calm her down. Ivy continues to date Kwan Fai and they experience the Chow Mein Sandwich together. Kwan Fai then goes missing, as he gets trapped for days in an elevator during his delivery shift. Ivy discovers some very exciting news for the family but this potentially life changing news comes with an ultimatum. The act ends with each party speculating about the future.

To see the libretto: bit.ly/2BRMg14

Characters:
Grace Blumenkrantz: mother, soprano (Estibaliz Martinez)
Simon Blumenkrantz: father, baritone (Brian J. Alvarado)
Ivy Blumenkrantz: daughter, soprano (Caroline Miller)
Kwan Fai Luk: delivery boy, tenor (Stephen Velasquez)

Accompanied by the Musikapiphany Ensemble, conducted by Alicia J. Lieu. Music and Libretto © Alicia J. Lieu 2017.

This is the first act of UNWRAPPING FORTUNE that had a reading at the MuSE Sounds of Arts Festival, November of 2017 (musefriends.org).

PASSACAGLIA: The movement that inspired my passacaglia is the amazing fourth movement of Brahms’ Fourth Symphony, which contains 30 variations and a glorious coda. Brahms had a beard and wrote very serious music. My Passacaglia is lighter in feel and smaller in form, and I don’t have a beard. In his fourth symphony, Brahms states a theme in his opening statement and then writes 30 variations, a coda, and a final statement of his theme. My piece starts with a more serene chorale in the brass, followed by four variations of the theme before transitioning into a fugue (inspired by the fugue in the second movement of Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony, Eroica) and ends with a coda that passes through a number of keys.

Recorded live at Flushing Town Hall (with a Space Grant) on November 14, 2015 for the Composers Collective with the Composers Collective Orchestra, Music Director David Štech. Concert Producer, Alicia Lieu. Conducted by Alicia Lieu.

BRONX ZOO PASTORALE: Bronx Zoo Pastorale was written for the dynamic viola duo Folie a Deux (www.fa2violas.com), is based on memories I have from my visit there. The park is an amazing display of wilderness in the concrete jungle. The piece opens with a short introduction and then musical descriptions follow. The Lovebirds, Mandrills, Jurassic Exhibit, Penguins, and a Pastorale. Several influences can be heard in this piece- some tango, some Beethoven, and some Stravinsky. Performed on February 13, 2015 at Flushing Town Hall.

SINFURIANETTA: Sinfurianetta (brass quintet) is an aggregate of Dvorak’s Furiant from his Czech Suite and Janacek’s Sinfonietta. A furiant is a dance that alternates between meters of 2 and 3. Janacek’s Sinfonietta started out as a brass fanfare for a sporting event in Czechoslovakia in 1925 and ended up as a little symphony that includes 9 trumpets in the instrumentation. The concept for Sinfurianetta is to integrate elements from both of the Czech composer’s pieces, alternating material without having too many clear cut sections in the form. And also without the use of 1/4 or 11/8 measures, a la Janacek, in order to make it easier to conduct and play. You’re welcome, David Štech (conductor). Performed on Nov 14, 2014 at the National Opera Center of America.

WAGNER IDOL: A chamber piece inspired by and written in homage to Richard Wagner. Influenced by Siegfried Idyll.

Performers: Madeleine Bouissou – Cello, Neil Johnson – Clarinet, Seann Trull – Horn, Mun-Tzung Wong – Piano, Alicia Lieu – Conductor

Spring Concert of the Composers’ Collective
May 15, 2014 at the National Opera Center, New York, NY

MaWeiHua: Piece for Tenor, Violin, and Piano is based on my experience of living abroad in China. It is a piece in three movements which utilize two Chinese-style folk tunes. The first movement is a musical drama containing a folk tune and an 8 note recurring theme which acts as neutral commentary of the drama. The second movement has two pentatonic folk tunes layered in the instruments while the tenor has a complementary, somewhat liturgical and modal line. The third movement contains a blend of the two folk tunes which get passed to all three parts, with the tenor finally singing one of the folk tunes. The text was written and compiled by Marc McFadyen, a New Zealander living in China. The biographical text is about his roommate, Ma WeiHua, a formerly legless and homeless beggar in China who was pulled from a life of misery and given new legs as well as a new life. This piece was premiered in Paris, France on July 28, 2004.

4 Hopkins Songs for Soprano and Piano

4 Hopkins Songs is a song cycle based on the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins. It was written for Raina Simons, who first approached me with the poetry. This piece became my Master’s thesis at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

The Four Dragons: A Puppet Show

This puppet show was created as an undergraduate project in the College of Creative Studies at UC Santa Barbara. It is based on a Chinese Folk Tale and narrated by Lea Leong Ringler.