UC San Diego's Department of Music

January 31, 2012

  UCSD composer Lei Liang's Verge is the centerpiece when the ensemble Palimpsest performs under the direction of conductor Steven Schick. Also on the program: a new work by grad composer Chen-Hui Jen, plus Bártok's Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta; and Schick's performance of Brian Ferneyhough's Bone Alphabet on its 20th anniversary. Tickets are FREE for students on hour before the concert.

Liang explains the genesis of Verge: "This piece was composed on the verge of an exciting moment in my life: the birth of our son Albert Shin Liang. Albert's musical name, A, B (Bb), E, and D, (re) asserts itself in different configurations and disguises as basic harmonic and melodic material. His heartbeat also makes an appearance in the form of changing tempi and pulsations. In a sense, I composed the piece in order to make a musical amulet for Albert. On a technical level, I was fascinated by the dialectical relationship between the convergence and divergence of musical voices found in the traditional heterophonic music of Mongolia. There, the functionality of a principal line and its accompaniment can interchange, and often not synchronously. The 18 strings are divided into antiphonal groups: left versus right, front versus rear. They diverge into various sub-ensembles, quartets, and also appear as 18 virtuosic soloists. Near the end, they converge into a singular voice."

Verge was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic and its Music Director, Alan Gilbert. It premiered on December 17, 2009 in Symphony Space at the inaugural concert of the Philharmonic's new music series CONTACT!, conducted by Magnus Lindberg.

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