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Tsui Mei-ling Meilina's "Frost"

【聲影集:映照香港 SOUND-IMAGination: Hong Kong Reflections】

//特寫 Feature//

Tsui Mei-ling Meilina's Frost

I. Q&A

1) Briefly introduce your commissioned work.

Frost is a 2-minute piece written for Xiao, Tenor Sheng, Er Hu and Yang Qin. It is based on a photograph of the Nina Tower in Tsuen Wan and its surroundings at night taken from a less urban area in Hong Kong.

2) How did the image inspire you to write this piece?

The orange-tainted sky, the still, unobtrusive boats and dark waters had a profound influence on the slow pace and harmonic language used, especially in the beginning of the piece. The contrast to that, the lights from modern skyscrapers and ‘beehive’ residential buildings across the waters inspired different musical ideas which altered the mood of the piece to something more lively and dynamic.

3) All visual elements of this concert, which served as the initial inspiration for the composers, will be projected on screen during the performance. What is the difference between composing with and without a specified visual image?

My musical interpretation of frost would have been very different had I not seen a specified visual image of it. Pictures have incredible power in evoking emotions, a single look at a picture can instantly affect your mood. You could also imagine yourself standing in the same spot as the photographer. For my case, I imagined myself standing alone on a shore facing the Nina Tower in Tsuen Wan on a cold winter night, feeling the winter chill blowing against my face, listening to the sounds of anchored boats rocking on small waves, trying to find peace in this remote part of Hong Kong but at the same time marvelling at the busy lights of the urban area from across the waters. The picture serves as a guide, and in a way it dictates what the observer should think about or feel. It could evoke many different emotions or it could evoke very little emotions, it all depends on what the focus, layers, and scope of the picture are. Composing music without the aid of visual image, on the other hand, would just mean that I am free to express things without limiting myself to the inspiration that I get from a picture.

II. About the Composer - Tsui Mei-ling Meilina

Composing habit: 1) Trying out different ideas on the piano and jotting them down on paper

2) Pacing up and down or laying in the foetal position because I am stuck 3) Extending or creating variations of the ideas 4) Then somehow miraculously finishing the piece with lightning speed.

Favorite place in Hong Kong:TST Promenade

Favorite director/ movie: Peter Jackson/ the Lord of the Rings trilogy


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