• Tan Dun
  • Circle with Four Trios, Conductor and Audience (1992)

  • G Schirmer Inc (World)
  • pf, perc, db; man, gtr, hp; vn, va, vc; pic, ob, bcl
  • 14 min

Programme Note

Composer note:
I imagine this piece as a ritual in which the musicians, conductor, and audience all take part. In a circle formation which encompasses the entire hall, the conductor acts as high priest. Space, sound, and silence are the critical elements.

I believe silence has its own set of dynamics. The idea is similar to the Taoist concept that the greatest sound, the one with the deepest meaning, may only exist in silence — that nothingness is all. I feel this strongly when I arrange the rests in much of my music.

Chants from the Epitaph of Seikilos, a first-century AD fragment of Greek music, serve as a pattern throughout Circle. The first time I heard this music, I felt captured by its sense of remoteness. I cannot describe what affected me so deeply, but the inspiration resulted in this piece.

— Tan Dun