for sting quartet
After I wake up from a fun and interesting dream, I always look back on the dream and try to remember how the dream started and ended.
At times, I am deeply immersed into my thoughts for hours after I wake up to remember my dream.
I came to know about an artwork from the Joseon Dynasty that has a story behind it that is very similar to such experiences of mine.
On the night of April 20th, 1447, Prince Anpyeong had a very mysterious dream. In the dream, he was walking on the path, following extremely grotesque sceneries, and finally reached a heavenly place (paradise) full of beautiful peach blossoms. Because the dream was very unusual, he wrote it down as soon as he woke up to remember the dream. Then, he called An Gyeon (the painter in the royal house at the time), described to him all about the dream, and ordered him to create a painting based on his story. The result is the „Dream Journey to the Peach Blossom Land“, the greatest masterpiece among all existing art works from the Joseon Dynasty.
I have had a different sort of impression from this painting than any other paintings from the Joseon Dynasty. There are splendid colors and expressions that were never found in the Joseon Dynasty landscape paintings before, the mysterious and unrealistic atmosphere with not a single person in it. However, the most unique thing about the painting is that four different perspectives are very distinctive yet harmonious. I was fascinated with the painting, and the background story of Prince Anpyeong reminded me of my own habit to remember my dreams. I felt even more connected to the painting, and decided to compose a piece to express the emotion in my own language.
Dreams are mostly vague and inconsistent. Thus in this piece, themes and stories about dream are mixed together like a memory of a dream one can never recall in a correct order. An Gyeon, the painter from 400 years ago, used four different perspectives in his depiction of the heavenly land to express the bizarre quality of dreams. I composed my piece as a string quartet, with four different instruments are harmonized like a good painting, in order to express the four perspectives that are harmonious yet very distinctive. Furthermore, I tried to expand my expression of the four perspectives through different tones, rhythms, and forms instead of simply including four different instruments.
My desire to remember a mysterious dream forever, and the Dream Journey to the Peach Blossom Land that were born through the dream, the masterpiece that had reminded me of my own habits through its background story were what I attempted to express them through my own language of music.