《破繭》Metamorphosis (2016)

metamorphosis

For large orchestra (3333/ 4331/ timp+2/ str)

Commissioned by Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra

  • Premiered by Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Aldert Vermeulen in Concert Hall, Hong Kong Cultural Centre on 7, January, 2017.

Click here to view full concert details.

“You’ve done a fantastic job. I think that you orchestrated really well. I think that sometimes for new music I really can not get, but with you, I got immediately in your world… The orchestration is wonderful.” —Jaap van Zweden on the premiere of the work

Programme Notes

Artists often like to develop their works around the concept of “metamorphosis”, but the understanding of “metamorphosis” varies among people. With Kafka’s “Metamorphosis”, people often regard the title as the “change of form”, rather than an “improved change”—because the protagonist wakes up one day and realises himself being transformed into a giant insect. Such transformation differs from people’s normal understanding of the term “metamorphosis”, which is often the process to transform something from an immature state to a relatively more mature state. However, Kafka’s protagonist transforms from the family’s support into a gigantic burden in just one night. In the reader’s eyes, it seems as if the title “Metamorphosis” refers more to the transformation of the protagonist’s family, which turns well after the protagonist’s death, rather than the protagonist himself.

This work, entitled “Metamorphosis”, is to be paired up with its Chinese name, “Po Kan”, which literally means “to break through a cocoon”. It depicts the moment of how a troublesome matter resolves, and the short instance right after the process. Similar to how a worm transforms into a cocoon, and then to a butterfly, after the process of metamorphosis, the short instance of beauty gradually changes, and eventually the butterfly faces death. In Kafka’s “Metamorphosis”, the protagonist’s family seems to have a bright life after the protagonist dies, but actually no one knows what happens to them next. Nonetheless, everyone enjoys the moment of the transformation.

“Metamorphosis” is commissioned and premiered by the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre on 7 January, 2017.

古今中外的作家、作曲家,都喜歡以「Metamorphosis」命題。但各人對「Metamorphosis」的理解,都甚有不同。以卡夫卡的經典小說「Metamorphosis」為例,中譯版多以《變形記》,而非《蛻變》命題,因為故事主人翁從夢中醒來,便發覺自己變成一隻巨型的昆蟲。這種從人變蟲的形態轉換,有別於一向大眾對「蛻變」的認知——如蛹變蝶,多半是向好的方面發展。在卡夫卡筆下的主人翁,卻只花了一個晚上,就從家庭支柱變成負擔,一直到他逝去他的家庭才重拾光明。以讀者的角度,不免會懷疑卡夫卡所指的「Metamorphosis」,其實更可能是指故事主人翁的家庭,由黑暗走出光明的蛻變,而非主人翁本身從人變成昆蟲的「變形」。

本曲以「Metamorphosis」命題,配以中文的《破繭》,乃希望描繪一件事情由糾結變得輕省的一剎那,與這個過程後續的短暫時間。就如由蟲變蛹、由蛹變蝶,在蛻變的過程結束後,存在的美好時光稍縱即逝,蝴蝶即將面對生存、面對死亡。亦如《變形記》小說內的家庭,在故事結束時轉換環境,看似美好,但後來發生的事,實際上無人知曉。然而,無論旦夕禍福,起碼在當刻,大家都享受那破繭而出的感覺。

《破繭》由香港管弦樂團委約,於2017年1月7日在香港文化中心音樂廳作世界首演。

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