Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Beyond Life II for orchestra
by Ng, Wah Hei, D.M.A., University of Missouri - Kansas City, 2010, 69; 3416392
Abstract (Summary)

Beyond Life is the title of a series of works that I completed in 2008. This series is a response to two recurring themes in the novel called Norwegian Wood written by Japanese writer Haruki Murakami, which tackles the sorrow and beauty associated with death. Rather than having strict programmatic parallels in Beyond Life II, this work is indeed a mystical reflection of my experience while reading the novel. The title refers to how the death of a loved one has become part of another's life. Moreover, death and life are not mutually exclusive—the death of a loved one could somehow determine how those he or she knew would live the rest of their lives.

The music is divided into four sections. The opening section begins with a wistful oboe melody, representing the remote and cherished memories and echoes the flashback narration employed in Norwegian Wood. Here, the 37-year old protagonist sits in a plane; suddenly overwhelmed by the feelings of loss and nostalgia, he looks back on his days as a freshman university student living in Tokyo. The opening motive (E - C-sharp - B) from this melody is further developed and transformed in the latter sections. There is a transition leading to an exciting section which is developed rhythmically using changing meters and metric modulations; this segment is in stark contrast with the pervious section and the next one, which is static and features a transparent orchestral texture and color.

In the final section, materials from the second section come back and eventually develop into a vibrant orchestral texture created by frequent meter changes and accelerations in tempo accompanied by increasing dynamics. The oboe melody is then resurrected in the coda, and the music ends with a surprising chord, suspending tension in mid air.

Although it belongs to the same series, Beyond Life I, which is scored for solo violin, only shares the same source of inspiration with Beyond Life II. However, these two works are not intended to be performed side by side, and instead, must be musically treated as independent works.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Yi, Chen
School: University of Missouri - Kansas City
School Location: United States -- Missouri
Source: DAI-A 71/08, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Music
Keywords: Beyond Life II, Orchestral music, Original composition
Publication Number: 3416392
ISBN: 978-1-124-10776-9
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