Published by
Project 440

Cynthia Wong

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Three Portraits

Performed by the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Conducted by Paul Zukofsky

I remember reading a poem about a person who, while dreaming, unlocked certain life truths, only to forget them upon waking.  This moment, in which one is suspended in wonderment in the face of mysterious yet daunting absence, when one is armed only with the power of questioning and the knowledge of no longer knowing—this is the moment that opens the piece.  It is from this sense of loss that all else springs: the restless uncertainty of the first movement; the meditative stillness of the second; and the muted madness of the third. 

One can perceive the portraits of Three Portraits as belonging to the same individual, yet taken from different moments of that person’s life. The perspectives that others have of the individual and that the individual has of the self clash at times clash, and at times they are inseparably combined.

Three Portraits is painted in dark and subtle colors, the orchestration more transparent than full, the proportions clearly defined, the interplay of lines both savage and delicate.

Additional excerpt from Three Portraits