ALEXINA LOUIE (b. 1949)
Bringing the Tiger Down from the Mountain II 1992
All this country’s major new music ensembles and many performers have commissioned Alexina’s work. The Canadian Music Council named her Composer of the Year in 1986 and she is a Juno Award Winner for her orchestral work Songs of Paradise.
The wide variety of influences demonstrated in Alexina’s music range from her Chinese heritage to her theoretical and historical studies. The music of China, Japan, Korea, India and Indonesia is of deep significance and she has spent some time studying the ch’in, an ancient Chinese zither. The principles of yin and yang are often explored and in a single work we might find extremes of dark and light or introspection and extroversion. A voracious investigator of scores, recordings, literature, Poetry and visual arts she has developed a uniquely personal, expressive style which has at its root a blending of east and west.
Alexina made a big impression on me when she joined the TSO on our tour of the Far East. Her exotic penchant for dressing in bright, dramatic colours gave her the appearance of a dazzling tropical bird next to the formal black of the other musicians on stage. I find the atmosphere of Bringing the Tiger… completely absorbing and love the contrast between this and the other works presented on this disc. There is a great deal of freedom in this music for the performer to establish the timing of passages and sections and I enjoy Alexina’s willingness to trust her interpreters in this fashion.
The composers note in the score tells us:
The title of this composition is derived from that of a Tai-Chi position. An extremely passionate solo section based on glissandi of minor thirds contrasts with the meditative quality required in a passage where cello and piano alternate slow lines. The glissando section, marked ‘senza misura’ frees the performer from the bar line and demands that imagination and sensitivity be used to shape the passage. The duality of the yin/yang principle is embodied in the various contrasting characteristics of the piece.