Adeline Wong's Nexus for brass premieres at MPO

Catch the premiere of Adeline Wong's Nexus for low brass quintet, performed by the MPYO and MPO musicians at Dewan Filharmonik on Dec 14, Wednesday for their 2016/17 season.

Nexus is scored for alto trombone, tenor trombone, bass trombone and 2 bass tubas.

According to Wong, the work is a continuation of the ideas explored in her previous works Interweaves for string quartet and Longing, for quartet, solo cello, electronics and multimedia premiered in 2012.

Longing was first premiered as Lengt in Norway, a collaboration with Norwegian artist-photographer Are Andreassen on whose nature photography Wong's string quartet work was originally inspired.

Longing/Lengt gave birth to Interweaves, and now to Nexus, said Wong, who is preparing a lecture on this subject for Yong Siew Toh Conservatory early next year.

Wong explains in greater detail her latest opus, "Nexus is the second of a series of connected pieces that I am working on. 

“Interweaves (composed earlier this year) for string quartet marks the first piece of this series. In this process, musical materials used in the ending of a work are now utilized in the beginning of a new one.

“The ending of Interweaves is made up of repeated pizzicato, col legno and the reiteration of the interval of perfect 5ths.

“Nexus begins with repeated notes in the form of various tonguing played by the brass ensemble.  The repeated notes played with mutes, with rapid tonguing and dynamic changes, form an important texture that dominates the first part of the piece. 

“The piece slowly regains momentum and works up to faster rhythmic passages made up of perfect 5ths and continuation of repeated notes. 

“The last section of the work is reminiscent of the opening, with the use of mutes, rapid change of dynamics, but now it slows down the pace by using long sustaining notes.

“The sustained notes are made up of harmonies derived from the harmonic series heard in the earlier sections of the work,” explains Wong.

She says although the two works (Interweaves and Nexus) are connected, the different instrumentations and presentations (albeit based on earlier materials) makes each one a new listening experience. 

“How do you think the next piece of this series will begin after Nexus?  And for what instrument(s) will the next piece be written for?  We will have to wait and see,” says Wong enigmatically.

The concert also features works by Piazolla, Brahms, Borodin, Vivaldi and film composer Danny Elfman of 'The Simpsons' fame, with his score for A Nightmare Before Christmas heralding the festive season.