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渡:感懷七闋,作品 13


[sample score]


Alternative title: Transmigration, Op. 13

Text by: Suyin Mak

Language: Cantonese

Year of composition: 2022

Instrumentation: medium voice, piano

Movement names and duration:

I. 一葉輕舟 (In the same boat) (3½ mins)

II. 二話不說 (Newspeak) (2 mins)

III. 三緘其口 (Home, bound) (4½ mins)

IV. 四海為家 (At sea) (4 mins)

V. 五味俱全 (Flavour allsorts) (3 mins)

VI. 六月飛霜 (Strength in numbers) (3 mins)

VII. 七彩繽紛 (Grapes of plenty) (4 mins)

Total: 24 mins

Commissioned by: Keith Pun

Dedicatee: The People of Hong Kong

Related work: 渡:感懷七闋,作品 13a


World Premiere:

Keith Pun (cttr), Janice Tsui (pno)

2022 Jun 2・Recital: Beyond the Dream・Holy Sepulchre London, UK

《渡:感懷七闋》or Transmigration is a Cantonese-language song cycle with texts by Suyin Mak. The songs explore the experiences of the Hong Kong diaspora and how their memories of the past both define their cultural identity and help develop new ways of being and becoming. The work’s Cantonese title draws upon the multiple meanings of the word 「渡」: on one hand, 「渡」 means ‘passage’, the transition to a different way of life after displacement from home; on the other, it refers to「超渡」, a ritual that releases the dead from the cycle of eternal suffering while serving as an act of remembrance for the living. The English title, Transmigration, similarly refers to both the act of exodus and the concept that the spiritual essence of a living being can begin a new life in a new physical form.

Three songs in the style of the Lied anchor the structural nodes of the cycle at both of its ends and in the centre. Each pair of the two songs in between consists of one that is satirical and another that employs more aleatory syntaxes. The work is bound together by the four-note motif that opens the cycle, reappearing in its many guises.

*** Redacted for security considerations ***

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