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Three Scenes of Childhood (Preview)

by Vincent Ho | Piano

consisting

consisting of the live recordings of The Shaman and Arctic Symphony featuring the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Dame Evelyn Glennie, and the Nunavut Sivuniksavut Performers. The Shaman went on to receive a 2018 Juno Award nomination for Classical Composition of the Year, with Arctic Symphony landing Ho another Classical Composition of the Year nomination in 2019. In 2015 Canadian piano trio Gryphon Trio commissioned a new work from Ho. The resulting work, Gryphon Realms, was premiered in December of that year, with each movement based on the personalities of each player of the Gryphon Trio, along with gryphon mythology. Ho has recently explored elements of Chinese music and culture as part of his compositional development. In 2016 a co-commission from the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra and the National Chinese Orchestra Taiwan resulted in Ho’s work for Chinese Orchestra, Journey of the Red Phoenix. The following year, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra commissioned and gave the premiere performance of Ho’s Rejuvenation: A Taoist Journey for narrator, solo pipa, and orchestra, featuring renowned Chinese pipa player Wu Man. In 2019, Ho was the recipient of the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publisher of Canada’s Jan V. Matejcek New Classical Music Award. Ho’s music is rich and energetic—a unique integration of influences. His work often demonstrates the capacity to coherently synthesise and convey the felt inspiration incited by a multitude of artistic mediums. This amalgamation of influences is evidenced in Four Paintings by Leestemaker (2005), which musically construes the ‘murky,’ unsettling qualities communicated in the paintings of Leestemaker, and Arctic Symphony, where electroacoustic material is utilised in order to more effectively allow the listener to intuit the natural soundscapes from which the work emerged, as well as the sense of wonder experienced by the composer. Additionally, traditional classical music forms and the physical properties of the instruments and ensembles for which Ho writes are all inherent influences in his diverse and creative output. His music is sensual, sonorous and richly textured, and Ho gives considerable attention to the audience’s experience of his intricate sound-worlds. Latest information about the composer may be found at www.vinceho.com. PE153 – 4

Three Scenes of Childhood (1997) I. Playtime II. An Afternoon Nap III. The Tantrum Though Ho’s Three Scenes of Childhood is inspired by a day in the life of a young child, a formidable amount of skill is required to articulate the child-like qualities the composer evokes across the work’s three movements. Rapid waves of chromaticism reflect the feverish busyness of play (Playtime), moods changing with the wind, while restless time signatures keep things tumbling forward. Fists and forearms are employed as little tempers flare (The Tantrum), while elsewhere respite is found in the drift of sleep (An Afternoon Nap), notes twinkling rubato-like in the piano’s upper register. The composer writes: Three Scenes of Childhood was written while in my second year at the University of Calgary. During this time, my mother was working as a nanny, taking care of children aged four and under. On any given day, there would be at least one child in the house. After three years of this, I had grown accustomed to having babies around the house. This was the initial inspiration for Three Scenes of Childhood: watching children run around (Playtime), falling asleep or waking up (An Afternoon Nap), or simply being themselves (The Tantrum). The performance techniques that are used in The Tantrum (hammering the keyboard with palms and fists) were inspired by observing the children’s first attempts at “playing” the piano. This work is dedicated to my sister, Rena Ho. Three Scenes of Childhood received its premiere performance from Vincent Ho at the Boris Roubakine Theatre, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, in March of 1998. Performance note • Octave lines and accidentals apply only to the staff on which they appear. PE153 – 5

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Vincent Ho Piano