In Whose Mouth, the Stars
For String Trio (violin, viola, cello). Duration: 7'20"-8'
Version For Wind Quartet (flute, clarinet, horn, bassoon).
Arrangement commissioned by Englewinds.
Premiered by Englewinds on October 25, 2019, in Teaneck, New Jersey.
Version For String Quartet.
Arrangement commissioned by the Carpe Diem String Quartet.
String trio version: Recorded at Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival (VT), featuring Daniel Chong, violin, Burchard Tang, viola, and Priscilla Lee, cello.
The story goes that when Krishna, the legendary incarnation of Lord Vishnu, was a
child, he once was caught eating sand. Concerned, his mother Yashoda scolded him
and pried his mouth open. There, instead of dirt, she beheld the entire universe and
beyond, with all its galaxies, with every element of the earth, the weather, the human
mind and its senses, her own village and she herself.
This piece was inspired by that fascinating moment, told in the Bhagavata Purana. I
imagined it through in different melodic placements of Raag Charukeshi -- a raag
that holds longing, tension, transcendence -- with help from the wonderful variety
of timbres and ranges that these instruments produces. My goal in retelling this story, sonically, involved the manipulation of sound "perspective," the extremes of near and far -- holding both illusion and imagination. I wanted to play that narrative game, Krishna's leela, showing how small our conflicts really are, in the grand scheme of the Universe: even smaller than sand.