In Chinese philosophy and cosmology, the Five Phases (Wu Xing) are a taxonomy of the cycles and processes of the natural world. Every phase follows, overcomes or generates another: spring follows winter, wood feeds fire, fire melts metal. The flow of energy from one phase to another can be expansive or destructive.
In Inner Phases, this constant flow of energy is made tangible by the pulse-streams that form between the Western and Chinese instruments, often with a dynamic sliding in pitch that recalls the contours of Chinese tonal speech.
This piece is dedicated to the New Zealand String Quartet and the Forbidden City Chamber Orchestra, and is in honour of my mentor Jack Body who commissioned the work.
Inner Phases was written with the support of Creative New Zealand and Victoria University of Wellington.