When I visited my homeland of Taiwan in the winter of 2016, I received a telephone call from the Ensemble Kontrapunkte of Vienna asking me to tell it immediately what the title of the work it had commissioned from me was to be. A poetic image emerged quite spontaneously: I feel like a migratory bird, fly year after year ten thousand kilometres away from Vienna over the Alps and across Eastern Europe, Arabia, Russia, the Mongolian steppes, the Tibetan plateau, South-East Asia and the Pacific in order to spend the cold winter in the Southern Hemisphere; in spring I once again fly ten thousand kilometres as I return to the north. During this flight my imagination plays with the different landscapes I traverse: what could a migratory bird espy from its "bird's perspective", when I, looking out of the small window of an aircraft, often see only clouds and stars. In this composition I bring together or unite many different sounds and musical elements that symbolize the various geographical regions. These disparate elements are held together by a few central notes, fixed harmonic structures, a "migratory bird theme", a "Europe theme" and a "13-note row". The Chinese arched zither, or zheng, represents an exotic bird that by chance has landed in this Western ensemble.
Vienna, April 2018
Translation: Michael Talbot