Five States of Change

Five States of Change was commissioned by Kunstfactor for the 4th section of the Dutch National Brass Band Championships (NBK) 2011. (The title of the brass band version is Evolution) It is dedicated to Jappie Dijkstra and the Music Information Centre (MUI), Arnhem, Holland, in acknowledgement of their outstanding work in developing brass band repertoire.

The composer writes:-

The idea for the piece came when I was reading an article about a branch of Chinese philosophy which is abbreviated as Wu Xing*, which has no exact translation but can mean, for example, five elements, five phases or five states of change. It is central to all elements of Chinese thought, including science, philosophy, medicine and astrology, and in simple terms tries to create various cyclic relationships between five elements in all walks of life.

An example is:-

Earth Metal Water Wood Fire (Earth) etc.

where (in one cycle) earth bears metal, metal changes to liquid (water) when heated, water helps trees grow, wood burns to create fire, fire produces ash (earth) and the cycle continues.

I was particularly interested in the cycle of emotions:-

Meditation Sorrow Fear Anger Joy (Meditation) etc. 

and thought this cyclic principle would provide an effective emotional journey for a piece of music. So Evolution has five equal sections which loosely characterise this emotional cycle. I have tried to make the music grow organically, with minimal repetition, and each movement evolves from the musical elements at the end of the previous one, with the opening material appearing, transformed, at the end of the piece to complete the cycle.

*in full Wu zhong liu xing zhi chi or the five types of chi dominating at different times