This work was composed while living on the large and mostly rural island of Lantau, in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. In recent years the Lantau landscape has undergone dramatic transformations—tourism and transportation developments that can be seen from space, and an exponentially increasing population—with more changes planned for its future. This piece acknowledges Lantau’s forests and mountains, beaches and villages, as it evolves and adapts to the pressures of the modern world.
Watch video from the premiere performance by GHOSTLIGHT Chorus and violist Erin Wight:
Hear an excerpt from our studio recording:
The score and viola part can be purchased from Gumroad (US Letter size PDFs only).
Looking down on where we live from Lo Fu Tau, I regret that they had to build here. I feel that my arrival in this world must have driven out so many beings, like the ones who made their homes here among the camphor trees. Catching sight of Tin Tan Daai Fat1 from Kau Nga Ling, I imagine he has always been here, though some thirty years ago he could not be seen, his disciples climbing quietly on foot. Now their buses crowd Keung Shan Road, their voices buzzing over Nei Lak Shan. Pok To Yan and Por Kai Shan in those days did not know this procession of airplanes or the haze-dusted scar on which they land. Lantau, Tai Yu Shan2! I would forbid these intrusions and return to you your solitude. But now we are so many… and we need sturdy walls to protect us from your typhoons; and we need daily meals you cannot provide; and we need connections to other peoples and places. You will submit to our necessities and bear it in silence. Your beauty, imprinted on the minds of those who love you, will be with us for our short lives.
- Temple of Heaven Buddha, the 112-ft bronze statue completed in 1993 on Ngong Ping Plateau. A major tourist attraction, it can be seen from miles away on a clear day.
- The modern Chinese name for Lantau Island, Tai Yu Shan means “big island mountain”.