For Symphony Orchestra
Mind the Gap is a semi-autobiographical work that captures my current identity and state of mind as an immigrant. ‘Please mind the gap’ is a sonic element shared between the soundscapes of my hometown, Hong Kong, and famously of my adopted homeland, the UK. The ‘gap’ in the title can indeed refer to the cultural diﬀerences between the two societies: with the historical ties and mutual inﬂuences, you wouldn’t say there is a chasm between them; yet it is always the tiny faux-pas that you fall into.
This piece is also inspired by a diptych by Price Chu, seen in a Manchester exhibition. A thoroughly monochromatic yet overwhelmingly dynamic piece, the abstract shapes depict two monoliths — representing the superpowers that have dictated Hong Kong’s past and present — clashing into each other, and the powerlessness of being stuck in the middle.
Mind the Gap, in turn, focuses on two simple pieces of musical material. Despite the dissonant clashes, the piece shows that either side inherently has its own beauty; it’s through belligerence that the grotesque leads to mutual destruction. Meanwhile, the central protagonist remains alone and powerless in the middle of everything.
2 Flutes, 1 doubling piccolo
2 Clarinets in B♭, 1 doubling Bass Clarinet in B♭
4 French Horns in F
3 Trumpets in B♭
Timpani (with cymbal and bow)
Percussion I (Glockenspiel, Tubular Bells, Cymbals)
Percussion II (Triangle, Bass Drum)
Composed September 2023
Premiered 21 October 2023
University of Manchester Symphony Orchestra