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Sound Recording (Musical)
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5944 KB, 1 sound recording (6.18 min.) audio/x-wav
Though metered, the opening harmonica flourish is intended to be extemporized, as evident in the enforced rhythmic grouping of the notes within the constraints of a 2/4 meter. This is also consistent with the solo ending from bar 346 onwards. Incidentally, the soloist’s harmonic adjunct in 6/8 meter from bars 360-64 betrays Leong’s penchant for chiaroscuro effects. The liveliness of the first movement is brought out by the jaunty dactylic rhythms in both the harmonica and piano parts. Leong challenges the soloist with melodic and harmonic writing which encompass the range of two octaves. The disjunct melodic line also poses a challenge for the player as it skips about without much predictability of intention and meanders through various keys. In virtuosic passages for the harmonica, Leong has the piano provide harmonic support, thus offering a more translucent texture for the soloist to soar above the accompaniment. Accordingly, he writes in the high tessitura for the harmonica when the piano accompaniment is busy with running patterns, thus never overwhelming the soloist. Reflection replaces the extrovert character in the hauntingly beautiful Largo Tranquillo. Notwithstanding the harmonic dissonances and major/minor second clashes, the spatial and temporal distance between the parts allow for much expressive poignancy. There is a sense of closure when the haunting melody returns in bar 27, though with greater resolve as the motive reiterates and permeates the rhythmic fabric of the accompaniment. The final Vivace movement in 3/4 meter is more reminiscent of a celebratory dance with its soloistic leaps and running passages in both parts. Yet despite the metered writing, Leong maintains that there must be a feeling of ebb and flow in the performance and the players should never play in strict time.
This digital copy (c) National Library Board Singapore 2007. The original work (c) Leong Yoon Pin 1980.