3(II-III=picc,III=afl).3(III=corA).3(II=Ebcl,III=bcl).2.dbn-18.104.22.168btrbn.btuba.dbtuba-perc(6):I&II-3timp/BD/3tom-t(lg,med,sm)/snare.dr(lg)/TD/2bongo(med,sm)/4wood.dr/guiro/dobaci(med)/cyms(pair)/whip/pft.strings/maracas/bin sasara/tamburin/cencerros/plate bell;III&IV-3tom-t(lg,med,sm)/TD/snare.dr(med)/2bongo(lg,med)/2tpl.bl(lg,med)/2susp.cyms(lg,sm)/3tam-t(lg,med,sm)/cyms(pair)/tgl/sleigh.bells/whip/bamboo.tr/binzasara/dobaci(lg)/maracas/guiro(sm)/gong(pitched)/crots;V&VI-3timp/BD/wdbl(lg)/frame.dr(lg)/snare.dr(lg)/tamb(on stand)/cym(lg)/thunder.sheet(lg)/splash.cym/tam-t(v.lg)/cyms(pair)-accordion-2harp-strings(22.214.171.124.8)
Stadtcasino, Musiksaal, Basel
Sinfonieorchester Basel / Ivor Bolton
Two images were especially important when composing this score:
Firstly, I was drawn to the concept of the so-called 'heartbeat stars' with their regular pulsation. This is also something the title refers to: 'Alaraph' is one of the so-called ‘heartbeat stars’. These are pulsating variable binary star systems in eccentric orbits with vibrations caused by tidal forces. The term refers to the following phenomenon: the star's light curve is similar to what a heartbeat looks like through an electrocardiogram when its brightness is mapped over time.
The second crucial image depicted certain aspects of Korean traditional music, both the 'static' courtly ritual music and the lively folk music. I didn't use these in the form of quotations but alluded to them distantly in the work's gestures and structure in a compressed and highly stylized manner.
The percussion section plays a central role. In contrast to my other orchestral works, I dispense entirely with all melodic percussion, such as the vibraphone or glockenspiel. Instead, the properties of rhythmic percussion instruments are being used to the utmost. Consequently, the work displays considerable energy and physicality.
Unsuk Chin, January 2023