Scored for: flute (alto flute), oboe (E.H.), clarinet in A, bassoon (contrabassoon), percussion, violin, viola, cello, digital sound recordings and Tibetan Buddhist ritual instruments.
Duration: 25 min.
Premiere: 3/6/09, Network for New Music with paintings by Maureen Drdak and dance by Group Motion Dance Company, Manfred Fischbeck, artistic director, The University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA
Commissioned by: Network for New Music
Published by: Self-published, Angelfire Press
Contact Andrea Clearfield for score and parts:
Description: The title of composer Andrea Clearfield’s 2009 acclaimed, multi-media creation – Lung-Ta, or The Wind Horse – refers to the Tibetan Buddhist prayer flag, which represents the horse that carries the prayers of the faithful up toward heaven. The term also suggests the quality of inner vibratory power, fundamental to the Buddhist philosophy. In 2008 the composer and visual artist and Fulbright Scholar Maureen Drdak trekked to Lo Monthang, a remote region of northern Nepal that is one of the world’s last remaining enclaves of pure Tibetan culture, to research the indigenous music and art. Working with Manfred Fischbeck, Artistic Director of the Group Motion Dance Company of Philadelphia, they subsequently created a multi-media fusion of music, art, and dance, inspired by the Tibetan Buddhist ritual music, iconography, and cham dance that they experienced on their journey. Andrea Clearfield’s musical work is scored for medium chamber ensemble (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, violin, viola, cello, and percussion), and incorporates both digital field recordings of Tibetan chant and authentic Tibetan percussion instruments into its fabric. Maureen Drdak’s accompanying artwork consists of three large-scale paintings upon which is written in iron on sacral clay the text of Amchi Tenzin Sangbo Bista’s “Path of Aspiration: A Prayer for Planetary Peace.” The original choreography by the Group Motion Dance Company is a distinctive fusion of American modern dance and Tibetan idioms, embodying the company’s mission of “expressing the human experience through movement.” The work is, in essence, a 25-minute-long “Prayer for Planetary Peace,” celebrating the common themes of eastern and western philosophy. Lung-Ta was premiered in Philadelphia in 2009, and presented as a gift to His Holiness the Dalai Lama as an initiative for world peace.
See below for more information.
Preview score pages: LUNG-TA SCORE EXCERPT (PDF)
“A Prayer for Planetary Peace” written for Lung-Ta by Lama Tenzin Bista: PRAYER FOR PLANETARY PEACE (PDF)
Slide show of trek to Lo Monthang, with excerpts from Lung-Ta. Go to the Gallery, click on lower left icon and select Lo Monthang, Nepal.
“Facilitating the collaboration between artist Maureen Drdak and composer Andrea Clearfield (“Lungta, the Windhorse”) was one of the most satisfying projects I have engaged in during my tenure as Artistic Director of Network for New Music. Andrea’s chamber music was gloriously radiant and meticulously crafted; it masterfully incorporated elements of traditional Tibetan music with the composer’s own style to create a trans-cultural work that took the breath away from musicians and listeners alike.”
-Linda Reichart, Network for New Music, artistic director
-The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 13, 2009
-The Philadelphia Inquirer, David Patrick Stearns, September 12, 2010
“New music by esteemed Philadelphia composer Andrea Clearfield, was packed beyond standing room.. In the spirit of works being created for Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project, Lung-Ta captures the ethos of Eastern music with a nine-member Western chamber-music ensemble…all rendered with the precision of a composer who is out to make every note count.”
-David Patrick Stearns, The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 10, 2009
“This is one of this increasingly well-regarded composer’s best works yet, featuring a lucid, naturally expressive blend of her usual lyric voice, spiced with Asian-flavored percussive dissonance and haunting taped field recordings of Tibetan prayer. The dancing, music and simple but evocative murals were completely of a piece.”
-Peter Burwasser, The Philadelphia City Paper, March 24, 2009
AsianArt.com – The LungTa Collaborative: The Living Blessings of Lo
Artistic Activity in Nepal as World Peace, South Asian Arts
From Nepal back to Philadelphia, premiering a changed music, The Philadelphia Inquirer
A big audience for artistry of Tibet, The Philadelphia Inquirer
Main Line Today: Maureen Drdak on Lung-Ta
The Global Spiral – Metamexis Institute
HealthLine.com: Pain Free Trekking to Kingdom of Lo
MainLine Magazine: Notes from a Forgotten Land
Buddhist Art News: LungTa
Himalayan Folk Music, Documenting Histories and Exploring Culture Through music
Lung-Ta (The Windhorse)
Lung-Ta (The Windhorse) – 2009
Calling of the Deities, Part I (Wrathful)
I. Manjusri (Wisdom)
Calling of the Deities, Part II (Peaceful)
II. Avolokiteshvara (Compassion)
Calling of the Dieities, Part III (Tibetan Orchestra)
III. Vajrapani (Action)
Epilogue (A Prayer for World Peace by Tenzin Sangbo Bista)
Lung-Ta was commissioned by Network for New Music. Praised as a “stunning premiere” by The Philadelphia Inquirer, the work premiered at The University of the Arts in March, 2009 in collaboration with visual artist Maureen Drdak, and Group Motion Dance Company— Manfred Fischbeck, artistic director. It has had a number of subsequent performances both with Network for New Music and Group Motion Dance Company. The mid-western premiere of Lung-Ta will take place on May 5, 2012 at Rockefeller Chapel, Chicago.
The music for Lung-Ta is inspired by the breath-taking expanse of ancient, windy, raw high bone and coral shades of the mountain landscape of Lo Monthang, which lies in the rain shadow of the Himalayas in the northern region of Upper Mustang in Nepal—the powerful and resonant sounds of Tibetan Buddhist ritual music, and the deeply rich and spiritual life of the people in this remote kingdom. The work is scored for nine musicians, each playing their own instrument in addition to Tibetan Buddhist instruments brought back from the trek; it also integrates field recordings of natural sounds made on horseback, chanting of the monks in both Tibetan Buddhist and Bon Po (ancient pre-Buddhist religion) ceremonies and the folk music of Tashi Tsering, the royal court singer of Lo Monthang.
To gather research visual artist and Fulbright Scholar Maureen Drdak and composer Andrea Clearfield, along with anthropologist Dr. Sienna Craig and her three year old daughter, Aida, embarked on a trek to Nepal and the restricted area of Upper Mustang in September of 2008 to collect visual and audio materials. The trek became a window into Mustang’s vast sound world. Lung-Ta takes its form from Drdak’s dynamic paintings, each of which visualize the energies of the three protector deities of the Rigsum Gompo—the Buddhist Trinity—represented through the iconic structures found near village entrances in these high mountains which symbolize Wisdom, Compassion and Action, respectively. Lung-Ta’s three movements, Manjushri, Avolokiteshvara and Vajrapani, give voice to these individual spiritual forces. Another point of dialogue between painting and music are the gold prana threads running through Drdak’s paintings; Drdak explains that these “prana threads” are energetic meridians that create universal connection. The musical expression of the threads can be heard as a C#/Db tone that passes through all of the instruments and voices from the beginning to the end of Lung-Ta—ever present but continually morphing and shifting like the racing clouds. These threads can be heard as single instruments or as a moving wave of sound with ornamental figures and microtonal undulations. Lung-Ta also corporates fragments of the melodies sung by royal court singer Tashi Tsering and rhythms and pitched fragments from traditional Tibetan Buddhist chant and instrumental ritual music.
“A Prayer for World Peace” was written for Lung-Ta by Lama Tenzin Sangbo Bista, senior Buddhist monk of Lo Monthang’s Choede Monastery and founder of the Lo Kunphen Amchi (Tibetan Medicine) School. The prayer unfolds through the trajectory of the piece, working its way from the gathering of wisdom through all-encompassing compassion into the call for global action and benevolent change. At the conclusion of the work, Lama Tenzin Bista can be heard reciting his prayer in Tibetan. It was very special to us that Lama Bista traveled from Lo Monthang in Nepal to attend the premiere of Lung-Ta in 2009.
Lung-Ta was offered as a gift to His Holiness, The Dalai Lama as an initiative for world peace in 2009.
Following the premiere of Lung-Ta, Dr. Clearfield returned to Lo Monthang in 2010 with anthropologist Katey Blumenthal to record and document the complete gar-glu (court song) repertoire of Tashi Tsering as well as tro-glu (common songs with dance) performed by women in the community. Her new cantata, Tse Go La (At the threshold of this life), a 30-minute work co-commissioned by the Mendelssohn Club and Pennsylvania Girlchoir for double chorus, chamber orchestra and electronics brings some of these melodies to the U.S. for the first time. The work also incorporates poetry by Dr. Sienna Craig. Tse Go La will be premiered on April 29, 2012 in Philadelphia and will have subsequent performances in NYC and NJ on May 19 and 20th respectively.