The music on MEMORY, the Navona Records debut by acclaimed violinist Patrick Yim, is linked together by the themes of memory, culture, and identity. The albums title track was composed by the Chinese-born composer Chen Yi who searched for a harmonious marriage of centuries-old Western and Chinese musical traditions as she remembered her beloved violin teacher, Lin Yaoji. In the liner notes for this bittersweet and poignant piece, the composer addresses her mentor directly, saying,"I expressed my deep sorrow in the music, to remember your fatherly mentorship."
Away, Alone, Aloft, written by Kai-Young Chan, is touching and penetrating work which draws upon an ancient Chinese tale about the loneliness and regret of the legendary Moon Lady. The melodic materials and overall character of the piece are based on a poem by Tang Dynasty poet Li Shangyin, who expressed with his words the Moon Lady's deep emotions.
Miles upon Miles is composer Yao Chen’s personal meditation on three of the myriad facets of the Silk Road, which unleashed the free flow across borders of sound. The compositions first movement, Silk Road, makes strong use of tremolos and trills to evoke a specific atmosphere, a rhythmic momentum that heightens the degree of expression before ultimately fading into a more peaceful environment. Buddhist Mantra is marked by the use of open strings, built on a cascade of restless three-note patterns that are always striving forward until a moment when the mantra takes effect and sustained harmonics rise to the fore. Pizzicato is the dominant trait of Kung Fu, the closing movement, which is sprightly but sophisticated, exciting, and endearing.
Miles upon Miles, composed for amplified violin and electronics by Austin Yip, is in three movements entitled I. Gilt Bronze, II. Cameleer, and III. Sancai, referring to the features of artifacts in the Hong Kong Museum of History's special exhibit, Miles upon Miles: World Heritage along the Silk Road. Gilt Bronze refers to the materials used for a silkworm of the Han dynasty; Cameleer refers to a painting of a Tang dynasty cameleer, and Sancai refers to the colors that were used during the Tang Dynasty. In the work, field recordings of the Xinjiang Uyghur Muqam, taken in Xinjiang 2015, are operated through granular synthesis and serve as an extra dimension to the work. Miles Upon Miles was commissioned by violinist Patrick Yim in 2018. The albums final selection, Relics, composed by Michael-Thomas Foumai, was commissioned by Yim as a suite of companion pieces to be performed at the Hong Kong Museum of History's special exhibit. The work is a suite of eight movements inspired by artifacts featured at the exhibition.