The counterpoint [of the flute] with the violin was well crafted and the music later moved to a more modern and dramatic style, with the dissonances recalling Bartok and Prokofiev.
That was what a music critic wrote in the Singaporean newspaper, The Straits Times, 2 days after my suite in 7 movements “Vega & Altair” was premiered by flutist Roberto Alvarez, violinist Cindy Yan, cellist Junyan Natasha Liu and harpist—who also is the commissioner of the piece—Katryna Tan.
Wait, wait. Bartok or Prokofiev? Which one? ‘Coz those two have nothing in common, at least that I can think of except that they wrote “dissonant” (according to their contemporaries, and to music critics who considers anything post-Beethoven “dissonant”) music. Even the term "dissonant" needs to be correctly defined, and perhaps re-defined. You might know, Mr. Music Critic, that Mozart wrote a string quartet (perhaps his most famous) nicknamed "Dissonance". And it's in C major! Anyway, this is the first time that someone said that my music resembles any (or both?) of those composers, without pinpointing which aspect of it resembled (any of) them. I dunno if it’s a compliment or not, since though I like and admire the music of both composers, I never felt influenced (directly or indirectly) by them. Anyway, he is only a critic, and I never think highly of them. They always babble and baffle.
Anyway, I do consider that “Vega & Altair” is an important piece for me which provided a turning point in my musical style. It sounds new, even to me. It is an amalgam of all the influences which I absorbed during my musical years, and I had the musical canvas on which to exploit them in its 20+ minute duration. Yes, there are dissonances, and even strange modulations, but whose music has no dissonances? I meant them all, they are part of my expression. And without self-complimenting, I consider the concert quite a big success, not only for the sold-out seats at Esplanade (that’s not my success, that’s thanks to Katryna’s manager and company, Rave Harps, who did good publicity of it.), but also the high enthusiasm showed by many of members of the audience who are musicians or conservatory students or professors (this time the musicians and their artistry deserve the merit). I suddenly remembered what my dad told me that he “didn’t know the secret of success, but was certain about the secret of failure: try to make everybody happy”. Well, it seemed as if all the audience were exalted at that night. Rather scary eh, if one remembers my dad’s wise words.
To entertain is never my point in writing music. I honestly don’t write music to please the audience. I write what I hear in my head, sounds that only please ME. And if what pleases me pleases the audience too, well that’s a happy coincidence. But pleased don't expect to be entertained with my music; sometimes it can make you burst in tears!