These three miniatures bring together the sounds of Baoding Balls, originating in China during the Ming dynasty and rotated in the palm of the hand for therapeutic benefits, with sounds from Beijing and Kun opera. I imagined the delicate musical chimes encased within the Iron Balls to magically conceal dynamic and theatrical opera sound worlds. Each miniature evokes a different characteristic of these art forms — the ecstatic and acrobatic nature of Beijing opera, the intimate soundings of the more aristocratic Kun opera, and the inherent energy of both. A theme of vibration emerged as I composed the work — naturally evident in and underlying the opera sounds, sonically cultivated from the recordings of the Baoding balls (the metallic points of contact and impact as well as the musical chimes), and developed in unique ways in each of the miniatures. Presented here, the suite is framed by a very brief prologue and epilogue.
Baoding was realized in 2002 at the Electroacoustic Music Studios of the University of Birmingham (UK) and premiered on March 2, 2002 during the Invisible Theatre concert series organized by BEAST (Birmingham ElectroAcoustic Sound Theatre) in Birmingham (UK). Baoding was awarded a Prize in the Trivium Category of the 29th Bourges International Electroacoustic Music and Sonic Art Competition (France, 2002).