qì was co-commissioned by:
Harve Ferrill in honor of Karla Scherer
Matthew Meselson in honor of Jeanne Guillemin
Bruce Oltman in honor of Bonnie McGrath
Nick Yasillo in honor of Susan Yasillo
First performance by Third Coast Percussion at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center
at Notre Dame University on July 22, 2017
Duration: 5 Minutes
The last minute of the composition as performed by Third Coast Percussion.
qì is the circulating vital life energy that in Chinese philosophy is thought to be inherent in all things.
In traditional Chinese culture, qì or ch'i or ki in Korean culture and ki in Japanese culture is an active principle forming part of any living thing. qì literally translates as "breath", "air", and figuratively as "material energy", "life force", or "energy flow".
Concepts similar to qì can be found in many cultures: prana in Hinduism (and elsewhere in Indian culture), chi in the Igbo religion, pneuma in ancient Greece, mana in Hawaiian culture, lüng in Tibetan Buddhism, manitou in the culture of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, ruah in Jewish culture, and vital energy in Western philosophy.
With four percussionists sharing two marimbas between them, Qì has Thomas in fun-and-games mode full-on as the music tears off at dizzying speed without pause through the work's five densely packed minutes. Thomas's underlying image here is the notion of four interlocking gears, the players having to mesh and dovetail with the absolute precision of well-oiled gears and cogs whirring away in a fine Swiss watch. The 4-way dialogue is as rapid-fire as it is incessant, and in due course one just knows that one of Thomas' favourite “stinger” endings is supposed to loom over the horizon. But when it comes, it blindsides the listener with the precision of a perfectly timed punchline!
Qi was co-commissioned by: John Bierbusse, Harve Ferrill in honor of Karla Scherer, Jane Heron, Matthew Meselson in honor of Jeanne Guillemin, Bruce Oltman in honor of Bonnie McGrath, Sidney Robinson, Bob Schmidt, John Schmidt, and Nick Yasillo in honor of Susan Yasillo; and is dedicated with admiration and gratitude to those who commissioned the work and to Third Coast Percussion. Qì was unveiled by the four members of Third Coast Percussion at Notre Dame University in Indiana on July 22nd 2017.
Copyright © Paul Pellay
To purchase a map of QI, please visit the Online Store.
To obtain examination or performance material for this
Augusta Read Thomas work, please contact Nimbus Music Publishing.