During a visit to Southeast Asia in the summer of 2002, I was constantly aware of the oboe:
from the bazaars of Hanoi or Yangon to the Muay Thai rings of Bangkok. Muay Thai, the traditional
form of Thai boxing, is accompanied throughout by an ensemble of oboe and percussion that
complements the actions of the match, gathering intensity with the participants. In writing
Boxing Music, I wasn't interested in nostalgia, recreating the sound of the music
of Muay Thai, but instead the space between my experience and the memory of that experience.
I have no interest in engaging in the orientalism that comes from borrowing the musical language
of a place, and it is for this reason that my work includes no obvious Asian influence.
Rather, having only my memory and its meaning, I was forced to reconstruct the experience -
composing within my language, while at the same time experimenting with new ways of constructing
melody, the addition of pitch bends, complex embellishment and alteration of tone quality.
The result is an enormously difficult work that maps the multiple confrontations onto another
medium in which the performer, and to a lesser degree, the listener, is the boxer, accompanying
his or her own exertions with the composition and its realization.
Jacqueline LeClair, oboe
14 April 2004
Merkin Concert Hall
New York, New York
Eliot Gattegno, Soprano saxophone
13 February 2005
St. Bodolph Hall