LEE JINJUN, an award-winning Singaporean composer and performer, has been actively involved in the music scene for the past ten years. A member of the Composers Society of Singapore, his works have been conducted by Johan de Meij, Alvin Arumugam, and Adrian Tan with the Singapore Wind Symphony, Singapore Management University Symphonia and Raffles Winds for wind ensemble, trumpet solo, symphonic band, and chamber ensemble. He has won top prizes in the Singapore International Band Festival Composition Competition and the World Projects Composition Contest. He also courses on Composition for young people.
The Banaue region in northern Philippines is a mountainous area inhabited by the indigenous Ifugao people. The Ifugao carved magnificent terraces along the slopes of the mountains, allowing for the cultivation of rice, a staple food in the region. These rice terraces dominate the landscape, and one can only wonder how the Ifugao managed to build them without access to modern technology.
“Terraces” marks a day’s journey through the rice terrace landscapes of Banaue. We begin by seeing the silver linings of the terraced hills glistening in the morning sun, which slowly expands and warms up the surroundings. A moment of peaceful solitude played by the woodwinds gives way to a playful working song, using the same tonal palette of the local folk songs.
We then enter the dark and foreboding tropical rainforests, and after a little wandering, the darkness clears up as the sun shines through the canopies, lighting up the dense and diverse environment that surrounds us. Suddenly, the air chills and a distant thunderstorm is heard. It slowly approaches, and with almost no warning, it arrives, creating a huge downpour accompanied by lightning and thunder. Like all tropical thunderstorms, it goes away as quickly as it comes, and the sky clears up gloriously. The working song returns, this time ever more harmoniously with the tunes of nature, and the journey ends as the sun sets upon the majestic landscape.