Broken Bagpipes

Broken Bagpipes

Broken Bagpipes (2003)

Violoncello Solo

Premiered by Alvim Wong – Bangkok, July, 2013

Duration: 7’.11’’

The Bagpipes – a very old instrument, frequently associate to Irish and Scottish people – having been used by emperors and nobility and even by the imperial Roman army. With a significant position in both the religious and political worlds in the Middle Ages, the wardrobe accounts of Edward II of England for the year 1307 document payment to ‘Janino Chevretter’ (John the Bagpiper), showing the involvement of bagpipers in the social life and their connection to the royalty. Exploring the literary contexts in which bagpipes were mentioned, help us understand the symbolic significance of it in literature and visual arts. Some scholars state the use of the bagpipe motif is intended to serve an artistic function – to symbolize two vices in particular – “gluttony and lustfulness”. Considering the ‘Aristotelian tradition’ that considers taste and touch as ‘irrational’ animalistic senses that lead to gluttony and lust, we can see how scholars

interpreted the allegory of taste and touch in arts to be serving a moral objective. “Broken Bagpipe” depicts only ‘half’ of this allegory, ‘the temptation to sensual indulgence’, in order to give the audience the opportunity to experience being tempted and be aware of those consequences of that temptation – the excessive pursuit of pleasure.

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