Excerpt: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Ferry (for solo piano) performed by Matthew Orlovich.
Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Ferry (for solo piano, 2013) was composed for inclusion in a book of piano variations based on the theme of ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’. Published in 2016 by The Shanghai Conservatory of Music Press and compiled by composer Julian Yu, the book features over 40 variations written by composers from all around the world.
Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Ferry (for solo piano, 2013) is a short, programmatic piece inspired by one of Asia’s iconic attractions, the Hong Kong Star Ferry. The introductory music is intended to evoke the rumbling sounds of the ferry as it strains at its ropes alongside the pier at Tsim Sha Tsui.
The ferry’s departure from the pier is represented by the piano’s swirling arpeggios which ascend towards the crystalline, twinkling upper registers of the piano.
The hazy, ethereal passage that follows (entitled “On the harbour”) makes use of the complete “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” theme, varying it by way of ornamentation (acciaccatura and tremolo). Rhythmically, the theme is gently pushed and pulled to suggest a sense of the Star Ferry’s progress across the waves. Harmonically, the left-hand accompaniment contributes an “all-at-sea” feel with its rolling, whole-tone patterns. As the Star Ferry nears its destination, a rallentando is effected in combination with a descent in register.
Arriving at Central Pier, the rumble of the idling ferry is heard once more and the gangplank is lowered abruptly (as heard in the Coda), signaling the conclusion of the work.