No other piece of Estas Tonne’s compositions has a wider history, a broader context and proves a more meaningful musical and symbolical transformation than the “Song of The Golden Dragon.“
The original acoustic piece, a frequent component in several setlists in former years, counted among his fastest and most complex pieces.
During the years 2012-2013 it was manifesting itself in a considerable alteration, newly formed and performed, yet most importantly, the song’s new structure came along with a new perception of sound. Among all compositions of Estas Tonne no other piece can reveal the context and transformation of the music more naturally.
Metaphorically, the Dragon is a symbol for a powerful appearance. Power is connected to effectiveness, speed (eg. horsepower) or force in every respect.
Any musical feature of the original piece, performed in the years 2010-2011, shows that power is the energy which is delivered through the music on several levels. The Dragon’s power that shows up in the song, emerges most fast and audible, however, a mythical being like the dragon is not fast only, it owns capacities that differ individually. The ancient Greek words ”drakein“ and “dragomai“ also refer to the power of vision meaning to ”see clearly“ or ”gaze sharply.“ A dragon knows to slow down if it is necessary in order to watch and to see clearly just like the mythical creature behaves when it guards a sacred spring, a golden treasure or any other place that needs to be watched over.
The dragon therefore regularly chooses the moment of sight in the song which is musically reflected by the transitions to a detailed and slower playing.
A winged dragon might cause an enormous sound simply by opening the wings, a fire dragon might not spit fire noiselessly, but in a sounding continuum of a fire stream and a water dragon’s movement in the sea might bring forth a sound that is caused by huge colliding waves even if it is not necessarily perceived or associated as such. The feature of a dragon’s physical power and the way it might have created sound has a musical equivalent in the piece, for the song contains sounds that are unfamiliarly powerful and hence awakening that which makes the listener wonder. The big symbolic wings of the dragon were giving a characteristic to the piece and influenced its structure until a transformation started to happen which is not less powerful, but primarily different. Different in energy, quality and purpose.
The former wings of the dragon turned to wings of a dragonfly, as transparent as silk, and the very motive force for the abilities of the dragonfly.
The music arises in another landscape, it is the landscape of still waters, pure rivers, reflective ponds or clean mountain streams slowly moving through nature. Symbolically, it emphasizes the shift, an appearance and perception of the Internal Power, the Internal Flight. It culminates in the musical meditative experience and simultaneously in the human’s center, in balance with the external and internal surroundings.
The dragonfly flies into all six directions, it can fly fast with skillful maneuvers, yet it also hovers and floats in the air. Similarly, the music follows this principle as it has transformed the listener’s wonder about the powerful existence of sound into the cognition of emotional flow. The latter is an umbrella term for the effects and perceptions of the sound and that which it causes in the human emotional landscape in which the metamorphosis happens.
Due to the musical transformation, The Song of the Golden Dragon is getting performed in a new way and based on a new time concept which allows the musical and emotional transformation to unfold, for Nature reminds: The Golden Dragonfly keeps the large wings outstretched when at rest.
by Fiona Unterasinger – October 2014