The fifth cardinal direction can be found in ancient Asian-, Native American- and Indo-European cultures and represents the center, the here and now, the inner self. Based on this knowledge, this composition is an introspective journey to the inner-self and its transformational events throughout a life-time.

Cao Thanh Lan and Gregor Siedl have been fascinated by the difference between people from different cultures but also realize how similar we are as human beings. We all have to be born, grow up, love, to be loved, work, create and inevitably pass away. We all celebrate these crucial points of transformation of our inner-self in one form or another and music has always played an important role in these moments as a gateway to the immaterial world and our subconscious mind.

The composers´ background lies in contemporary European music. At the same time they have great interest and appreciation for folk music – music that comes directly from the heart of people, real life and has been passed on for a multitude of generations, a music that is very particular to each culture but still universal as it expresses human feelings in an immediate way. In „The fifth cardinal direction“ they developed a musical language comprised of contemporary music compositional methods and specific contemporary instrumental techniques. The musical language also draws inspiration specifically from the vocal music of ethnic minorities in Northern Vietnam, in particular those of the red Dao, Hmong and Lolo people. Most of their melody instruments like khen, sao, ken la, sona, pi pap, pi thiu, etc. have singing qualities by imitation of the human voice in regard of phrasing, range, melodic ornamentation and articulation.

The six acts of this composition each relates to a landmark or transitional period in a person’s life: birth, maturity, love, work and creation, (self)destruction and re-birth.

I. From outside to inside

II. Breaking the buffalos´ horn

III. Like a Ban flower

IV. W = F * D

V. Thanatos

VI. Begin at the end