2014, Year Of The Horse
China Traditional Orchestra Zhejiang / Zhang Lie, Zhang Guoyong
guzheng: Su Chang
Lucerne (KKL), Rotterdam (Luxor Theater), Bremen (Gut Varrel Stuhr), Essen (Philharmonie), Cottbus (Staatstheater), Budapest (Palace of Arts), Vienna (Konzerthaus), Linz (Brucknerhaus)
1. Dabo River Capriccio
Composer: He Xuntian
Dabo River Capriccio is adapted from a folk song from the North West of Sichuan describing the daily life and ethnic customs of the inhabitants of the region around the Dabo River.
2. Old Locust Trees Seek for Their Roots
Composer: Zhao Jiping
“If you ask me where my ancestors live, just go and find the big locust tree of Hongtong County in Shanxi Province”. This old proverb refers to a famous pilgrimage site in Shanxi, where the Chinese have been heading for centuries to search for their roots and commemorate their ancestors. The composer pictures the scenes of travellers looking back and worshipping their ancestors.
3. Tune of the Rainbow Cloud
Composer: Zhou Yuguo
Guzheng: Su Chang
The title of this guzheng concerto was inspired by an ancient Chinese poem titled Qing Ping Diao Ci, written by the renowned poet Li Bai during the Tang Dynasty. In his verses, Li Bai describes Yang Guifei, the beautiful concubine of Emperor Xuanzong of Tang: “Clouds remind me of her clothes, flowers remind me of her face; stepping on the top of the pavilion, I long for my lover faraway; in this world, nothing is more valuable than love”. The whole piece deals with strong emotions, on the one hand conveying a sentiment of sadness, describing someone who is whispering and sobbing; on the other hand highlighting an uneasy mood, symbolizing dashing and shouting. With the delicate tone of the guzheng, the composer ultimately pours all the strong feelings towards eternal love into the melody of the guzheng, which lingers forever in all ears that once listened to it.
4. The King’s Farewell to His Lady
The Peking Opera aria “The King’s Farewell to His Lady” has been arranged particularly for guzheng, xiao and orchestra. It is based on the classical tale of tragic love between the General Xiang Yu and his concubine Yu Ji. On the verge of total defeat, the General calls for his concubine, who strikes up a passionate song, mourning for the country, which no longer exists and the vanished beauty. This fresh fantasia with pentatonic melodies captivates any listener.
5. The Silk Road
Composer: Jiang Ying
This piece highlights the particular timbre and the performing methods of Chinese folk instruments. Integrating diverse musical elements from all over the world, like for example the Indian sitar, the work outlines the abundant musical culture of “The Silk Road”.
6. Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains Capriccio
Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains, a Chinese landscape painting by one of the “Four Masters of the Yuan Dynasty”, Huang Gongwang (1269-1354), is a remarkable work of art, which describes the landscape of Zhejiang Province. It is considered a monumental masterpiece in the history of Chinese painting. Created between 1348 and 1350, the 7 meter long painting was burnt into two pieces in 1650. Today, one part can be admired in the Zhejiang Provincial Museum in Hangzhou and the other part in Taipei. The China Traditional Orchestra Zhejiang commissioned the composition of „Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains Capriccio“ for large Chinese orchestra; the renowned Chinese composers Liu Yuan and Jiang Ying were selected to transform Huang Gongwang’s visual masterpiece into music. The Capriccio looks into the essence of the painting and celebrates the nature and the culture of the region. On the 6th of March 2013, the piece premiered at the inaugurational ceremony for the National People’s Congress and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference under the baton of Maestro Zhang Guoyong in the National Center for the Performing Arts (NCPA).
- 3rd Movement: Listening to the Wind
Composer: Jiang Ying, Wang Zhi, Wang Ciheng
Trees in the bushes lean to the side as if blown by strong wind. Sound elements are subtly absorbed into the painting. Scholars, fishermen and woodcutters sit in the vast land, enjoying the sound and beauty of the scenery.
- 2nd Movement: Flowing Water, Floating Clouds
Composer: Liu Yuan
Through the winding roads circling around the valleys, the composer suggests that only once reached the summit you will be able to grasp the beauty of life and comprehend the great wisdom hiding within the landscape.
- 4th Movement Composer: Liu Yuan
The music illustrates the essence of nature in peaceful and pithy tunes, producing a capacious and solemn atmosphere while the scenery itself becomes the mirror of this mood. This part illustrates the simplicity and inward world of Chinese scholars according to the Zen Buddhism.
7. The Legend of Shadil
Composer: Liu Yuan
This traditional orchestral poem was composed in 1988. The theme is based on the legendary Chinese singer named Shadil who expressed his opposition to the rulers of the Qing dynasty through his songs and was persecuted and killed subsequently. After his death, his songs became very popular among the people. Mixing traditional elements with original methods, the composer describes different figures by various structural techniques, which enhance their sweeping impact in the course of the piece. In China, “The Legend of Shadil is widely known and considered a true masterpiece of traditional Chinese music.